You may have gathered that I seem to be a little obsessed with mermaids… The images that come up if you ‘Google’ mermaid images are mostly of sweet beautiful sleek sirens, such as depicted on my mermaid lentils
but if you know anything about biology and evolution, you can bet that they would be slim-line eating machines with gills and very, very sharp teeth! But, seeing as not many people would find human-ish shaped sharp toothed harpies very endearing, I choose to keep mine in the realms of (heh hem) fantasty 😉
So now that I have got that out of the way, I decided to have a change from glass for once and do a bit of needle felting!
I started off with a pile of felting needles, a thick foam pad and a few blobs of felting stuff called wool roving. If you fancy having a go, then you can get all you need from Ebay! 🙂
Anyway, I pulled off a small amount of wool roving and balled it it and poked it a lot with a felting needle. I did this for some time, until I had a blob of matted wool resembling the shape of a small head. Felting works because the needles are barbed so that as they go through the wool, they tangle the fibres together, then the needle can slide out. The tangles in the wool are then fixed and can’t be undone – it puts me in mind of wires. Whenever I leave wires together, be they TV wires, jewellery making wire, earphones or any sort of wire you can imagine, they conspire against me and tangle themselves up. I don’t know how it happens and I wish I knew why, but it happens and its blinking infuriating! So, smoothly getting back to the topic at hand, there are different needles (all doing the job of tangling fibres) for different phases of working.
I built up the head shape poking and adding where needed. I made eyes, eyelids, lips and eyebrows and even made purple eyeshadow out of the wool.
The next step was to make an armature. An armature is a framework around which a sculpture is built. I made it out of wire (after I had spent two hours untangling it!). I had measured out the proportions after measuring the head so that she would look vaguely ok!
The next step was to poke a bundle of old scraps of lining material into the cavities and cover with bits of wool roving, then poke, poke, poke and more poking…for hours and hours! 😉
I kept going with the covering and poking until the whole armature was covered, using colours I don’t like underneath and the wanted colours on top to conserve it! This was no itty bitty mermaid I was making, no sir! She is around a foot long! 🙂
After the body was completed, I used bits and bobs of pretty coloured wool roving to give her some seaweed, starfish, coral and fish 🙂
She is now beginning to look like a mermaid -which was a relief I can tell you as she took a lot of poking!
For the final touches, I attached her head onto the wire spike using the same poking technique and I made small pieces of fabric by poking double folded strips of wool roving onto the foam pad. These were attached to the tail spines, again using the felting needles and lots of poking, to create the webbing.
And voila! One large needle felted fantasy mermaid that my daughter thinks looks like Amy Winehouse 🙂 I hope she would have been pleased 🙂
I hope you didn’t mind having a bit of a change from glass but rest assured, there will be plenty next time, including a commissioned Adonis (yep, with bits ;)) and a golden Goddess 🙂 Take care, go well and be happy! Until next time … nanu nanu 😉