I’ve been meaning to take part in some of the challenges I have listed under Weekly Inspiration here on the blog, but today is the first day I’ve actually taken the time to check out the list. I’m going to try to do at least three challenges this week. Wish me luck!
The theme at Sunday Postcard Art for this week is “Fruit,”and the first thing that came to mind was a clump of fresh, sweet, juicy strawberries (which is kind of odd, because raspberries are actually my favourite berry. And are berries even fruit? I’m over-thinking this).
Speaking of fruit, I stumbled across the most incredible picture this morning on Our Bear River Adventure, a blog I read regularly. Even though, logically, I know it would be one huge mess, a part of me feels an irresistible urge to just dive right in!
In other news, Hurricane Earl turned out to be less of a “Big Bad Storm” and more of a “Big Whoop-ti-doo.” He changed his track just before coming up the Bay of Fundy, and we barely got a rainy gust of wind here and there. I’ll be honest — I was a little disappointed. I don’t want people to get hurt, and I don’t want damage, but a little more “oomph” would have been appreciated.
Look what I made!
Isn’t he adorable?!
And I only drew blood once!
Needle felting in 3D is a little more challenging than doing a flat project. First of all, on a flat piece, the strands of fibre that follow the needle into the block get hidden when you sew it onto something, whereas in a 3D project, they tend to come out somewhere on the figure. As a result, I have some stray black fibres on my little white sheep’s back. I’m sure that there’s a way around this (and it might just be a matter of a different felting block than this beginner’s chunk of plastic foam), and that with practice, it will be less of a problem.
Secondly, it’s much easier to stab oneself when you’re holding something between your fingers and jabbing a needle in between, instead of stabbing down into a block. Just sayin’.
But self-maiming aside, I think it’s safe to say that, after just two projects (the flower patch below and now my little friend here), I officially have a new means of creative expression.
I absolutely love needle felting!
You know how sometimes you see a particular type of handwork and it just calls to you? Well, a couple of years ago, I saw some needle-felted miniature figures (a 1:12 scale teddy bear for a dollhouse caught my eye, if I’m remembering correctly). Anyway, about a year ago, I was getting some fabric cut at WalMart and I saw a needle felting kit in the clearance bin. So I fished it out, brought it home, stuck it on a shelf, and avoided it for a while. (You know how I am with trying new things. Look how long it took me to bind those hooked projects, eh?)
Well, one of the things I’m trying to learn in my little space in the Market is to be brave. In fact, I have a little ATC self-portrait that says “I’m invincible!” stuck on the wall. (Not sure I believe it yet, but hey.) So I’ve been taking this little kit back and forth to the Market every day this past week, and finally on Friday, I opened it up to give it a try. And I loved it!
I don’t really care to examine the implications of how immensely satisfying I found repeatedly stabbing something small, soft and squishy. But wow — is it ever fun! The project I was doing was only two-dimensional, not three, but it’s just so cool how the fibres bind together. And it’s fast, too!
There are so many ideas floating around in my head. I have a little bit of the roving left, so I might try to make something else — just improvise. The kit had a little plastic foam block that I pretty much stabbed to the point of obliteration, but I have seen supplies in a couple of local shops.
And I am pleased to report that no fingers were maimed in the production of my first needle-felted project. (Isn’t it awesome? :))
I can’t believe I’ve been in my little space for two weeks now, with only two weeks left. And yet, in some ways, it feels as if I’ve always been here. I’m getting to know the merchants and my internal rhythm has now matched the rhythm of the Market.
Every morning, at about 9 AM, I walk in through the Charlotte Street gates, and the Market unfolds before me. I chat with the people I bump into, walk down the north aisle, chat with the folks at the soaperie, and then climb the stairs up to my little haven.
Each day, through the window beyond my table, I see the same elderly couple choose their vegetables for the day, and the same police officer getting his coffee. I nod and grin at the green grocer on the other side of the Market, and when my stomach growls, I go up to the bakery and get a giant multi-grain roll. Then I settle in and get to work.
The response to my blog, The View From the Market, has been fantastic. It’s now featured on the main web page for the Saint John City Market itself, and many of the local movers-and-shakers have shared the link with their Twitter followers. I’m pretty pleased with it; it’s turning out to be exactly what I had in mind — an informal combination of news and tidbits, that I’m really enjoying writing. In many ways, my using the blog to introduce people to the Market is paralleling the way the Market is introducing itself to me. I really can’t say enough about how much I am enjoying my time here. It’s exactly what I needed.
My biggest accomplishment since climbing the stairs for the first time is that I’ve finally finished the edges on all of my hooked projects. When I learned to hook two years ago, I just kept hooking, without binding any of the edges. For some reason, I found the prospect of finishing the edges to be daunting, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And then last fall, I told myself that I couldn’t hook another thing until I had actually finished the other projects completely.
Well, you know what happened. I stopped hooking.
A month or so ago, my friend Rosa and I sat down and figured out how to do it, and in the past two weeks here in my little studio, I have been binding edges like a madwoman. I just finished putting the last whipstitch in the Bloom rug and couldn’t wait to take a picture. (And yes, those are my red sneakers in there for scale. *grin*)
Okay, now wish me luck, because I’m about to tackle something brand-new: needle-felting. I fished a kit out of the bargain bin at WalMart about a year ago, and I’ve been bringing it with me, working up the courage to give it a shot.
Hopefully no fingers will be harmed in the making of this project.
Hello, Gentle Reader. I know that I’ve been very quiet this week, but it’s for a good reason.
I’ve been here.
This is my little temporary studio space in the Saint John City Market. Today is my fourth day here, and I am so happy. I’m settling into a routine now — Hubby drops me off on his way to work and I stay here all day until he picks me up at the end of the day. In between, I write, I draw, I hook, I talk with my “neighbours”… I am trying so hard to not get too attached to this place, but oh! I am bonding. It is my happy space and I am learning so much about myself up here.
This spot is also a people-watcher’s paradise. Young couples with quick smooches. Little girls in sundresses walking with their mothers. Chefs picking up fresh vegetables for their lunchtime creations. I feel like I’m invisible up here, with a commanding view that’s constantly changing.
I’m very conscious of the fact that this is my space for such a limited time, and that sense of urgency has been keeping me focused. I don’t want to miss any of these precious hours I have here. Nine hours seems like a long time when you say it out loud, but the time just slips away.
My project for the City Market is almost ready to take wing and fly. It will likely be this afternoon or tomorrow, actually. Stay tuned for more details!