I don’t know what it is about me and felt birds, remember the Curlew Diaries?, but I now have two more felt birds to make. This time it’s a commission to produce a pair of birds, Marsh Harriers to be exact. They’ll be used as educational aids and I need to ensure they’re the right colourations for the male and female Marsh Harriers. Fortunately they’re not full size, they’re about 1/3 actual size with a wingspan of 14″ (35cm). During the breading season the Marsh Harriers perform an aerial dance and the felt birds I make will be attached to gloves so that the dance can be replicated.
It’s a different technique to felting around a mould as these birds will be solid wool throughout. Some years ago I made a white fantasy bird i.e. it doesn’t look like a specific breed, by wet modelling the fibres. Beside it you can see my first attempt at a Masrh Harrier.
There’s quite a lot wrong with the prototype but the angle of the wings and overall size is quite good. The more observant amongst you will have noticed that the bird is black and Marsh Harriers are not. I made it in black because it allowed me to focus on technique and enables me to see the shape without being distracted by colouration. It was also a good way of practising wet modelling.
One of my concerns over the finished birds is how strong the wings will be. They will need to retain the wing shape in flight and not go droopy. The prototype has poven that the wings will need reinforcement in the form of a hidden wire. The next step is to make a second model wired and with some colour and I’ll show you the results here.