Monday, April 16, 2012

Making felt wee folk

Ella has been feeling under the weather for the last few days. On Saturday she was lethargic and grumpy, yesterday she was feverish and sleepy, and this morning her chest rattled when she coughed. She said she felt fine to go to school (she so loves school) but I knew she wasn't fine; besides the cough, my little girl had lost her sparkle.

So she stayed home today and after her brother and dad left for school and work respectively, I got her settled on the couch, gave her a chest massage with some essential oils (marjoram, bergamot, lavender and geranium -- more a relaxing blend than the immuno-stimulant one she gets a bedtime) and set her up with some books, promising that once I'd finished my chores and must-do work, we'd spend some time together.

I gave her the choice of three activities: work on some Brownie badges, do some baking or start a new art project. She chose art.

This was hardly surprising as Ella is rarely without a pencil, crayon or marker in her hand. She is constantly drawing, writing and creating and when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, the answer is the same as it was when she was two-years-old -- an artist. (Though sometimes she adds teacher-gardener-mother-rock star as a secondary career.)

Ella was so upset about missing school that I wanted to do something special with her. I thought we'd try an art project that's been on my mind for months and months now -- making my fairy lover her first felt wee folk from fibre artist Salley Mavor's book.

(If you haven't already discovered her work through her books or her blog , Mavor is a fibre artist who creates the most incredible, beautiful 3-D storyboards populated by whimsical felt wee folk.)

While the making of the wee folk requires the skill, care and patience of big hands (but not too much skill, and the instructions were very good), Ella was quite happy to sit with me and make the important decisions about which pipecleaners we'd use for the body, what colours of embroidery floss we'd use to wrap the legs and arms, and of course answer the big design questions as to which petals we'd use for her skirt, what felt we'd use for the tunic and would she have blond, brunette or rose-coloured hair?

In a busy life of bills, farm chores and must-dos, I still find it hard to make time to do art without it feeling like some kind of indulgence. And yet when I do make time, I realize how much I miss it. We are all artistic beings and nurturing our creativity, in whatever form, makes us whole.

It also helps little (and big) girls find their sparkle again.


Mama Pea said...

A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! I love your sentence, "We are all artistic beings and nurturing our creativity, in whatever form, makes us whole." Like so many other women, I've struggled with this since as a child I was told I was "wasting time" when working with my hands to create. You taking time to create with Ella will give her a very different feeling about her art, capabilities and self. Kudos to you, Mom. What better use of your time than the true nurturing of your child. said...

Thanks, Mama Pea, for your comments and your kind words. We're planning on creating an entire family! They are super cute. I know this kind of work is important because when I'm doing it, time stands still. The busyness recedes, even just for a while, and I can truly just be in the moment. I struggle to model this for Ella because too often I make our creative moments "when I have time." It feels so good when I just MAKE time...

Erin said...

Those are very cute! I agree with Mama Pea, handwork teaches attention to detail, creativity and tons of patience among so many other skills! I was a Brownie, too :)

MaineCelt said...

Thank you for taking the time to create with your daughter--and for showing her, in spite of your own inner discord, that creative, artistic play matters just as much as all the sensible, practical tasks of the day.

I've had a wonderful time with Mavor's book, too... Wee felt folk are perfect projects to tuck into my bag before meetings and I find the materials far more affordable than those needed for knitting.

(Hop over to my blog and check out my St. Patrick's Day post to see my most recent creation!) said...

@ Erin -- thanks! You're so right, and it's such a fun way to learn!

@MaineCelt -- I love, LOVE your St. Patrick's Day wise tiny creature -- he is beautiful! The tunic detailing is just lovely. I was in a bit of a rush when I made this wee garden folk so her tunic is quite plain, but I'm inspired by Mavor's beautiful needlework designs. Thanks for sharing yours!

karmacoy said...

This is adorable! And Coyote made something similar at girl guide camp last year!! Is Ella going to camp this summer? I think C and I will be going with her group!

Love this post Fi!!

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