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From sheep to felt!

My #CreativeScotland project is getting near to the final stages. Here is a brief overview of what I have been doing to progress the picture forward this week:

Having sketched out a plan for the final piece of felt art that will be made completely from products raised, grown or found on the #IsleofArran I have now created the base piece of felt that I will work on to create the final picture.

So how did I get from this Blue Faced Leicester sheep that resides at Creagraineach farm in Kildonan:

to this: the base felt ready to be dry felted?

It started with the fleece laid out here in my garden

That I gently teased out the individual locks from:

After washing and drying the locks I then ran them through the carder several times until they were smooth and refined (it was just lucky that we have had such good weather that I could enjoy doing this in the garden!)

Then, back in the studio I laid the batts out to create a base ready for wet felting:

Firstly laying some white batts in an even layer with all the fibres running vertically top to bottom.

...and then laying some coloured batts with the fibres running horizontally to indicate the main shapes that will be making up the final piece. The colours are not very strong as I don't want the colours to run into each other when I wet felt them. I just want a hint of colour so that I am not dry felting the final details onto a plain white base. This is now ready to wet felt.

With a lot of water, diluted soap and a lot of rubbing a rolling, the fibres start to adhere together, combining to become a robust piece of felt that is ready for the next stage. I think of this as the canvas, primed and ready for the painting!

If you want to see how all of this happened in a bit more detail, take a look at the video on my YouTube channel:

Look out for future blogs that will show you how the picture progresses!

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