17.4.09

That was the week that was...



I thought it had been another so-so week filled with all day needle felting sessions, housework and the odd walk, but in retrospect, it has been rather action packed. My polar bear trio proved to be more exacting than I anticipated; trying to sculpt three almost identical white blobs is quite tricky, the simple shape brings out the worst of the perfectionist in me, and I am still tweaking infinitesimally small contours here and there.





I finally got round to designing a catalogue (well, a small poster really) for my card range. I've been a bit lazy about bothering shops recently, even the ones who've stocked me before. The first one I sent out had an immediate response, and I am really pleased that the gorgeous shop Ark of Cambridge - the Norfolk Street branch - now have a selection of my designs. I had some blushingly nice feedback from the shop manageress about the flyer, and apparently a customer spotted it, and said how beautiful all the colours were. It is good to have them all laid out like this; a bit more professional than a handful of samples and a 'please stock me' letter.




A fat little packet smuggled across the border from the mysterious Adanaland arrived in the post. Full of delightful letterpress scraps, which made me ache to have the space to get my own neglected kit out. (The adorable shire horse is printed by the
Incline Press: coincidentally, Sue of Mouse Notebook has just blogged about her day printing there, with scrummy closeups of type and nice papery things - lucky sausage).





Also enclosed were another batch of 'The Travelling Urchin', produced exquisitely and lovingly by Alan Brignull, the founder and benign ruler of Adanaland - I love these little A6 treasures, and am very grateful to him for my growing collection.

It was a welcome little diversion as I plodded on with the next trio for my trade order.




Jackie of Dog Daisy Chains and Karen of Moonlight and Hares asked about RSI and stabbing myself. Ladies, it is no and yes. No, I am lucky enough not to get RSI, just tired bits when I work for more than 8 hours a day. I try to do regular carpal tunnel exercises and I have a super-duper wrist support with two thumb splints, a hand splint and padded bead palm, which really helps when I'm on a marathon session.



Stabbing, however, is a regular occurrence. I frequently hold tiny bits of felt (for instance, beaks) and stab them into hard little shapes, often driving the needle straight down into the pad of my thumb. So I'm experimenting with using two thimbles for protection. It's not as sensory as using my naked fingers, but it hurts less when the needle slips.




I've probably mentioned at least a dozen times that I don't get out much. Getting out can be a bit expensive on a narrow budget, but kind Andy whisked me off to
Cotswold Wildlife Park this week, which, despite it being rammed (because of the Easter holidays) was utterly brilliant. The last big day out we had was at the Barrington ploughing match, last September. I get quite giddy with the sheer pleasure of new surroundings and experiences; I came away with my head whirring, over a hundred reference photos and two tiny glass animals...





Nobly, I have restrained myself from posting an endless line of yet-another-zoo-animal here. (Collective sighs of relief!)

BIG EDIT - I had awarded this big, sharp rhino horn to a certain large company who seem to be taking unpermitted advantage of one of
Little Cotton Rabbits lovely designs. At last they seem to be responding, but I'll save my half hearted cheer for when they actually do something positive. So the rhino stays.




Oh, by the end of April I will be able to stop thinking in threes!



33 comments:

Fibrespace said...

Those bears are so cute! I've just started dabbling with needle felted bird sculptures myself and am beginning to appreciate the time that goes into your beautiful works of art.

Sue said...

I do love your posts Gretel they are so interesting. Your polar bears are gorgeous, and I think you could definitely start some kind of kinky trend with your wrist brace thingie...

Caroline B said...

See, I told you needlefelting was dangerous!! But those bears are gorgeous, love them in triplicate!
Shocking about Tesco & Julie - can't get my head round that. Shameless.

Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kitty said...

I usually follow your blog but have missed the last few posts so it was a real treat to catch up with everything. Those polar bears are so sweet! Especially their little tails and ears :)

I was really shocked to hear about tesco's plagiarism - disgusted, actually. For such a mega-franchise, it would hardly hurt them to accredit the real artist behind the idea (or even to ask her permission!!)...and yet they haven't. Really bad.

Sorry - had to delete my earlier comment because I left out lots of vital words!

Gail said...

Lovely post Gretel ... your trios are coming on well, I do admire how you get them so alike, but still each has it's own personality ;-)

I too feel that Tescos has behaved badly and think they need to be put in their place. I hope Julie manages to get what she deserves financially for this aswell as a huge public apology. Maybe I'm hoping for too much :-(

-Gail X

tut-tut said...

amazing collection, yours and others. I hope there is a boycott of Tesco over this shocking co-option.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gosh, those polar bears are cute lined up in a row like that. They look like three Edwards to me.

I used to puncture my thumb on a regular basis when I quilted a lot. Have you tried the leather thimbles? I like them a lot. They protect my thumb, but I can still feel what I'm doing. You might give them a try if you haven't.

And that's perfectly awful about Tesco. Fie, fie on them.

Happy Weekend to you! And all the toys!!

Otherwise known as Jen said...

Oh!! Those polar bears are too adorable!! Those little tails are too much to bear ;)

I hate using thimbles myself (for hand-sewing), especially as the tin tubs keep falling off my skinny fingers. But I can just about tolerate leather thimbles, with an elastic grip around the middle so they never slip off.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Such perfect and snowy polar bears! that rhino looks like his head is to heavy and must needs be rested now and then.

Sherry Rogers said...

Your work is just amazing!! You are a true artist in every sense. I love those polar bears!! Love them!!!

Kim said...

Well worth the effort for that little trio of round, squidgly bears :)
I often stab myself with the needle too, but in random places, so I'd need to wear gauntlets for full protection :) and I've managed to break 2 needles this week!!!

I'm disgusted about Tesco, especially as copying is my biggest bug bear!

Kim x

the Casbah Kitten said...

Your work is SO gorgeous! *sigh* I tried a bit of needle felting but I don't have the patience for it. .
Love reading your blog...it's my little escape across the ocean to somewhere new.

Chris.P said...

Your drive is inspirational Gretel. And as the others have said your polar bears are fantastic.

Helen/Dudley said...

I love your polar bears and that back view is so cute!

Catherine said...

Boo and hiss to Tesco (or rather the person who 'designed' the cosy for them) I think its something that all crafters fear, being ripped off like that.
Regarding the stabbed thumb/fingers...you may find it more practical to make a sort of thimble out of leather - you can get offcuts cheaply in a lot of fabric shops - that would be resilient enough to protect your digits but probably allow more movement than a metal thimble. I think I've seen one somewhere in fact - a kind of wide band sewn together at the ends to form a kind of ring for the tip of your finger.

djanderson said...

Hi!
Have you tried using more than one felting needle at a time? You can get handles with 4 or so holes in them. It's more efficient when forming the basic shape as you have to do 25% less stabs, which means less wear and tear on your hand. You'd still need to use a single needle for the details though,
just a thought,
Jean

Mytutorlist.com said...

Those bears are so adorable. I LOVE the hearts on their bums. The detail is endearing.

Poor gal, you literally wear armour to make your delightful creations.

PG said...

Hi Jean, yes, my holder is a four holed handle, and I use two needles at first to get the basic shape. But I find working with three or four is too clumsy, and I do 90% of my work with one needle to get the fine finish and details that I like. It's not a matter of how much time it takes, it is getting the quality of sculpting which I personally have found can't be achieved with multiple needles.

Rowan said...

Your new card poster is really good, the cards are so attractive. I just love your polar bears too, think I've said that before but they are so appealing.

acornmoon said...

What a busy week you have had, I am amazed at the amount of work you mange to achieve and you still had time to send me my lovely card pack!

The bears are exceptional, just lovely.

I would love to visit Incline Press, it is not too far away from me so maybe one day. I have seen their work in designer bindings by members of my regions S.O.B.

dowhatyoulove said...

It's great to see your work! Its always so beautiful and perfect!

It sounds like you had a lovely outing, yay! And inspiration is always spectacular. It will be fun to see what new creatures you come up with.

Your sales poster is really nice, it looks professional, and the colours are so soft and warm.

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Oh LOVE the poster, I'm sure it will be a great resource. Your felting creations are of course divine.

Was going to suggest the leather thimbles too...

(())

carolyn said...

Bet you came away from the wildlife park with loads of ideas for new animals.

Mlle Miracle said...

So many things just in a post!
I'm so happy that you get all that custom orders, you deserve it.
I didn't needlefelt for a while now, but I have the same problem with these sharp needles. It's just that I can't stand thimbles.
That whole thing with Tesco is disgusting, so unfair!
Your threes are adorable, I'm looking forward to seeing your next trio!

a faerie finder said...

those polar bears are darling!

natural attrill said...

Those bears are gorgeous, I like the way you have done their limbs, and also the little hearts are subtle in the same colour as thier bodies. They look lovely sitting altogether.
Good luck with your work Gretel!
Penny.
x

jamjar said...

I had to take my son to an appointment in a local town about five miles away, as I parked the car I looked across the road and discovered that I was parked opposite Incline Press and instantly thought of you!

wherepianosroam said...

I love those bears and the little hearts you put on the back of them.

Great work!

Rosehaven Cottage said...

Such a great job on your catalogue. Very well done. And I can't wait to see your next trio finished. I always looks forward to seeing your latest creation.

Cindy

Merisi said...

It is such a sad state of the world when big companies like Tesco make money with the creative ideas and works of others! I hope Julie receives for her work whatever is due her.

Unfortunately, too many people out there think it is alright to steal and copy whatever crosses their search.

Your polar bears are lovely and kudos to you for the sample posteer, well done!

tlc illustration said...

Your poster is terrific (what a good idea - so excellently executed) and a love the heart-bummed bears.

Keep taking care of your hand and fingers!

Suze said...

Congratulations, I know the Ark in Cambridge...I love that shop. I'll look for your designs next time I visit. I also love the restaurant nearby, CB2, you should try it if you visit.