Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Day I Fed A Wolf...

 My birthday is in December, a rubbish time to have a birthday as it can get swallowed up by Christmas.  Plus people have to think about getting you two presents, which can prove difficult.  But last birthday Mr.B managed to give me one of the best presents ever - a day behind the scenes at the UK Wolf Conservancy.  The only trouble was, I had to wait until May!  But it was so worth it! 
 We got a tour of the place, all round the perimeter of the enclosures whilst having a very interesting talk by one of the volunteers.  The Arctic wolves were shedding - I got given a clump of this wolf's hair which is now a prized possession.
We got to have a go at telemetry, finding a radio collar in a large field.  We made enrichment 'toys' from scented straw & hessian sacks and gave them to the wolves.  We got to take photos through special holes in the wire that the general public do not have access to.  And we got to hand feed the wolves!  I volunteered to feed Nuka, the wolf I spent many hours painting a portrait of earlier this year.
It was a very special moment for me.

Sadly, this was probably the last time we will be visiting the wolves.  Since the escape of Torak, one of the older wolves, in the winter, the place has become too popular for it's own good and cannot handle the amount of visitors that turn up.  That, combined with the fact that the wolves are now getting quite old, they have decided to shut the doors to the public and give the wolves a peaceful retirement.  They will still continue their very worthy work towards conservation of wolves in the wild.

I'm just so happy we managed to get to see them close up and personal while we could.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby....

Hot off the drawing board, Derwent Drawing Pencils & Derwent Coloursoft Pencils on pastel paper.  Private commission.

Grandfather Clock..

I've been a bit quiet the past week - this is one of the reasons why!  This is a grandfather clock, about 18 inches tall, made from all sorts of bits and pieces covered in felt.
It took me quite a while to figure out how to make this.  Initially I thought to use card board boxes for the structure, but when it came down to it, I could not find any the right size plus they would be a bit flimsy if I cut them down.  However, i rarelythrow anything away that might come in handy in the future and stashed away I had a large piece of firm foam that had been the internal part of a tool box which was already semi-cut into small squares.  I also had some pieces of even firmer foam that had come as the packaging for something - can't remember what - which were ideal to use for the central section.  So I made three parts, the base, the hollow middle and the clock.
I appliqued some rather nice tweed and soome felt, embroidered with gold crochet thread.
I made the fancy bit for the top and the little piece for above the pendulum from foamboard and covered them in felt.  All the sections are held together with toothpicks in strategic places and then sewn firmly into place.
The pendulum is made from felt and stuffed, then embroidered with gold crochet thread.  It is suspended with a wire - the little scrolled piece hides where it is attached to the underside of the clock face.

The clock face is made from two pieces of card covered in felt.  I used some bought fake watch cogs and gears for the back part and embroidered the numbers on the face. The clock hands are made from an old ice cream carton and held in place with a tiny nut and bolt.  I sliced my finger open while making the hands - thank goodness I did not drip any blood onto a fortnight's work!  If there are any typos in this post, that is why as I have a large plaster on it!

You will have to wait and see what this is going to be used for...

 In the meantime, the garden is starting to look rather lovely.  Since the weather perked up, I have done an awful lot of work out there.
I re-turfed the 'lawn' - now it really is a lawn, not just a mud patch - and cut down/dug out a lot of old and unruly shrubs and the dying damson tree.  I replaced the tree with a young greengage tree I discovered going for a song at Lidls.  The old shrubs have been replaced by a vegetable patch.  Fingers crossed it all survives!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Velcro & 273

Just completed a lovely commission, the bear 273 with her cub Velcro who live in Katmai National Park, Alaska.  Velcro is now on his own and a lot larger than when this photo was taken!

Watercolour on paper, reference photo by kind permission of Carla Farris.