My 2012 New Year”s resolution is to do something new with my art, to push the boundaries of needle felting and sewing. I’ve been needle felting exclusively for a few years now because I love this medium, but I miss sewing and the textures and patterns of fabric. I’ll now be experimenting with combining the art of needle felting with the art of sewing because the two mediums can compliment each other to produce stunning results. The pretty mushroom is needle felted, the base mushroom shapes are covered with cotton, silk and velvet and sewn on in a variety of ways.
For me, the costumes that I used to make in my store were the gateway to learning about fancy sewing, French sewing techniques and all the different ways you can manipulate fabric. Assembling the costume pattern pieces like a puzzle never interested me as much as how you can control the fabric and the interesting and beautiful results that can be achieved. My seamstresses and I researched Renaissance costumes and sewing techniques, the fine art of sewing ballet costumes and the secrets of constructing a garment to make it stand up, drape or bounce; this is what really fascinated me.
The top of needle felted Pretty Mushroom is adorned with red velvet, quilted on with small stitches all over the mushroom cap and covered with fresh water pearls for the mushroom polka dots.
I went into my vintage fabric stash and found some hand embroidered, cotton eyelet fabric. For special pieces, I like to use vintage fabric with elaborate hand embroidery, something I don’t have the patience to do myself. I quilted this vintage fabric onto the needle felted mushroom stem.
For this pretty mushroom, I gathered silk around the stem to make the gills (underside of the mushroom). I had a little previous experience with this technique last year when I made giant mushrooms (6 and 7 feet tall) for an Alice and Wonderland themed birthday party, you can see those mushrooms here.
In the end, I have beautiful, 100% natural mushrooms from wool, cotton, silk and pearls (Waldorf style, but an adult version) to brighten up my sofa or an empty corner.
Because the Fairytale Frog tutorial that I did was so popular, I decided to do another tutorial with the same multi-jointed technique. Feeling a little artsy after I made my chimp, I fashioned him as “art” after a few famous artists. For the above shot, I draped my chimp in the clothing and head covering to mimic Girl with a Pearl Earring, I placed him in front of a black background (like the Vermeer painting) and took his picture. I photo-shopped his eyes to look at the viewer and blurred him a little to look like a painting.
For Salvadore Monki (after the famous photo of Salvadore Dali), I took Monki’s photo with a needle felted moustache. I photo-shopped his eyes to look like the expressive eyes of Dali in the photo and changed the image from color to black and white. The cropping and the moustache here were key!
My final piece of chimp art is the Chimpanzee Scream. I created the background with pastels (to look like the famous painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream). I positioned my chimp in the lower right hand corner and took his picture. Voila!
I had a lot of fun recreating these Chimpanzee pieces of art, a little something more to highlight my needle felted work!
I’m thinking about pets today, how fun they are, how much they make us laugh, how much responsibility they are and how sad it is when they die. My daughter’s pet rat died today, he was 3 years old, that’s as old as rats get. He lived a very pampered life, she cared for him like a child; talking to him, feeding him, hanging out with him, caring for him when he became sick. We bought her the rat 3 years ago when she needed a friend (her best friend had just moved away). Bibbel (the rat’s name) was a sweet rat and he knew Elli, he was calmer with her and he came to her when she called him, he was sort of like a little dog (if you use your imagination). In the 3 years that she had Bibbel, I’ve watched her care for this animal and I’ve learned a lot about her loving nature and I believe that she has learned the same thing about herself. This evening has been about remembering “the good times”, about consoling her and trying to find the right things to say to her. Good-bye Bibbel.