Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Olive the Jackalope

 Here is my latest commission: Olive Jackolope. Handsome fellow, wouldn’t you say?
 I have recieved some really awesome feedback about him, most importantly from his new owner, who loves him! Ya! Victory!

 I created Jackolope by experimenting with my dye pot. I said I would go through that process here on this blog, since so many people are interested, Which in my mind was a bust.

First, I used pure white carded wool to creature Jackolope. Many people think that I make stuffed animals. No, these are not stuffed animals. 100% felted wool. I take a wad of wool the size of my fist and I start poking it with my barbed needle. A 38 Gauge barbed needle to be exact. I then work the shape and sculpt the wool to it's finished hardness, and smoothness. Normally, I do this from start to finish while shading with my dyed colors as I go. With Jackolope, I had this hair-brain idea that I would felt him entirely in white and then "submerge dye" him in my 5 gal. dye pot. What a mess!

The customer wanted a light celery to mossy olive color scheme. Rusty toned antlers with black tips. I had this idea that I would start my pot out with a couple drops of green icing dye, submerge Jackolope for his lighest coat of green, then add more drops of green to darken the dye and dip the body creating a smooth gradation. But, what I didn't foresee happening, was that Jackolope would be weighted down with a metric ton of water, causing him to be a soaking soppy soggy mess. Opps!
Also, my Olive Moss green dye at his base came out to be more of a Aztec Gold which was kinda gross. Double Opps! I have no rhyme or reason nor a recipe when I dye. I am a bit of a mad-dye-gal.

I actually had to let him sit and dry in the hot Okanagan heat for about two weeks before I could recoat his base with a new tone of Olive green, detail his face, and add his antlers and fur. I did not submerge dye the antlers. Slow learner, I am not.

I used Angora bunny fur (from a local farm) that I dyed and carded for the Jackolope's "fur bib", and his bunny tail. Felting on the fur took me over 6 hours to do.

In the end, I had no idea what he was going to look like. But, think he worked out.

Here are the most asked questions:

Q) How long did he take to create:
A) Around 120 hours. This does not include dry time.

Q) Did you use a wire armature:
A) No, I seldom do, unless the customer wants it for dependability. I hate using wire. It breaks my needles and I already do that just fine on my own. One of the reasons Jackalope took to long, was that I had to poke the crap out  of him to make him solid enough and his antler rigid enough to stand erect. ( :))

Q) Did you use the Addi Quick felting tool:
A) No, no, no! I have voiced my opinion on this tool, but also not so much to piss off my fellow felters and the people who created it. I did buy this tool for my husband, but I tried it with the supplied needles and was very disappointed. But, I have been informed that there are better needles for the tool, and it seems that some felters swear by it. So, we shall see. I don't see myself using the tool. I can get pretty detailed and have a lot of control with my needle and hand. I realize I can not poke at 2500 pokes per minute or whatever it claims to do, but I also stab myself painfully A LOT! and I don't need a tool penetrating my finger at 2500 pokes per minute. My husband loves gadgets and gimmicks like this, so I am sure he'll have a great time when the proper needles get here.

Q) How much is this Jackolope, and can I order one:
A) This Jackolope is sold. You can order one, custom to your colors and style. He is $375.00. Plus shipping. He stands about 20" tall. I am backed up as per usual with some really big creatures this fall, but can be put on my wait list. I am starting to bump orders that are interesting and give me a break from Dragon pups, to the head of the line.

Q) This is not your usual style of creature. Why don't you do more like this?
A) Two reasons. One, I have done 250+ commissions. I am doing these back to back, 40 hours a week, most weeks. I don't have time to do what I want to create, because I am working on what my fans have ordered. 99.9% of the time, my fans order spin offs of what I have already done, or something cute and rainbow. Which I love. But, I find the commissions that breathe life into what I do, (like something crazy like a green gradated Jackolope,) are becoming very important to me as an artist...because as you can see; A lot of you think I am a "One-Trick-Pony" who can only do cute and colorful.
2. I don't do the realistic animal thing like a lot of my very talented felting friends do. I'll leave that to them. But, if you ask me to do a fantasy animal, or Dachshund with dragon wings kinda thing...well, now we're cooking with gas. So, keep those crazy and original ideas coming!

If you want to see more sneak peeks, pop over to Instagram or Twitter. I try not to post too many picture posts on my facebook page to minimize the amount of people who drop off because of it.