Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Magic Forest Fox

This week has been crazy trying to finish up projects and doing midterms. Here is a project I've been making for my textile class, that I have been finishing up this week!

I call this piece, my Magical Forest Fox. It is all made from dry wool felting, which I have never done previously. For this piece I was interested in mythology, fables, and fairytales. I was specifically interested in researching the symbolism of animals in these types of stories. I ready many of these fantastical fables from the Grimm fairytales, to Native American folklore. I then created sketches of what I imagined them to be.

At first I was going to base my final piece on one of the stories I read, but felt like it wasn't a part of me. For a few weeks we met in my class to talk about our project ideas, and I brought up this concern of "originality." My teacher and classmates thought it would be much more fun, and interesting if I made my own story up, or fictitious animal.

So at first I had no clue what medium I wanted to use for this project. I was playing around with embroidery, but wanted to make my piece more three dimensional. My teacher suggested using wool roving, which I didn't even know about. After looking it up, I found amazing things made out of felting with wool. I gathered my supplies and tried it for myself, I was hooked. Not only was it fun to do, it was easy, and I got amazing results within minutes!

      I made a few little practice creatures, and couldn't believe how much detail I was able to to create from felting. After practicing for a few days I finally started on my final piece.

  I decided to just jump into it, and not make a sketch. When I draw or paint my illustrations I usually never make sketches before hand, so I wanted to incorporate this practice into my felted piece as well. I ended up searching amazon, among other websites for pretty colors of wool, and gathered the right tools to be able to felt. I also bought nice dark green velveteen, to give this piece a mounted
 taxidermy look.

 Below are some images of how I started to build this felted fox. I started first by putting a sort of branch frame as a border. I created the structure of this by wrapping the wool around a bunch of pipe cleaners, so I could bend it and make it appear more branchlike.

I soon realized that the branches would not be very secure to the fabric, just by felting it on. So I had to sew the branch structure to the fabric. After this, I began making the base of the fox head by felting a flat outline of the general shape. After that I started molding each piece separately and attaching it onto the base. The snout, cheeks, ears, top part of the head, and even the eyeballs were all separate pieces that I joined together by needle felting.

Below is an up close of the super soft alpaca, wool roving I ordered for the base color of the fox.

So, here is the final product! I was so happy I had this amazing IKEA frame already, because it matches perfectly with this piece.

I definitely enjoyed this felting process, and look forward to getting better at it and learning more techniques. I'm so into it, that I'm thinking about making a felted wedding cake topper for my wedding!