1.4.08

Hen-ry Moore-ish

Andy came home the other day and asked what I had been doing...I picked my camera up and played back a little video or seven I had made. His eyes glazed over in that special 'I really wish I hadn't asked' way. For it has to be said, that needle felting is, to all intents and purposes, hours and hours of stabbing bits of wool into the required shape. But until you have actually done it, it can seem a mystery how a soft piece of fluffy colour can metamorphasise into - well, anything you like really. So for everyone who has been curious to know how easy it is, and what it entails, here is the evolution of a hen, taken from some ancient old sketches which I found kicking about in a sketchbook. I am afraid this is a bit of a lengthy waffle in which not-much happens, especially if you are not bitten by the felting bug...

So, here we start with a mass of wool top, all fluffy and amorphous. This is a lovely hank of blue merino from the Etsy seller
Fibre Space Supplies. I am basing my piece on the pen and ink sketch in the background with the spots on. Anyone who knows their sculptors will recognise the Henry Moore pun...




You just start rolling and stabbing...I love the scrunchy noise the wool and needle makes!
(Click to play)


video


And it starts to look a little like a kind of henny shape.



But...the tail is too fat...so it is simply cut off...(felt is SO forgiving).




And the excess can be moulded onto the front to get more of that bountiful chest!




Next it needs rounding...
(Click to play)


video


...and more 'enhancement' at the front...




...a little fine tuning...I like my felt quite firm and well defined, although many people like to leave their work softer and wispier.
(Click to play)


video


Adding a inquisitive, pokey beak and flobbley red bits...




...and after roughly 8 hours (which is my average time) We have Ms Mavis Hen...where did that egg come from?




I exactly know what
Rachel Rabbit meant when she said that sometimes you need to keep the 'odd treasured creation'...but at the moment every dear little felted creature represents food, bills and maybe a new pair of boots. Unromantic but pragmatic.



Ms Mavis Hen, Performing in Etsy now until further notice.

27 comments:

Lesley said...

Mavis is gorgeous!

Needle felting is lovely to do but it really does take time - I tried to rush it last time and drew blood as a result!!

I love your sketches by the way :)

xx

Eric Orchard said...

Hi Gretel.
This stuff is so gorgeous!
I feel like I'm watching a big artistic transformation on a cozy scale.

Rosehaven Cottage said...

Thank you so much for sharing your creative process with the video. Felting has always been a big mystery to me. And now you've demystified it somewhat for me. I love Ms. Mavis Hen. She is truly precious!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

tlawwife said...

Wow I know I will never do that now that I know how long it takes. I am not nearly that patient.

Alison said...

Mavis is gorgeous I am having to be very good and try and resist her charms:-)
Take care,
Alison x

T said...

I love Miss Mavis! Having just tried needle felting I am so so impressed with your work every time. Hope she brings you enough for some new boots :)

tricia said...

Thank you for the video! I have read about how to do it, but it helps so much to actually see a project being done. I had no idea it took so long though!

Pearl said...

Your talent is just amazing. I can't believe you create something so cute from just a glob of wool.

Love Mavis!!

Hugs,
Pearl

Frances said...

That Mavis is really good, and I jsut bet that she will have a fine new home very soon. As always, you are so generous with showing the techniques.

And ... I caught a glimpse of an egg cup with dots that is a twin of one of mine.

Keep your creativity going!
xo

Rachael Rabbit said...

Keep him, keep him ;-) Your labels are gorgeous - do you mind me asking how you make them? Thank you so much for the mention. Still waiting for spring to appear here - we don't even have one daffodil out in bloom yet .....

Jess said...

Ooo that lovely scrunchy sound! You've definitely got the knack of producing beautiful shapes, on paper as well as with felt. My fingers would have been as good as pin cushions if I were to try!

Caroline B said...

Oooh, that still looks dangerous! Really interesting to see how it's done - I'm impressed how you get it so neat and sculptured.

Catherine said...

Thanks for sharing your videos, Gretel. That is a very satisfying sound! Have you tried the handles that have holes for multiple needles? It might help if you ever want to felt something bigger.
May I ask, when you run the needle along the felt, is that to even out the texture? I always find my wool has very obvious holes in it, even using fine grade needles.

sketched out said...

That looks like fun! I might have to try it. Thanks for sharing your process. It's so kind of you.

I also love your paintings. Such a great talent you are!

Melanie said...

I just love Mavis. I know this doesnt pay your bills but if my bills were paid she would be mine.
Thank you so much for sharing your felting process. It has actually answered alot of my questions. I would hate to think how long it took. Keep them coming. Oh and I would also like to know who or how you make those lovely tags that hang off of your work. Thats if you dont mind of course.
Cheers
Melanie

kate smudges said...

It was fun watching Mavis Hen appear via video. Now I know what you are up to when you twitter that you are needlefelting. I hope Mavis finds a good home soon - she will because she is beautiful.

While watching the rhythmic stabbing, I kept thinking what a wonderful tool for use in the garden. A quick few stabs and poof ... off to slug heaven (or hell depending on what they had been eating).

Rima said...

Mavis is superb :)
I am loving your new excursions into needle felting.. I didn't know anything about it before - but your lovely imaginings created in felt have converted me! Is the needle just a needle or does it have secret barbs?!
I am intrigued as to how it works... in fact, is it like a small neat blue wool dreadlock in the shape of a hen?!
Hehe...
Love to you and Mavis :)

rbaird said...

Your work and your blog are absolutely inspiring.
Just wonderful!

Puddock said...

Gorgeous gorgeous work! Needle felting looks addictive - like sort of domesticated sculpture - I love it!

Fibrespace said...

Fantastic work, thanks for the mention, Beth

ellen said...

Mavis is wonderful. I watched and read this yesterday and I am amazed at the process.
I did love the scrunching sound, but I have to tell you that at times I wanted to cover up my eyes. I was so afraid that you would stab yourself!
How are your tetanus shots? Up to date, I hope!

Soozcat said...

Oh thank you! MUCH easier to understand the process when it's observable. (Though I'm still not sure I could do it; apparently my brain doesn't think well in three dimensions.) Thanks also for braving Andy's glazed-eye stares to bring needle felting information to the curious masses. :)

natural attrill said...

so sweet!
Toby.

Kim said...

Mavis is lovely :) That needle felting sure is addictive, although I've not had so much time to do mine this week. But it is nice to sit down and lose a few hours with. I'm sure Mavis will soon fly to a new home. Thanks for dropping by and leaving good wishes for my little hens :)

Kim x

Jennifer said...

Thank you so very much for taking the time to post all this! I bought a book on making small needle felted dogs and have been dragging my feet a little on trying because I just couldn't quite picture how to make it work -- but now I can! And your creations are absolutely gorgeous.

Jaimee said...

I've always been curious...thanks for clearing things up. I'm utterly amazed and inspired to try my hand at it (with an ample supply of bandaids in the waiting).
Love your work and blog!

janet said...

Just found this post...I loved seeing the process! How do you keep from poking your fingers??

Janet xox