Portugal produces about half the cork harvested annually in the world. So it’s not surprising that I came across field after field of strange looking trees while visiting this summer. I thought maybe Tim Burton had a hand in this, but it turns out these were cork oak trees whose trunks had been stripped of bark…which is the cork. It’s harvested every nine years giving it enough time to grow a new layer, and continues for about 125 years, the life of your average cork oak tree!
While cork has many uses, keeping our wine bottles happily sealed is what it’s best known for. So what to do with all th0se corks? Make hairy little people of course.
These felt balls were a lot of fun to make and became somewhat addictive. Colour combinations and pattern ideas are endless, so you can imagine how difficult it is to stop yourself unless you finally run out of wool, or simply can’t stand having prune fingers a minute longer.
Filed under felt, Felt Balls
It was after seeing the rather tragic and touching film, Seraphine, that I was inspired to try my hand at making natural dyes. The film is a true story about the self-taught French artist Seraphine Louis who lived in poverty, working as a housekeeper by day and painting by night. Her work was accidentally discovered by a German art collector, and through his support, she received some level of success as a naive painter until madness seemed to take over, with Séraphine ending her days in an asylum. She made all of her pigments using a variety of available ingredients including clay and animal blood. While she required pigments for her paintings, we’ll keep it simple, bloodless, and safe for kids by making some dyes to colour wool batting or wool roving. This will in turn be used to make some really neat felt balls in my next post.