Monday, May 9, 2011

Making of a Felt Bonsai Tree: Part 1

I have a show coming up in July and I really wanted to focus on my felt work. I have decided to create a series of felt Bonsai trees. I like the idea that these trees are static and will never change, unlike the art of Bonsai which is all about growth and trimming and training the tree over years and decades. Instead, I am hoping to "grow" my Bonsai tree in about a week.

I had to start the project by finding a perfect Bonsai pot and a perfect rock to fit in the pot to help weight the piece.
This one from my garden fits just right.

Next, I started to wire up the tree armature with steel wire.

I followed my drawing pretty closely. It makes it easier to focus on the process if I am already firmly settled in a design. I keep trying to integrate some of those green rocks into it, but I am not sure it is going to work.

I am using poly fiber fill as the base to my wool felting. I had to poke thousands of pokes to compress the fiber fill around the rock to create the base. Some artists like to use foam and cut away the form; I like the additive process.

It probably took me about 4 hours to get to this point in the project.
I have had the most fun forming the root system for my tree.

I am dulling the needles fairly quickly because I keep poking the wire as I felt.

I really liked how the tree looked when it was white but playing with color really brings the object to life.

I put black underneath the green to give it a little more depth. I am going to add rocks and other items to the base after I finish the tree itself and see what it needs to bring it all together. Maybe a little Amanita Muscaria---one of those red mushrooms with white polka dots. I am still playing with color on the trunk. I couldn't find a good brown in wool and so I am mingling in some Llama hair but it is tricky to felt with because it is so slick.
I am going to try and spend most of today and tomorrow finishing it. Part 2 coming soon!