Saturday, 29 September 2012

Deep in the wild wood

I would like to donate Mr Badger to an Education unit or library trust that is interested in promoting the welfare of wildlife (especially badgers at the moment).  If you think he would capture the interest of children and adults alike, and you could make real use of him, please leave me a comment with the reason.
I will donate him to those who would like to make the best use of him.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Getting dressed in Sunday Best.

Just need to tidy up and put the boots on.

Actually he needs the collar, to the jacket; the breeches are not properly felted yet and need the Harris tweed effect finish and he may (or not if I struggle with it) have a cap.

Eventually he will have air dry clay, painted riding boots and a plinth.  He also needs a good, knobbly, walking stick as well.  Then I just have to decide what to do with him: he stands at 1/2 a metre which is way too big for the house.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Mock up

Having spent several days trying to work out just how to put Badgers head onto a torso, finally I chose the cloth body solution.  Using an old doll pattern, I cut two pieces of calico out, back stitched them together and then stuffed the lower portion with hollow fibre fill.  Towards the upper shoulder and neck I switched to unbleached merino tops and then created a chrysanthemum of wool at the top of the neck.  This gave me a base to needle felt the head to.

After this I used the mix of black merino and brown wenslydale and leicester to create the fur on his neck, cheeks and back of the head.  For once I want fuzzy finishing and the wenslydale felts in such a way that this works well.

I will now need to wet felt some flat pieces to make a jacket.  I plan to make his arms in the same way as the head and body, using calico with a felted paw on each end.

 As I really wanted to see what he would look like in a cravat and jacket I thought I would mock up.  One old tea towel and an off cut gives me a rough idea of what he is going to look like.  I plan to give him a gentleman's shooting stick and possibly a cap.  He will stand on a lovely piece of off cut beech, found by Tim when he was out tramping the woods..

Friday, 14 September 2012


The sky, yesterday, was a glory of pink, gold and grey blue.  It was as glorious in the morning as it was in the evening. The morning sky was raw and golden, fiery and fierce.  Yet, by the time I had fetched the camera it had fled away to leave a soft blue.  I was faster in the evening and captured the more gentle show.

PS, badger has grown some whiskers, but still no shoulders.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

To take a deep breath

There are times when city living is suffocating.  Eventually, I reach breaking point and cannot bear the press of people and rise of buildings around me.  Having spent Saturday in the town (school shoes and essentials that can only be gotten there), my lovely husband organised me and took me out.

The little tract of ancient woodland, Ploughman's wood, is by far my favourite place to walk.  Season by season it offers treasures.  The wood is a mix of native species and some interlopers.  The whole area is being coppiced, step by step, and the interlopers are being removed so that the oak, ash and beech can flourish.  Evidence of this can be found with the movement of the charcoal ovens.
Sunday was a warm and dry day, the sunshine filtering through just green leaves.  Under ash we found a carpet of yellow leaves, whilst the oaks were still garbed in green.  Autumn is slowly stealing along the boundary of the wood; the fields are now stubble and the hedgerows flash the read of ripe hawthorn.

Despite this, clinging on in the sun, there were late bloomers.  A frail and lone columbine, bramble and fragile dog rose peeped out shy heads to the Indian summer.

Inside the wood itself there are signs of a deeper Autumn in the form of bracket fungus on the trunks of trees, acorns flowering with galls in the branches.  Under foot yellow fruit form.

This was a welcome afternoon of walking, chatting, picture taking.  Most importantly it was an afternoon of recharging very flat batteries and fortifying ourselves against the coming week. I will leave you with wanderings through the greenwood, if you listen carefully you may catch conversations that ranged from solids, liquids and gases to butterflies.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The right kind of badger but the wrong kind of rat

I have started work on a new needle felted piece.  I seem to have been missing stabbing my thumb and fingers; not to mention the incipient joint pains that needle felting causes in my elbow and thumbs. Ah well we should all suffer for our art!  Seriously though, I do miss having a felting project on the go but clay work and fibre do not mix so this sort of project has to be consecutive.
I have wanted to make a sculpted form of Badger from Wind in the Willows for a long time.  It was a favourite book, read by my dad as a bed time story.  He loves it as much as we do and he did the best voices.  I know it causes many politico's colly-wobbles, read it as a tale of knowing your place and of the English class system and it will do just that.  However, if you read it as a damn good yarn and a tale of adventure it is a wonderful story for children.  

So sources worked up and the ideas fixed firmly in my head and fingers, Badger is emerging from the Wild Wood.  Tim found a wonderful off cut of beech, whilst on his travels, this will be the intended plinth.  

In the mean time, our cat seems to have decided to get in on the act.  This mornings present, left carefully on the doorstep for me to find, was a rat.  Chi Chi is remarkably proud of his rat.