Monday, 21 October 2013

Elephant No. 49: Needle Felting

For my very first blog elephant, back in October 2011, I did a small needle-felted elephant head. I've made other needle-felted figures off and on since then, but not in a while, so I thought I'd try one for today's elephant.

I won't go into how needle felting works, other than to say that it involves stabbing loose wool repeatedly with a barbed needle. In a process similar to matting your favourite sweater by mistake in the wash, the scales on the wool fibre latch onto one another, creating a dense material.

I began by making a body, a head and some rough legs. All of this was going to get more dense as I went along, so this was good enough for now.

Next, I attached the head to the body by stabbing around the neck area and through the top of the head. I then refined the legs by stabbing them some more, and attached them by running the needle repeatedly from the foot through to the body.

To make the trunk, I pulled off a length of fibre, folded it, and attached it to the head loosely.

To refine the trunk, I stabbed it along its length and from its tip back into the head, shaping as I went.

I added ears next, then put a bit of pink in the middle. I also added pink to the mouth and the tip of the trunk. To finish this little guy, I made tiny balls of black wool for eyes, and little tubes for tusks, then added a tail. All of these were added to the elephant with the same stabbing process.

Normally I made my needle-felted figures much smoother, but smoothing out the surface takes time I didn't have today. And baby elephants are pretty hairy anyway, so I figured I could get away with it.

I like this little guy, but I don't feel that he's quite finished. I'll probably go back to him when I have an hour or two and smooth him out a little more, reshape his body a bit, and perhaps even give him a beret or something. But for now, he's kind of cute.

Elephant Lore of the Day
In yesterday's elephant lore, I featured a video of an elephant jamming on the piano. I mentioned that Peter, the elephant in the video, is also famous for a smartphone ad. I used that video in my original blog, but it's been a while, so here it is again.

Although obviously trained to play with the phone, Peter is still engaging in the video—and a mighty accommodating fellow, if you ask me.

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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