Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hollyhocks and Beatrix

 Hollyhocks
Nothing says "country garden" like the old fashioned Hollyhock. Watching these wonderful plants beginning to bloom in my gardens thrills me to bits! I planted seeds last year and watched the little plants slowly taking hold; they actually stayed green over the winter and continued to grow.
  Dwarf Hollies have been blooming all week long.
 And the full size Hollies are just beginning to open.

Beatrix
 I've been thinking about this girl for quite a long time.
I have made small, simple versions of sheep, but this one needed to be distinctive and exceptional to represent  Beatrix, my 12 yr. old Shropshire sheep that I lost last year.

  I could see her in my minds eye with her gentle full face, very wide nose, soft dark eyes and a perpetual smile on her face...
 

I look at this  face, and I do see Beatrix.

 I wanted her to be on the large size, and chose to use a full body armature that would make her close to 16 inches tall.
 She looks like an alien in this picture...
 .
 I wrapped and wrapped her body and limbs with wool shorn from Sophia,  and then covered that wool with core wool.
  All the while, the wool needed to be needle-felted into place.
It  required SO much wool to get her some bulk, but eventually, she was built up enough that I could begin to use the good wool to create her top coat. I carded White Alpaca with Merino wool together to make a beautiful pearly white
 My real Beatrix was never this clean.

She smiled at me the whole time I was poking her with the needle...my Beatrix was never that good-natured.
It was difficult to felt with the armature underneath, I kept hitting the surface with my needles and had to poke the wool sideways.The next time I make one of these, I will use a different kind of armature.


I worked on her for many days, trying to build her up...



She still looks quite skinny for a sheep, but we had a solution to that problem...
Have you ever seen a sheep AFTER it's been shorn?
They are VERY slender...
.
Such a special lady needed a fine bonnet, and I am a milliner to little creatures
 
I love making hats
and frocks for country ladies..

She also needed Hooves; for walking the meadows and villages, one needs good footwear.

I made an extra set, just in case.
 Dried, sanded, polished and applied!
 We tried several baskets before deciding that this soft meshy one would be lightest for travel, and still hold a lot of wool. 

  The red felt bonnet was just the right color to set off her features to best advantage
The antique millinery flowers are of a soft flock-like material.

 Her calico bodice with antique pearl buttons... to match her pearly wool.

Her Shears..... now you know why she is so slender...





I'll take 8 oz of wool please.
I think I love her....

34 comments:

  1. Jeri!!!!
    What a sweet pleasure to see Miss Beatrix smile with a sparkle in her eye and take shape!! I enjoyed so much seeing her come to "be" with your artful hands and creative force!!
    Seeing this makes me joyful :-)
    xx oo Linnie

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    1. Linnie, it took about 5 days to finish her, but she turned out just as I imagined her.

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  2. Beatrix is just beautiful----love that hat! Will you sell her or keep her as a remembrance of good times past?

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    1. Hi Vic, I was making her to take to a doll show, but I'm not too sure that I can part with her. I will probably take orders for her. Of course, each one will be an original, you can never duplicate the look exactly.

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  3. Replies
    1. Hey Bev, thanks! I know you have a special heart for sheep as well.

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  4. You have done well in creating another Beatrix! What a lovely, lovely creature. And how wonderfully she is dress. I love her bonnet with all the creative stitching!

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    1. Chip B. I think she would be just as happy dressed in some of your fantastic outfits... You must love making small clothing as much as I do.

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  5. HOLY SMOKES, you've struck again. You and Penny are the only two artists I know who can take a drawing our a real object and sculpt a VERY reasonable facsimile! This is PERFECTION. Jeri Landers, are ya havin' a fun summer? I can see that you are! ME TOO! Goodness, the garden sings, doesn't it?

    Beatrix is a delight. Love all of your tidy notion containers, the little dish with buttons. How my mum adored making things and keeping everything so neat. NOT ME! She would scream if she saw my sewing attempts! She would also have loved all your detail on making these animals come to life.

    CARRY ON!

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    1. Anita, having a good start to summer for sure!
      I am not really so tidy, only when it comes to sewing notions, I like arranging them artistically....

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  6. You astound me! That is the most charming sheep I've ever seen. I actually liked seeing the armature that you use to begin with. It is such an interesting process that takes you to the finished product. Beatrix is wonderful! -Jenn

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    1. Jenn, The neat thing about that armature is she can be put in any position. I thought of seating her in a twig chair with a bit of embroidery in her lap. I do believe I will make another sheep doing just that!

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  7. I love her too and the story of how she has come to be. You are so talented dear Jerri. Beatrix is one sweet lady and so are you.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, The real Beatrix was also a sweet lady, until it was time to shear her... Oh how she hated that!

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  8. Beatrice turned out perfectly. Where did you find an armature like that? A lot of work/play went into her. I have some giant hollyhocks growing from the previous owner and guess what color. The flowers are nearly black. Not a color I would have picked. Can't believe you planted them from seed. I still have a few plats of seeds I'm waiting to poke in the few places I can find to plant.

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    1. Donna, I purchase that armature from a teddy bear supply co online, it's pricey and I often just use wire instead.
      I couldn't believe those Hollyhocks came up! It's one of those so called easy to grow flowers that usually never grows from seed for me. This year I planted more in one of those little plastic greenhouses and so far so good. Black Hollyhocks are fantastic!

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  9. oh wow! she is just perfect and beautiful!

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    1. I think I should make a friend for her...

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  10. I think I love her too..... :)))))))))))))))))))

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    1. Melody, Because You are an animal lover too!

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  11. Dear Jeri - I know I love her too. She is absolutely adorable. I have some of those hollyhocks bloom in my summer garden as well. The perfect flower to make one stop and take a look. Have a great weekend. Hugs!

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    1. Debbie, There is something so sweet about those Hollyhocks, it is a flower from childhood you never forget. I would walk to school at 7yrs of age, along a sidewalk whose fence line had towering Hollyhocks and Larkspur all along the way. They are so old-fashioned, with the papery delicate but large blooms... love those!

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  12. oh my gosh! i think I lover her too. and her clothes!!! please make me an outfit. and a bonnet. grown up size please :)

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    1. um...that should read "love her"

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    2. Starr, I would like to dress like her too! I have a pattern for a Victorian bodice which I am making for myself.

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  13. My Hollyhocks did not reappear this year. I love your Miss Beatrix!

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    1. Cathy, I know the are biennials, but they should have dropped seeds. I wonder if you have little seedlings sprouting around the mother plant?

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  14. Hello dear friend!

    I have been away for so long, I am sure I have missed much. I have been spending as much time with family as I am able, and of course Miss Lily too.
    What a joy it is to see that you have created dear Beatrix. I love her smile, and it must have been a pure joy to see her come to life, smiling all the while. I just adore her bonnet and outfit you have fashioned for her. I have not used this type of armature as yet, but would love to give it a try. I do understand hitting the armature with the needle, as I have done this myself. It must have been a challenge to needle felt, but well worth it when you see the beautiful results. And the hooves! What a great medium to use.. Don't you just love paper clay?
    Love your Hollyhocks. That is one flower I have never grown.. They are such a happy flower.
    Wishing you a beautiful week!



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    1. Penny, I am glad you are spending lots of time with little Lily, she is growing so fast you don't want to miss a minute of it.
      This armature is just great for a fully pose-able figure! I can put Beatrix in any position, even sitting down with crossed legs. I like the paper clay in that it requires no heat to dry, but I prefer sculpting with real clay or sculpy. The paper clay gets dry so quickly and cracks while I'm sculpting it, then I have to water it and fix the cracks!

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  15. Jeri,
    A handy hint about paper clay. When I sculpt with it I lay a damp paper towel over it between sittings. This allows the inside to dry without the surface cracking. I also make a slurry off and on throughout the process. This keeps it from cracking.
    I don't know if you have ever used Cernit polymer clay, but it is one of my favorites. The final result is a amazing. Looks like porcelain. It is a very soft clay and can be more of a challenge to work with, but I love it.
    I call it my Winter clay. You can order it from Kemper Doll supply.

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    1. Thanks Penny, i like the idea of the slurry at hand, I should have thought of that. I will try the Cernit next time I need a clay "body part"!

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  16. The charming animals that you create are such a joy to see.
    Lovely end of spring to you!

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