Needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald
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.”