The first level of the 'Sleeping Aussie Babies' feltorial series is complete. This is what I'd like to teach you.
Project 1 The Numbat
I have designed my Feltorials essentially for beginners however anyone who has stabbed extensively will still gain an insight into my unique method to achieve realism.
This series has been years in the making and I have learned a lot about wool and how it behaves along the way. Using these skills I created a ‘Sleeping Aussie Babies’ range after being inspired by the sleeping mice and rabbits of the northern hemisphere.
With my first baby, the sleeping numbat, I have kept it simple. The biggest lesson with this entry level Feltorial is how the core receives the top coat and how important it is to have this type of core.
My core wool is sourced ethically from a local Romney breeder. I wash it and process it for the kits, it has a wonderful natural colour range from dark to light. Most of all the Romney holds its shape and is open enough to accept the finer topcoats which consist of Shetland, Corriedale and Merino. It will compact to a firm piece with dedicated stabbing but holds its shape when only lightly tacked.
You will learn about tacking and stabbing and the difference along with many other fun felty terms in the glossary. There is only one needle in this kit, which is a regular size 38.
It took me a lot of discipline to simplify this particular Feltorial and still achieve a level of realism. This realism is the cornerstone of my unique style and something most stabbers want to master. It’s all about creating an illusion.
Project 2 The Western Ring-Tail Possum
The second piece is the Western Ring-Tail Possum which has more detailed ears and a curly tail. These extra skills prepare you for the lifelike hooded ears of masterpieces and I introduce some unique wet felting with the aid of a hot water bottle.
I repeat a lot of the foundation skills in this Feltorial as the lesson of repetition is essential for your muscle memory and hand eye coordination. The differences in body shape and posture are there to start training your eye for detail.
This piece takes a little longer to make but not too much. The detail in the ears is time consuming but the skills acquired are crucial for the projects that follow later. There are two needles in this kit, the 36 and 38 so you will learn how they feel compared to each other. This is also a valuable lesson for later on as I use all of my needles all of the time.
The importance of the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ is paramount in this Feltorial as the tail needs to be coaxed into a curled up posture. The skill of gently stabbing and only using the very tip of the needle. Further strengthening those felting muscles!
By the time you have done these first two Feltorials you will be ready to move onto more detail and that’s exactly what the Quoll will teach you next.
Project 3 The Spotted-Tail Quoll
Now that you have mastered the Numbat and the Ringtail Possum you are ready to be rewarded with the spectacular Spotted- Tail Quoll. His spots are a treat to create and the technique used is a very important one for later detailed working you will be off to the glossary again to learn new terminologies.
I repeat myself again in the foundations of this Feltorial but by now you know how important this repetition is so get on with it. This is a larger lesson and I am going to be challenging you to be a more dedicated stabber. So your felting muscles will be stretched again, but just enough as the amount of spots you put on are your choice.
With a much more detailed head and tight little ears with contrast inner colour, you will enjoy the results of creating such fine lifelike features. All made possible with the skills you have grown organically up to this point. There are three needles in this kit, 32,36 and 38 and you will learn to create heavy sculpting with this new 32 needle.
The Quoll is a big confidence builder and prepares you for Project 5, Level 2 The Phascogale. There is one more important lesson before we get there though and that’s why I’ve designed the Tassie Devil who is up next.
Project 4 The Tassie Devil
Well we all know the saying ‘once you go black you’ll never go back’ and my take on that is that black is the hardest ‘colour’ to master. It only takes one creation in black to make you vow allegiance to the REAL colours and understand the fact that black really isn’t even a colour. This makes it very tricky to work with. You will learn to mix different types of black fibres to create depth in your black creatures and how to photograph your black creatures more successfully.
You will learn all about creating depth by using various fibres and we repeat the detail of the Quoll and really step it up on the head as Tassie Devils are all head! This section is highly comprehensive and you will use your three needles throughout learning how they behave at different stages of the felting process.
Up to now we have pulled fibres to shorten them but for the Tassie Devil we will be cutting the wool. You will learn why we do this differently to create the illusion of realistic white markings.
The comparison of fibres and how they behave differently is very important for Level 2 and this Feltorial is full of tips and tricks that make it a fun and informative project that will help you face working with black again.