Sunday, December 29, 2013

Needle Felted Ornaments

I threw these together very quickly, mainly on Christmas Eve, as my mother had decided it would be nice to hang little ornaments in the glasses of all the female family members at Christmas lunch. After my mad rush to get them finished she then forgot to do so, which was a bit annoying, but we ended up hanging them off some presents for some young girls we know, so it was all good. 

I did four designs, and they took roughly an hour each, so they're all a bit wonky. I embellished them with small beads so that they would have a bit of sparkle.

Here's a closer look. They're not the best photos, I took them at 2am as I wasn't expecting them to stay in the house long enough for me to take better ones, and wanted to document what I had done. =P 



Plum Pudding:


I used a darning needle and brute force to thread ribbon through the top so they can be hung on a tree. 

Merino and Corridale Wool with #32, #36 and #38 felting needles, glass and plastic beads and satin ribbon. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cockatoo Christmas Cards

I hope everyone had a happy Christmas and is looking forward to the new year!

Here is the third set of Christmas cards I did this year – I would have posted them before Christmas, but just didn't have the time!

For this set it was requested that I include a Carnaby's Cockatoo and Australian christmas tree (Nuytsia floribunda) to represent the parkland next door to the clients, and after a bit of discussion we decided on a style emulating Australian woodcut artist Margaret Preston. She tended to do landscapes and flowers, not birds, so I had to improvise a bit:

Here's a closer look at the cockatoo:

As we were getting them printed by I did two slightly different cards – the same image, but a different coloured banner and different text – to take advantage of the printfinity system. 
The printing turned out beautifully:

I didn't do an actual woodcut, as I'm not set up for that (I do have some lino cutting tools lurking somewhere, but nothing else, carving out designs gives me a sore wrist =P) so I did it digitally, making sure to distress my linework to give the impression of a slightly less than perfect print transfer. 

Adobe Photoshop CC with a Wacom Intuos 3.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Doggy Christmas Cards

Here are some Christmas cards I did for some friends, showing their new dog Ester, who is a finnish lapphund. I'm told lots of people were impressed – first by their finding a card with a dog that looked exactly like Ester, but then by having personalised cards, so I'm glad they went down well!

I had reference photos to work from, which I tweaked to suit the two concepts. Ester loves to dig, so a digging card seemed fitting, and her name means 'star', so I chose to do a star headpiece instead of the more usual (and overdone) Father Christmas hat. 

We got them printed at, and they came out very nicely as usual, with nice rich colours.  

I did the linework and a bit of the colouring in Manga Studio 5, the text in Adobe Illustrator CC, and the rest of the colouring and the final touches in Adobe Photoshop CC – with a Wacom Intuos 3.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013 Christmas Cards

Here are our Christmas cards for this year. 

When I asked my mother what theme I should use, she decided she wanted a more traditional, religious set of cards with rich jewel colours, so I obliged, first with the Magi:

And then with Mary and baby Jesus:

We got them printed at, who always do a fabulous job (though it was very annoying that their 25% off Christmas Sale started just two days after I had decided that I just couldn't wait any longer before ordering, needing to have them delivered here in Australia with still enough time to emboss them, write in them, and send them off to their final destinations before Christmas. >.<) and they look lovely - lovelier than these photos show. Gold envelopes were too good to pass up for these designs, I think. 

My mother likes our cards to be fiddly and full of layers and glitter and the like – to reconcile her to slightly more costly (but far less time-consuming for me) FLAT printed cards I promised to add some gold embossing to them. I've always glittered the cards we've had printed on photo paper as heat-guns bubble the paper.

I used Ranger Perfect Medium pens and heat-set gold embossing tinsel. The Perfect Medium pens work beautifully on Moo cards – I bought them to use on the Tulip Wedding Invitations but they soaked in to the high resolution paper I was using far too fast to be of any use, but here they were just perfect. 

The colour of the embossing powder matches the envelopes surprisingly well:

I wanted to avoid the more tacky side of religious painting, the type you get in pamphlets and the Maxwell Bible Story collection, for example. That style has never appealed to me. I initially thought that I would do a fake paper-cut style, but eventually changed my mind and went for my coloured-linework-and-lasso-colouring style that I have used previously, this time with the addition of lots of textures (mainly from cg textures, especially their patterned tiles, but I made the sky myself). 

I started with a very rough thumbnail sketch, posed some mannequins in Manga Studio and then used those as a rough base when drawing my draft linework in pencil, then took it into Photoshop for the final linework and colour. 

As I like costume I made each magi distinct – Melchior (Persian) at the back, Balthazar (Arabian) in the middle and Caspar (Indian) in front. I took a fair bit of artistic license, especially as at that time India was under Persian rule, so there was no reason why Caspar should be Indian and *no* reason for that costume. As well as internet research I heavily referenced Jourmana Medlej's Guide to Human Types, and my copy of A Pictorial History of Costume. I was inspired by Kay Nielsen, too. 

For the nativity scene I didn't want a sombre bleeding-heart design, and chose to have a more Levantine Mary instead of the standard blonde-haired European image. About halfway through, to fix my composition, I decided to add a lamb for extra symbolism, to solidify the 'stable' idea, and because our surname is Mutton.  

Possibly Mary should not have such rich clothing, but who is to say the Magi didn't bring her a present as well? 

Adobe Photoshop CC with a Wacom Intuos 3.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Felting: Poinsettia Fascinator

My mother had to have a Christmas fascinator for a party, so I put this together (thus saving the inevitable last minute panic =P). I could have gone the rout of kitschy and huge, but instead I decided to go for elegant and understated – this way it can be used again, maybe to decorate some of my duller hats. I didn't particularly feel like spending hours on a one-use item. My mother is not the sort of person who would feel comfortable in a foot-tall monstrosity, anyway. I could have added a veil, but I know it would have driven her insane all evening. =P 

I used commercial flat felt for the individual leaves and petals, and needle felted the details into them, along with the central yellow pollen. Mostly it's stitched together, with a bit of needle felting thrown in, and I added a few details with plastic gold beads and loops of rayon cord. It's held on with black hat elastic, as I didn't have a fascinator clip to hand. 
I was inspired by the 1920s, especially as the latest season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries has just finished airing here – I covet pretty much every hat she has. =P 

It took three hours, while watching tv. I could have spent longer, but decided it was good enough.
Photo taken by my father.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...