pure wool roving
The Wool Shed at Topsy Farms was visited by a life-sized, needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald.
He is an amazingly realistic, life-sized, well-dressed sculpture, who rides in the front passenger seat of a car, or in an antique ‘push-chair’.
He ‘lives’, much of the time, clutching an empty glass, awaiting his next refill.
This needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald was made entirely of wool.
The sculpture of ‘the Father of Confederation’ was made by Gesina Laird-Buchanan on the 200th anniversary of his birth, for an International Bridge Tournament in Kingston.
Gesina said “it took 8 small fleeces to create him”. Some days I felt so obsessed, I worked on him non-stop from 8 am until after midnight.”
Gesina is an experienced sculptor in clay (see http://studiogesina.weebly.com/). Working with wool was new to her, but she learned fast, finding many similarities to clay sculpting.
She said “I started with his head and face. If I couldn’t succeed in finding his true likeness, there was no point in working on his body”.
Peeking boldly under his cuffs and under his pant leg, one finds felted wool everywhere.
He graciously (well, grumpily) agreed to let go of his glass for a few minutes to hold a great armful of washed and carded wool or ‘roving’ in the Topsy Farms Wool Shed, demonstrating the medium from which he was built. We didn’t ask him to hold felting needles, thinking he might be sensitive on that point.
Creator Gesina purchased a giant bag or two of roving wool from Topsy in anticipation of her next project.
Topsy Farms has a huge range of needle felting supplies: 4 natural and 20 colours of washed and carded wool roving, beginner needle felting kits and hundreds of felting needles, available here: http://store.topsyfarms.com/product-category/craft-supplies/.
Sir John’s hands have a wire armature, so adjust readily. He was glad to let go of the wool armfuls, and to again clutch his empty glass.
Gesina says “at home, he prefers to sit near the fireplace – it is also rather near the liquor cabinet.”
3 1/2 inches of rain this morning – over 2 inches in an hour. The photos show Ian bailing water out of the Wool Shed entrance. (Click on the photos for larger versions.)
Nothing was ruined in the Wool Shed, but it was a bit close.
I was in the Shed with 2 visitors when the deluge ratcheted up. One woman kindly used a broom, sweeping at the rain hard after we failed to block the doorway with a garbage bag. (The other lady was happily trying on stuff and drawing my attention in a second direction.) Ian was sound asleep, getting over the previous day’s exhaustion. I hoofed to the house though the wet. The water was up to my ankles in the vestibule and dribbling past the barrier of mat etc I’d tried to construct into the main display area. I shrieked upstairs for him, grabbed the missing credit card machine and waded back. (Wool is warm when wet).
The building was constructed just after the turn of the century as an Ice House/Milk House, and is downhill from the laneway. We’ve tried to install adequate buried O pipe drainage, but it blocks. The building is way too low.
Ian brought the mop and pail then grabbed the containers of lamb towels he’d laundered and carefully stored in the barn. We shooed out the visitors with proper thanks, and he bailed in the vestibule while I got up everything I could from the floor level, and mopped overflow with towels. The water was just creeping across the main floor into the storage area for yarn.
Pretty exciting. By that time, my home care helper was waiting for me and thank goodness the rain was starting to slacken. After mopping the floor, I was bold enough to return with the camera to grab the shots before heading in.
In the spring of 2009, Sherri (an avid knitter) came to see us just after the lambs were born and took some photos of her visit. Her Topsy Farms flickr album can be found here.
Our pure wool yarn is soap-washed only to retain lanolin and to avoid chemicals. It is available at the Wool Shed, our at home store, or on-line. We also have fleeces, roving both natural and coloured, cheeses of pencil roving and knitted wool items for sale. Come visit, on line or in person, and take a look.