What is it about mushrooms that we all find so enchanting? Is it the colors? Is it the many shapes and sizes? Is it that our imaginations see these fat little fungi as trees in fairy landscapes? I have been particularly taken with the delicate underside of the big umbrella part of the mushroom. I’ve needle-felted quite a few mushrooms and used them as Christmas ornaments, but this time I decided to go beyond my ornament designs and add the many layers of the underside, called gills. I felted the mushroom cap as usual, starting with a felted ball, I cut the ball in half, hollowed out the half circle, I felted the underside of the half circle and then I attached the felted stem to the middle of the cap.
I cut the gills from cotton felt. I cut a felt rectangle for each gill. The length of the gills are determined by measuring from the middle of the cap to the outter rim of the cap. I sewed all the gills together on one end till I could wrap them around the stem. I sewed every gill to the underside of the mushroom at the stem and at the outter rim of the cap.
Sewing the gills to the underside of the cap is very time consuming. After I sewed the gills to the underside of the mushroom cap, I trimmed each gill from the outter rim of the cap to the stem, so the gills are rounded.
We’ve all been in love with a pig once in our lives, haven’t we? I find that when I’m needle-felting, I need to really be “into” what I’m felting. Because needle-felted sculpture take so long to do, I have to be inspired by my subject. I don’t know if I could needle-felt an armadillo or a hippo for example, not that there’s anything wrong with armadillos or hippos. I’ve always wanted a pig, I think because they’re supposed to be very smart and they seem to have a lot of character. If you’re going to have a pet, why not have one you can talk to, right?
Here in Israel, the pig is not a popular animal; observant Jews aren’t supposed to eat pork, so if I were a pig I’d want to live in Israel. I’m a bit fascinated by the level of repulsion concerning the pig in the Middle East. When the swine flu was affecting people all over the world, the Jewish religious community couldn’t bring themselves to refer to this particular flu by it’s common label, but made up the term the Mexican flu instead. Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with Mexicans. “Bury your head in the sand”, I say and “everything will be o.k!” I’ve read that it’s common to mark out the word pig with a big black marker in Muslim countries. This is done in bookstores, in children’s books as well. I wonder what the job title of the person who marks out the word pig is. Many Middle Easterners and other Muslims have no idea who Kermit’s main squeeze is, nor do they want to know.
I have fond piggy memories from my childhood. There was a pig farm near where we lived and every time my parents drove by it (must have been 10 times a week) my brother and sister and I would hold our noses and yell Pee-ewww! Every single time. So, I’m not upset that Emili has fallen in love with this particular needle-felted swine, I can think of worse company to keep.
A few years ago, I was looking through a book about needle felted figures and I thought to myself , “I want to make one of those!”. I taught myself how to needle felt by looking at a lot of photos of finished pieces, reading what I could find and practicing a lot. I started creating my first needle felted pieces with spheres and other simple shapes.
This little bird in her nest is made by adding shapes together, oval body, little oval-flat wings, ball head, triangle beak. A thin layer of wool over the area where the shapes are connected blends the shapes together seamlessly. I sewed two tiny seed-beads onto the head for eyes. The nest is a sphere, cut in half and felted into a bowl shape. I sewed a beaded string to the bird and Poof,she’s an ornament.
Keeping with the round theme, I made an apple.
I added a twig for the stem of the apple.
The apple has a surprise inside! A cute little worm, made completely from spheres!
This little green worm has eaten the entire inside of the apple…
exept for the seeds!
The apple started as a sphere, it was felted into an apple shape, cut in half, hollowed out and the inside was felted white. The twig and big green leaf were added to complete the apple container. The little worm consists of four spheres felted together. The seeds are tiny balls, mostly shaped by rolling them between my fingers.
I was so thrilled that Barak Obama was elected president, that I felted a puppet of him. This is an historic day, and I see that some of those around me don’t understand why. I see attitudes pertaining to race changing for the better in America and I feel that this is an important and progressive movement in the lives of the American people. I grew up in the Midwestern United States in the 1960’s and I’ve heard and seen the racial attitudes of many of my family and friends and I know we are now moving forward. Good luck, Mr. President!