So last Saturday I was puttering around, stitching a couple of dresses, working on a little painting project, completely avoiding housework; you know, the ushe. It was then I suddenly realized that V-Day was rapidly approaching and I needed a new dress for the occasion. I immediately thought of the artist Jim Dine and was inspired to needle felt a dress dedicated to him! So I promptly set about googling Jim Dine's hearts and found this lovely:
I loved it straight away mostly cuz it looked so art teacher-y. Splatters, splats and splashes of color? Say no more, Dine. You had me at splatter (wait, that don't sound right.)
And here's my tribute. I was excited to use some new gold tinsel-y stuff I'd picked up at a fibers shop. I used it in place of the black outline seen in Dine's heart.
Now, like I said, I got this idea on a Saturday and didn't actually start until late that night. Since time was limited, I knew I couldn't spend forever on this here project. So just one heart was to go in the center of this lil thrifted number.
Whenever I start my felted numbers, I always sketch in chalk. It's the perfect thang because you can just wipe it off with the sleeve of your sweater (ahem. You should see my yellow-y sweater sleeves). And, don't forget, you can needle felt on just about any surface. I've worked on wool, jersey knit and whatever this dress is. Sweatshirt? I dunno. It's needle felt-able.
I started by placing my needle felting cushion inside the dress and shaping the heart before I commenced stabbing it. If you've no clue how needle felting works, friend, don't you sweat it. I've got you covered. You can watch these super vintage vid clips where I annoyingly explain the process. My apologies in advance.
After the white background was complete, the layers of colors were added. I stared with the biggest and lightest swathes of color first.
Then layered smaller and brighter colors on top of that. The gold tinsel was a weird thing to needle felt cuz it wasn't as cooperative as wool.
And that was pretty much it. Three episodes of Project Runway All-Stars and I was el finito.
And ready to introduce my students to Jim Dine and needle felting! I hinted that I introduced our new heart-themed mural with an artist and that was, of course, Mr. Dine. I created this prezi for the kids that you are welcome to borrow and change to your liking. I'm really digging Dine's drawings of tools and totally using that theme in a drawing unit. Have any of y'all done that?
When I introduced my fourth graders to needle felting, they really loved seeing my dress and knowing that I'd used the same technique. For this fourth grade project, I had enough needle felting tools, roving and a foam cushion for each student. They really enjoyed this process and proved that they could handle using a super sharp tool with only a little blood and finger poking.
So sweet, right? You can read more about the "Our School has Heart" mural here.
Until next time, I do hope you and your 50 Shades of Awkward Teddy Bear have a super heart-filled Valentine's Day! xox!