Sunday, 1 April 2012

Project Dragonfly

That's the name I gave my commission during the design and construction processes!
 I can now reveal its story as hopefully it has been given to the intended recipients. 
My friend popped in one day when I was in the middle of rolling the fuchsia for my mum, shortly afterwards she asked if I would design and make a picture to celebrate the 40th Wedding anniversary  of her parents in April. Dragonflies are significant in their family  - and that was the request.
I had loads of ideas and some techniques I wanted to try, when I googled dragonflies imagine my surprise when there was one with ruby red eyes - perfect for the occasion!

I made a prototype:

which met with approval - especially when turned around!

So with a couple of additions (shiny wings which we tried... but decided against....) I began working on the final piece. I took photos at each stage to document the life  of the dragonfly. 
I will only include those of the third and final one - reproducing the original idea was trickier than I had anticipated - but I learned a lot along the way!

So here's the metamorphosis from:

a layer of white shetland...

a second layer of  fibre - hand painted shetland 'River' by Sara's Texture Crafts...
(it is at 90degrees to the first layer...)

and a final layer of  hand-dyed sea green shetland (Sara's Texture Crafts)

 Mohair strands and sari silk fibres were added to the final layer before wetting with soapy water and gently rubbing to form a background.

This is the light and airy bundle of fluff for the wings which  includes pink sari silk, hand-dyed silk tops and shiny angelina fibres. It became almost transparent when wet and required a few straws cut to size as markers for the design.

A needlefelted flower was one of the additions to the prototype - this one is made from yellow  and lemon shetland and some dyed silk fibres.

Continuing the felting process by rubbing gently under net....

...and rolling....

..wet felting completed..

a quick rinse in distilled vinegar to remove the soap..

...and a dunking in summer meadows fabric conditioner... to make it soft and smell nice..

before being hung on the line to dry in the spring sunshine!

Drip drip!

Having a quick stretch whilst drying!

Hanging systems in can see the fibres from the needlefelted body poking through...

Transformation complete:

The body is needlefelted with Fuchsia New Zealand Corriedale (Sara's Texture Crafts), mixed shetland pinks, dyed silk fibres and sari silk. Ruby eyes are red shetland and sari silk.

Both the prototype and final Dragonfly have new homes....

Thank you to my friend for the brilliant opportunity and for all her helpful positive comments, excitement, and enthusiasm!

Happy Anniversary to her Mum and Dad!


ThatFuzzyFeeling said...

It's absolutely gorgeous Ali! I love the zingy pink of the dragonfly against those cool and calming waters. I bet your friend's parents were thrilled with their felty gift! Great photos, too...Liz x

Melody said...

That came out great! Neat to see it step by step like that!! I love the photo at "eye level" of the dragon fly! Well done!! :)))))))

Tracey Todhunter said...

Ooh, that is beautiful. Well done for keeping the3 secret of your commission, and thanks for sharing it.

Linnhe Mara said...

That is awesome Ali. Thanks for sharing the process. You have waaaayyy more patience than I have, I wouldn't be able to contain myself with all that rolling and drying.