Monday, October 25, 2010
wet days...and an elk!
it's rapidly turning into november around here. i don't mean this just by what it says on the calendar, but also by what mother nature is throwing at us outside. i'll be honest and say that november is my least favourite month of the year. i enjoy the wild southeaster storms that blow through here much of the darker half of the year, and enjoying rainy days go with the territory of living on vancouver island. but there's something about november that seems to signal 30 straight days of gloom, with nary a spot of blue sky to be seen. i'm sure this isn't actually the case, but it does have a bit of reputation. today is certainly one of those days, despite it still saying october in the date book.
november's seemingly grey days may seem even more intolerable as they are the shoulder days in between seasons. the snow is only starting to appear intermittently on the mountain tops, and the ski hill won't open until mid december. with few breaks in the rain, and increasingly shorter periods of daylight, there is little chance to venture outside and explore by foot or bike through the mud. this is when my general nature to be a hermit seems encouraged by the elements outside.
but (and a cute butt, see above), i am not the only one finding shelter for the winter. the roosevelt elk of the island tend to migrate into the forested lowlands at this time of year, to escape the coming snow and forage for food where greenery can still be found. and so i decided to make this little guy (although he might be happier in a cozy home than in the wet forest!).
this roosevelt elk is hand stitched from some donegal tweed from a reclaimed garment, with an underside of washing linen. i stuffed him with local raw wool, and then embellished him with silk noile bum (gotta love the white rear ends of elk), and cotton fleece to give him his thick neck ruff. his head is topped off with some antlers constructed from silk shantung. can we all just agree that antlers are a big pain? this is not to say they aren't interesting to make, and i'm happy with the result, but working with those little pieces definitely tests my dexterity (and my patience). i'm learning a lot more with each animal i make, about hand stitching, about body construction and materials, and an even greater appreciation for the creatures that surround me on this island.
he's in the Fog and Swell shop now.
as a footnote - and i'm not sure if i've already mentioned it before - but in my goal for reusing materials i've been given a great source for scraps of high end fabrics. years ago when my sister had her wedding dress made by a dressmaker, she discovered the woman had endless piles of scraps from the dresses and garments she made. all these little pieces of silk, satin, lace, cotton, linen and so on had no use for her. and so every once in a while my sister brings me a bag of scraps to pore through, and salvage little treasured pieces to use. i'm so happy to make use of these little pieces here and there, and you can see above that some of these pieces were used in the elk's antlers.