Bon Voyage Helene

childhood friends
friends at the beach

Yesterday was Emili’s last day to play with her best friend Helene; Helene and her family are moving back to France. The girl friends from their school class spent a poingant day with Helene at the beach.

fun at the beach
making childhood memories

The girls were very busy building sand castles and  laughing and splashing one another!

ouch, jelly fish
jellatenous globs of jelly fish

We found jelly fish washed up on the beach; these are very small compared to previous years.

dolls
Forget me not

As a going away present for Helene and Emili, I needle felted two dolls, one for each girl. Emili the girl received Helene the doll and Helene the girl received Emili the doll.

Helene and Emili dolls
Needle felted Helen and Emili dolls

 Helene and Emili have been in school together since the first grade; I am still friends with my best friend from the first grade!

needle felted dolls
needle felted friends

We all tried to be brave and not cry, but Emili and Helene’s last parting hug broke me. We now have a great reason to travel to France!

Friends-needle felted dogs

needle felted dogs
best friends

I took a photo of these two dogs (the original, real live dogs) in India. They were sleeping at the base of a monument, one was using the other’s rear end as a pillow and they were the most raggedy dogs I’d ever seen…but they looked happy.

doggy friends
Let sleeping dogs lie.

It took me a week to make this sculpture, working on and off between the girls’ end of the school year activities. I find these two dogs sweet, I think the black and white cow patterned dog is much older than the blond dog, maybe she’s the mother. My girls look at the original photo and tell me that “everyone needs a butt for a pillow”, oh silly girls!

sleeping dogs
May I use your butt as a pillow?

As I felted these dogs, I thought about friendship and how a few very good friends are a gift and that the simple things in life are the best.  These dogs brought many nice things to  mind as I felt, felt, felted away.

everyone needs a butt for a pillow
sleeping dogs detail

Needle felting feelings and messages

dogs have friends
Two dogs chatting

You know, the dogs have been the most challenging pieces I’ve done to date. I really feel like a sculptor after I’ve completed one of these dogs, the forms are tedious, especially the legs. I thought the dogs with long hair would take less time, but I was wrong. I wanted them to look a certain way, not neccessarily exactly like the photos but definetly real. I didn’t want to get caught up in minute details, I wanted a certain simplicity to stand out.

dog
Weimaraner

After I’d finished a few dogs, I felt I’d gotten the hang of it, but I wanted more from the dogs. After I’d completed each dog, I studied them for a long time and I felt that each one had a personality. I put all the dogs out in front of me and I started to play around with the possible interactions between personalities.

needle felted dogs and big bone
Get away from my bone!

I started to see that the Dachshund was cheekier than the other dogs.

needle felted Dachshund
Wanna play ball?

I’m continuing to study the dogs and to try to unravel the mystery of what makes a great felted dog personality! Is it a prop, the tilt of the head, the position of the body? Maybe all three? My real challenge is to be able to create a story with the dogs and to make the viewer relate to their message.

needle felted Weimaraner
What a putum!

The needle felting process: Needle felting is the dry process of sculpting raw wool, using specially barbed needles; this art form is different from the ancient practice of wet felting which uses water. The barbs on the felting needles “weave” the wool fibers together, making them firm and strong. The needle felting process is time consuming ; one on my dogs takes from 10 to 15 hours to create each figure. Sculpting in wool can be compared to sculpting in clay in that it can be additive and subtractive; it is a very forgiving material and great detail can be achieved.

Dog Stories-needle felted pets

needle felted basset hound
He ain't nothin' but a hound dog.

I have almost always had a dog in my life. The dogs I had as a kid were “working” dogs. My parents bought them to guard us and the house. They lived outside in dog houses that my dad made; they used to sit on top of the dog house like Snoopy.  My mom used to bring them into the laundry room when the weather got bitter cold or we took them into the basement with us when there was a tornado in the area, otherwise they were outside dogs.

needle felted dachshund
Let's play ball

As an adult, I bought my dog Quill ( a Chow Chow) for companionship. I lived by myself in Chicago and the furry company and extra security he provided were nice to have. I had him for 19 years, he became part of our family. We still talk about the things he used to do that made us laugh! One of my favorite Quill stories is from Chicago. He liked the very cold weather, but when we would walk in the snow, he would stop dead in his tracks and lift up one foot. He wanted the ice cleaned out from between his toes. After we did one foot, he would lift another foot to be cleaned. You couldn’t budge him till all the ice was cleaned out from between his toes! I bought him dog boots, but he hated those.

giant poodle
Needle felted Giant Poodle

We’d like to get another dog, but we’re taking a pet brake right now. The last few years of Quill’s life were hard. We think we might get a Bull Terrier; they’re supposed to be good with kids, loyal companions and good watch dogs.

needle felted dog
Needle felted Bull Terrier

I like to watch those t.v. programs that introduce the people who bring their pets to hospitals and old folks homes to cheer up the people. I know that animals are good for people because they’re easy to love and they give love back and they’re always glad to see you when they get home and they never criticize you. We bought my mother in law a little dog after her husband died recently; she now lives for that dog.

needle felting pets
Needle felted Rottweiler

I used to “read” the Carl book by Alexandra Day to the girls when they were little. Carl books have no words, just adorable illustrations showing the adventures of Carl the Rottweiler and “his baby”. These are some of my favorite children’s books!

wooly sheep dog
Needle felted Old English Sheep Dog

These dog sculputures arent’ toys, they’re art. They take 10-15 hours each to felt. Each dog is around 6.5″ tall x 10″ long\16.5cm tall x 25.4cm long. They’re needle felted from 100% wool and have posable legs. You can buy them in my Laleebu Boutique, here or here.

needle felted art
Needle felted Jack Russel Terrier

Famous dogs: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Snoopy, Marmaduke, Astro, Benji, Odie, Clifford, Cujo…

Does anyone else have a good dog story?