Sorry about the radio silence, but after the Christmas rush and a month’s holiday I lost a bit of my creative drive. 😦 But now the days are getting longer (and sunnier) I can feel my mojo returning – last week I dyed my first indigo batch of the year.
During this down time I visited the Grant Museum of Zoology, a wonderful collection of skeletons, fossils and pickled specimens. Not surprisingly, I was enchanted by the samples of coral and also a python skeleton, as well as the micrarium – an imaginative display of microscope slides.
However, what got my brain cells whirring was an armadillo in the same case as the python skeleton. It was slightly tucked away behind another specimen (not good for photos), higher than my head height (also not good) and behind glass (worst of all). But the way the armour “bands” overlapped as the creature curled started me thinking about furling and unfurling – here’s an image of a three-banded armadillo so you can see what I mean. (I also love the texture!)
Sketching ideas on the bus on the way home I came up with the strategy of felting around a series of different sized resists and then inserting one inside the other before felting them together.
This is the result of my first experiment. There’s a stone in the bottom to keep it stable when vertical, but I felt that the individual scales were too elongated, and there was a gaping hole at the centre.
Experiment 2 was more successful, though the red spiral was probably overkill. The piece was not stable enough to stand vertically but I decided that probably didn’t matter (though I did start wondering about the best way to display it). I was happier with the shape, so decided to see what would happen if I added more scales.
Experiment 3 was not a success! I thought I would try a colour spectrum, but I didn’t really have enough shades of blue and I didn’t blend those I did have properly. (And the photo makes it look even worse!) Also, the scales were too far apart and didn’t overlap enough.
Finally, experiment 4 resulted in a piece I was happy with. By curling the free end, I think it would be possible to use that to hang it from a hook.
Still more experiments to do with varying the shape of the resists – I think the free end could be shorter and pointier. And it’s definitely more vegetal than armadillo!