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An Arran Bee!

Made completely from fleece sourced on the island and dyed on the island with Island plants!

So this is the first felted picture that I have created using the fleece that I have been processing in my studio. To those who are familiar with my work it may look a little pale and less refined than my usual pieces ... but this is work in progress that I am sharing with you!

I have been practising with my new carder (which I am very proud to own)

This is truly a piece of art in itself. It is made by Paul Brittain in the UK (in Shropshire) and I can thoroughly recommend him if you are thinking of purchasing a carder yourself. His business is called Classic Carder

He makes carders in all sizes and after consulting with him I chose the smaller model as I am working with smaller quantities of fleece.

This little machine has heled me take rough fleece from a lumpy bundle to a beautiful carded batt.

Here is some Blue Faced Leicester fleece before and after carding:

...and here is some of that beautifully soft black alpaca fleece from Arran Alpacas before and after carding:

Now that I have some carded fleece I can start to experiment with how the fleece felts. As I still have very limited colours (I need to get some more dye baths underway!) I wanted to try a picture that I am familiar with so that I can compare.

I have made lots of bees with processed fibres that I have purchased and as I have the black alpaca fleece, some plain white carded Blue Face Leicester fleece and some fleece that I have dyed with marigolds I had the materials to try a bee!. (There is just a smidgen of grey Herdwick fleece on the bees bottom!)

I am learning from this: The alpaca fleece cards and felts really well, the Blue faced Leicester is a bit harder to work with as it is quite a springy fibre. I need some brighter yellows to really make the bee look vibrant, but I am pretty sure that will come in time. Foe now I am happy to have made a start with an initial Arran sourced bee picture!

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