You know the sort of thing.... you see a 'how to' tutorial on Pinterest and think...
"Blimey I could do that! It looks so EASY! In fact I can think of a few tweaks right now which would make it even better!"
Then you have a go yourself and proudly post the results.
Now, I've never been one to mock other peoples attempts at trying something for the first time.
Laugh myself silly... yes. Mock....definitely not!
We all have to start somewhere and there's no such thing as being ace at any craft right from the get-go.
So when I signed up to do a local needle felting class recently, it was more in hope than expectation that I would end up with anything remotely resembling a dog brooch.
Or, to be more precise, a Small Dog brooch.
It wasn't a beginner's class, but hey... I'm a craft artisan. I can do stuff. Right? Surely I could pick up the basics on my own first?
I'm sure the tutor had her reservations, as I'd never picked up a felting needle before, but I begged and she relented. That was several weeks ago and I was supremely confident that I would swiftly progress through the basics with the help of Pinterest tutorials and You Tube videos.
After all.... other people had clearly managed to do the same.
Anyway, I found a really easy teddy bear video. This is what I was trying to achieve.
Apparently, according to the tutor, really, REALLY easy. Two spheres and four cylinder shapes, plus 2 flat semicircles.
This is my attempt.....
|Like.... TOTALLY nailed it!|
When I showed it to PP she started laughing too then the laughter turned to tears-rolling- down-my-face hysteria. It was some time before solemnity returned, with the stark realisation that I was soon to take part in a needle felting class and I was entirely likely to completely embarrass myself.
The class was held this morning and I arrived at the house with a sense of trepidation. It's not often I'm on student's side of the table and I felt a tad nervous. Also it rapidly became apparent that the other four students had attended several classes before, so they all knew what they were doing.
No pressure then.
The class was run by Valerie May, a lovely lady who instantly put me at ease with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Her gorgeous Bouvier dog, Evie, gave me an encouraging nudge and we all took our seats at the table, already laid out with examples of what we would (hopefully!) be making, and a lovely goodie bag for each of us.
Over the course of the session, Valerie patiently led us through all the steps to make a 2-dimensional dog of our choice, to be mounted on a brooch pin. The more experienced felters quickly romped ahead while I plodded valiantly on, hoping against hope that I wouldn't stab myself, or be first to break my needle.
Unbelievably I did neither, although two others required Band-Aids and there were several snapped needles. I'm sure that as confidence increases, flesh wounds are more likely. I was extremely careful with the viciously pointed, barbed needle but as a result I was much, much slower.
I had optimistically taken along a few photos of Small Dog to act as a reference.
|"I want to make one like this....."|
To their credit, not a single person raised their eyebrows or tittered at my ambition.
Now.... I know that you are all absolutely desperate to see what I made but before I do, I have to point out that I didn't have time to add the brooch on the back, so this is just the basic dog.
So without further ado.... I give you.....
It is indisputably a dog, therefore I win.
At the end of the class, Valerie very generously gave us each an extra dog kit, plus we were able to choose another 6 different wool bundles. So when I got home, flushed with success, I immediately set about making another, smaller Small Dog.
Still far from perfect but a big improvement on my first attempt. She's got a little leather collar and I even managed to make little back paws.
It will be some time before I can manage a proper 3-dimensional Small Dog, but I'm inspired to give it a go.
If you're relatively local to Hastings I'd thoroughly recommend Valerie's workshops. She's informative, unflappable, patient and encouraging... all the elements of a good tutor.
You will find her website HERE
I'm also inspired by her wonderful faux taxidermy and am wondering just how small it's possible to go.... 1/12th scale doll's house faux taxidermy perhaps?
Predictably, Small Dog was less than impressed by my creation, although she did subject me to a very thorough 'Stop and Sniff' interrogation when I got home, accusing me (rightly) of consorting with other dogs.