Sunday, 5 June 2011

Work in progress

Meet Archimedes:  the name is taken from my favourite character in the Sword in the Stone (book not film).  He is destined for a piece of wind-fall wood, found some time ago, that he will ultimately sit on and then lurk on my desk (in the classroom). 
Here he is, next to my very tatty felting block and the tops I am using for his feathers. 

Occasionally I am asked to teach the needlefelting part of the advanced course (at the Textile Workshop). My friend Helen teaches the course; she is the most amazing maker of all things felted, from hats to flowers, but she doesn't like needle felting.  However I am not sure that I am the best teacher.  I cannot seem to explain how I know what shaped of wool top I need and where to push the needles to start.  So I teach by demonstration.

The wonderful Gretel Parker recently posted the evolution of one of her amazing creations.   She has probably taught more about how to needlefelt in her photographs than I manage in a 2 hour lesson.

Anyway, back to Archimedes, he is actually more of a challenge than Alice and the Flamingo, and the surface detail is proving quite a challenge.
The colours are quite limited, and the patterning is fiddly.

It is also very hard to get the shapes right.  He is worked from photographs of a stuffed owl (kept in the reserve lodge at one of our local nature reserves.) apparently a rescued owl who became a pet and was stuffed upon it's demise. The deadline for finishing is September so I have plenty of time to work on him. 

I often work from my dining table, which gives me a view of the plum tree; yesterday we had a rather lovely visitor, often heard singing but less often seen. I will leave you with the view:


  1. Oh Charlotte, you are making my eyes water with that owl, I cannot imagine how long that is going to take! I did start a small toy owl once, but abandoned the poor thing, I found, like you that the shaping was a step too far in fiddly for my (esp.where the eyes go into the head, which you've done beautifully). Nice goldfinch! There seem to be more about this year for some reason, which is good.

  2. oh he is beautiful - fabulous work. We have a visiting Chaffinch.

  3. Archimedes is full of character,it seems like a good idea to name him early on in the creation process.

    Best wishes,

  4. Thank you for the lovely comments; I am not sure I think through any project I start, then find it is massively more complicated than I anticipated. Archimede's feathers are giving me a headache, literally.

    It might explain why I have to teach for a living rather than sculpt or paint, I can't keep to deadlines at all.

  5. Well he looks pretty wonderful so far from where I'm sitting!

    Love your visitor.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  6. I really like felt items. I have a nice pair of felt fairy shoes with embroidery.
    Your owl is very lovely!