The tentaclation continues - almost there six and a bit done. Hopefully will have the arms done tomorrow and will be able to cut and dye the next stage over the weekend.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Still slogging away - lost count of the times I have stabbed myself with the needle or more painfully felting needle. Have decided not to decorate skin side yet, probably best done at the end so I can make it consistent plus I will know how much time I have left (thanks Scott for that very sound advice).
Friday, January 15, 2016
So tentaclation has begun - and I realise this is going to take ages. At this point I begin to question my decision to make the thing so enormous but I am committed now and will battle on to the end.
I was originally just going to sew on tubes of felt to make the suckers but when I tried needle felting over the join to see if I could make it look more seamless it had a really cool effect. This is of course going to make the whole process take even longer but well worth it for the effect.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
So getting colour on the eight arms was pretty much a full day's work. First the felt is washed in hot water with mild soap to get rid of any leftover sizing from the manufacturing process. I started off scrubbing them by hand but ended up just simmering them on the stove in soapy water. Then it is washed out and put in a mix of vinegar and water to soak for a bit.
You take it out leaving most of the vinegar water in and lay it down on some cling film. Next it is painted with food colouring mixed with water to dilute it. Once done roll it up in the cling film and steam for 15 minutes.
I made the mistake of rolling the first tentacle across the short axis which made the darker colours from the center bleed across to the light underside. Subsequent tentacles were rolled up on the long axis and came out much better.
I also dyed some scraps to cut the suckers from and some roving for covering the seams and making patterns on the surface.
Monday, January 11, 2016
Have cut out the eight arms but have run out of felt to make the two longer tentacles. Will have to get another bolt of felt - although the arms will give me plenty to be going on with in the meantime.
I have cut them a couple of centimeters larger all around to allow for the felt to shrink a bit during the dying process. Usually I cut after coloring felt so shrinkage is not a problem but given the scale of this project it makes more sense to cut first.
Next step will be painting and steaming the arms.
Friday, January 8, 2016
Test tentacle number two worked much better - looks more muscular, less elegant. So now I just need to pull it apart and cut eight copies from felt.
Been trying to figure out how to stop the weight of the upper tentacles from crushing the beak once they are arranged in a ring. I am hoping a firmly stuffed tube of felt (like an inner tube) will do it.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
This is test tentacle number one. I like the skinny pointyness of it but it is more octopus than sqiud. Plus it tapers off too quickly and I either need to reduce the base circumference or make it longer neither of which I want to do. So I need to try again but with less tapering, maybe down to half the original circumference instead of a quarter.
Monday, January 4, 2016
Working on a micro scale Kraken for the Burrinja Open Studios exhibition. Have switched to hand painted felt due to carpal tunnel doom from too much giant scale crocheting. Have been having a lot of fun with felting - am using pre made wool felt and dying it with food colouring using vinegar as a mordant. This has the advantage of being kitchen safe as there are no nasty chemicals involved (and me safe too I guess). The vinegar mordant can split or change the colours (especially purple) which can be a pain when you are after a very specific effect but on the plus side gives you an excellent sense of anticipation and surprise when you unwrap it after steaming.
Anyway after a whole heap of pondering and sketching I decided to base the Kraken on a Colossal Sqiud. Not least because I had seen the preserved one in Wellington - utterly amazing by the way.
Now I always seem to start off thinking I will create the pattern in one go but it never seems to work that way. I inevitably end up starting somewhere (often the toes) and building the scale of the rest of the creature in relation to that bit. In this case the tentacles have become the starting point and the rest will follow once they are all in place.
I knew I wanted the eight arms to be about a metre long but had a lot of trouble trying to figure out the diameters for the top and bottom and the amount of taper I needed. As a result I decided to make a test tentacle - I am often too lazy to make test versions and just tend to wing it but there is a very large amount of felt involved here not to mention all the hand painting.
Next time I will share the results of the first tentacle test and where it goes from there.