Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Artist and a Scientist

Maria Sibylla Merian (b. April 2, 1647; d. January 13, 1717.)

Whom I had never heard of, until I went to Google this morning and saw today's Google Doodle:

Which led me to an informative article in the CSM (found here).

Which led me to want to look at more of her work.  I found a wonderful site with all sorts of pictures here.

Here's my favorite (so far!):

See the tiny baby lizard in the bottom right corner?!?

There are so many things I find amazing about her life and work - she was painting and publishing her work in the late 1600's, she traveled to Suriname with her daughters to paint at the dawn of the 18th century, and she helped change scientific thinking about insects (the focus of much of her work).  Wow.

Thanks Google!

Monday, April 1, 2013

At last....

Whatever happened to my wee doggie?  She's been done for ages I'm afraid, but as the school year wound down, so did I.  After 3 weeks of sleep I'm ready to get back into some fun things and finish up this post.  The last bits were attaching the ears and completing her face.  So, onto the ears!  Here she is with the first one in place:

I decided to vary a bit from Gretel Parker's ears - I realized that I was modelling this after my real dog (also named Sadie) and, well, she's got really big pointy ears.  Like bat big.  And very expressive - she can do a 360 with those ears, no problem.  The construction might be a bit unusual, but it worked well for the first ear, so I replicated it for the second!  In creating this shape I started with a long piece of roving:

Which I then folded in half and used the green 5-needle tool to begin felting:

I noticed that the ear was getting "fuzzy" on the edges while I felted.  To tidy this up a bit I stretched the piece of roving slightly between my two hands every few moments, like this:

After a few punches with the green 5-needle, I moved to the pink 3-needle to continue shaping it up.

AND...an 8 month blogging hiatus later - poor Sadie, she's been done since last summer.  Must...blog...regularly.  

I need to finish this story before I can share my latest work, so here we go...picking up right where I left off!

I couldn't get a picture of this - not enough hands - but I started turning the ear on its side to create the indented area between the felted and unfelted sections.  At first I had thought that I would use the loose, unfelted bits to the right to attach the ear to the head.  But Sadie's ears were much pointier that this, so I decided to try something different...sometimes having no training in a craft is actually helpful - if there are any "rules" you don't know what they are, so you feel free to try whatever works!

I turned the ear around, and peeled sections of the unfelted wool down over the ear like so:

And then started felting those bits in place - there's the pointy ear that I was looking for!

Then it was dead simple to use the bits of fluff on the left to attach the ears to her head.  I used a few wispy strands - maybe a dozen fibers worth (!) to smooth this area a bit, so that the ear attachment point wasn't obvious.

On to Sadie's nose - I found this part difficult.  The Mollie Makes project of Gretel Parker's that inspired me had a much more defined nose - a nice triangular shape too - but I don't think I've quite developed the control to deliver that just yet.  So I did this instead:  attached a piece of black fiber about 3 inches long in the center of her snout...

And then I kept wrapping the fiber in a counter-clockwise direction around the center attachment, and tacking it down with the needle!

Next step - eyes.  I didn't have any of the plastic eyes that I wanted (I hadn't figured out how to source those yet), but I did have a little tin of faceted hemetite beads that worked just fine!

Gretel used a lovely little beret to hide the strings for attaching the eyes - I covered mine with a purple collar instead!

All she needed was a cute little tongue (Sadie is a very kissy dog!).

Sadie sits up on my crafting desk now...

...just next to my next felting endeavor: this chubby hippo baby!

This was the inspiration picture that I used - it's not a bad start!