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Inspiration Board : Jude's Arctic Tapestry

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In the upcoming September issue of Living a project I worked on closely with Martha is featured, a special mural/tapestry that Martha conceived and I executed for her first grandchild, Jude.  Martha has written about the tapestry, and we even did a small version on the TV show, but this is the first time getting to see it completed and installed in Jude's room. Since the September issue is already getting some press, I thought I would share photos from when I was working on the project.

Martha found the appliques pieces, called Caribou Hair Sculptings on a trip to Churchill, Canada to see the polar bears:

"When perusing the store called The Arctic Trading Post, which carries items made by fine native artists and artisans, I came across a collection of adorable little animals made out of caribou hides.  Studying these whimsical creatures, I instantly had a vision of a beautiful mural that would hang in my grandchild’s room."

The biggest challenge of the project was the size, since it was 138" long by 16" wide. Other then that is was a wonderful experience to work closely with Martha to make sure I translated her vision clearly.

 

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Martha and I met regularly over a four week period. She would check on the progress and have suggestions about the layout.

1 Martha and I met regularly over a four week period. She would check on the progress and have suggestions about the layout.

Since the length of the tapestry was 138

2 Since the length of the tapestry was 138" long by 16" high, I needed a lot of room to spread out.

When I started to layout the scene I worked with pieces of paper first to determine size and shape of the icebergs.

3 When I started to layout the scene I worked with pieces of paper first to determine size and shape of the icebergs.

There were lots of characters to create little vignettes with.

4 There were lots of characters to create little vignettes with.

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Some of the tools I had on hand at all times.

8 Some of the tools I had on hand at all times.

To create the final icebergs, I did needle felting, and here are some samples I did to show how it would look.

9 To create the final icebergs, I did needle felting, and here are some samples I did to show how it would look.

I also did samples for the tree, that Martha wanted to be sparse.

10 I also did samples for the tree, that Martha wanted to be sparse.

Scene closeup

11 Scene closeup

Scene closeup

12 Scene closeup

Scene closeup

13 Scene closeup

Scene closeup

14 Scene closeup

Scene closeup

15 Scene closeup

Placing wool roving to start to get an idea of the feel of the icebergs.

16 Placing wool roving to start to get an idea of the feel of the icebergs.

The white squiggles represent the the Northern Lights.

17 The white squiggles represent the the Northern Lights.

Martha asked to have a small lake cut out for the lone loon to sit in.

18 Martha asked to have a small lake cut out for the lone loon to sit in.

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The maple leaf is a nod to Canada where Martha bought the Caribou Hair Sculptings.

20 The maple leaf is a nod to Canada where Martha bought the Caribou Hair Sculptings.

A close up on the wolf Caribou Hair Sculptings. The hair is cut with small scissors to create the the detailing.

21 A close up on the wolf Caribou Hair Sculptings. The hair is cut with small scissors to create the the detailing.

Work in progress

22 Work in progress

Work in progress - I had photos for reference for the layout as well as images of icebergs set up so I could look at them easily while I worked.

23 Work in progress - I had photos for reference for the layout as well as images of icebergs set up so I could look at them easily while I worked.

One of the many foam blocks I had to work on while needle felting.

24 One of the many foam blocks I had to work on while needle felting.

Things piled up around me.

25 Things piled up around me.

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The felted icebergs start to take shape

27 The felted icebergs start to take shape

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Fishing hole.

29 Fishing hole.

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Once my work was done the piece was taken to be framed. The final stage was getting the piece more then 11 feet long into Alexis's apartment, which require it being hand carried up many flights of stairs. (Wish I had photos of that!) Once installed it became clear that Martha's vision was a perfect compliment to the room. Keep an eye out for the September issue to see the completed tapestry.

 

Comments (2)

  • What a lovely and daunting project, this such an inspiration to take on larger project.
    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • It's made of hair, not hides (fur), right? If it were fur, I don't think Martha or Alexis would like it.

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