This weeked the Greedy Crocodile and I will be at the Meissner Kunstfest, a big art festival in the beautiful town of Meissen.
I have been planning to make some animals from the polar regions for a long time, and at last I’ve actually made some. This polar bear was one of the first (there was a baby polar, but he sold a little while ago). He is supposed to be a fierce bear, standing up on his hind legs to fight with another bear, or perchance to threaten a foolish human who has strayed too near… But I think he looks incredibly camp, and a little bit as if he should have a handbag over one of those paws. I think I may have been watching Brave at some point while this was being made, which may account for the extreme girlishness of his stature. It is quite incredible how subconscious influences shape what come from the felting needle. Anyhow, this terrifying example of pure bear power has been named “Cindy” by my little girl, which I think sums his character up neatly.
If you search google for images of arctic foxes they are often curled up into a tight ball like this one. I suppose that is probably to keep them cosy and warm in the freezing weather, but it also looks very cute, and is easier to felt than a fox with legs. I do have a be-legged fox in the making, but it isn’t ready yet! This fox is in a similar pose to my cats, and the simplicity of the pose draws attention to his bright orange eyes and pointy little fox nose. Another absolutely amazing arctic fox, by the way, has been made by my friends at Grin, Grimace and Squeak.
This weekend we will be here
Ages and aeons ago I started my first giveaway, to be drawn when my Facebook page reached 100 Likes. That momentous milestone was reached at the weekend, so with the help of my daughter PIa, we drew names out of a hat, and the winner was Lois!!
I am making Lois a little sleeping cat to look like her own cat, and will be sending him off with his little gift box in a couple of days.
Today the greedy crocodile decided to explore Dresden a little bit, while helping out on a photoshoot with some of his felted pals.
First he went down to the banks of the Elbe to check out the view of Dresden and the Augustbrücke, a la Bellotto.
Next he wandered over the Augustusbrücke towards the Altstadt, stopping on the way to admire the view to the west, in the direction of Meissen. I love the light coming off the river here.
He leaned over the edge to look into the river…
and noticed this face on the bridge – visible to boats going under the bridge, but not really to people on top.!
He passed by this blackened gothic thingy (I’m sorry, I don’t know what it is! I will look next time I go past). It reminds me of a miniature Scott Monument.
Then he headed for some shade and some refreshment!
Photos are the only way I can show my product (in this case, Shetland ponies) to the world, so it is really very important that I take GOOD photos. Important, and also very, very difficult. With my smaller sculptures I usually opt for a white background, and a hand to give an indicator of size. Informative and boring. My ponies are larger, and it’s much more difficult to avoid blobs of shadow and sunshine on the background. Anyway, I’d like my photos to be more interesting – to stand out more, to tell a story and make the viewer think “wow!”.
So I decided to take two of my small ponies on location for a photoshoot.
First I had to wait a few days for the weather to play ball – in which I failed. By the time I got to my chosen location the wind was brisk, to say the least. But the sun had lost some of its strength behind a misting of light cloud, which I thought would be more favourable for photography.
My chosen location was beside the river Elbe, where the light is reflected from the river and almost anything looks good in photos (even me sometimes). So I found some interesting stones and plants, and started snapping away from various angles.
I took lots of photos like this – with my foot (or my bag) somewhere in the shot, and the pony not quite in focus!
The sandstone from this region is famous and used all over Germany. It is a mixture of beautiful honey and grey colours – I could (and I do) look at walls in Dresden for a long time. The stones by the river, however, are covered in a fine film of river mud, so they’re more dusty than golden. But the light is really gorgeous. The surface of the river is smooth and blue and mercurial. (When you look into the water from directly above it is greeny yellowy brown, with a strong current, and you can see fishes and bicycles and all sorts in there.)
I am not happy with my first photoshoot. I do like my little camera, and I do a lot with it, but I think it really does have limitations. I need to play with it in a more scientific manner to test its capabilities more, and hopefully I will get some better results. But I know I will never achieve the sorts of photos that I really admire without a proper camera and a good macro lens (at least think that’s the bit I want. I actually know nothing about cameras..)
I am very gradually (very, very gradually) working my way through the fauna of Shetland in needle felted form. I am officially addicted to Shetland ponies, almost completely because of Frances Taylor’s blog ShetlandPonyEverything (as I seem to remember saying before!). I will continue to make these fantastic little beasts – next up is a rolling Shetland pony, showing off a nice round tum.
But as well as stabbing wool I also enjoy spinning it. Having finally knitted this yarn into a beret, I wanted something to jazz it up.
The name of the blue yarn is haar, which is a sea mist, and this colour is a lovely bright sky blue with trails of misty lights threading through it. So I thought, why not a bird pin? The Arctic Tern is a very distinctive and beautiful bird, suitable for making in miniature. Apparently it is called a Tirrick in the Shetland dialect (anyone care to correct me/elaborate?)I don’t have any of my own photos of Arctic Terns (I’ve never seen any here in Dresden, funnily enough), so you’ll have to google them. They are stunning! Their wings and tails are the most amazing shape, so elegant.
And here it is
It is the first bird I have made, and I am very pleased with the result (though as usual my photos are rubbish, for which I apologise). Although it is small it has come out very well – it’s very firm, and has quite a lot of detail, and plenty of shape. Unfortunately I don’t think it works very well as a hat embellishment. I have attached a brooch back, though I quite like the idea of it hovering over my desk.. I am at work experimenting with a clay base and wire.
I am also making a larger version… but it might take a while. I’m not even doing the feathers individually – only some of them, and I am BORED NOW!! I already had a huge amount of respect for Mel of FeltMeUpDesigns – how she gets the patience to do all these lovely little feathers I don’t know! It’s definitely worth the effort (please go to her Flickr page and take a look at her amazing owls). But the smaller bird was very satisfying to make, and more will be coming!
And, by the way, I recently found this fascinating website
well worth a browse! I myself will be rummaging rather than browsing.
I have been planning to make an Owl Sweater for ages.
Designed by the wonderful Kate Davies, this jumper is so unbelievably lovely and stylish. I stopped using knitting patterns a few years ago, as I find them generally obfuscating and annoying – I find it easier to decide what I want to knit, and then just knit it. But this pattern is a classic, a must-have!
I bought some gorgeous combed Shetland tops from Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick a while ago, and an owl sweater seems the perfect display case for this wool. So I have started spinning.
Doubtless it will be more uneven than machine-spun wool. But hopefully not too much. I want the owls on the jumper to provide the texture, rather than the yarn itself!