Needle-Felted Wool Sculpture
Bombur is the third doll completed in our "Hobbit project". He is based on Stephen Hunter's portrayal of Tolkien's character, as seen in "The Hobbit" films by Peter Jackson. After making the Throin and Bilbo dolls, Elizabeth and I decided that it would be a fun idea to make all of the dwarves from Thorin's company in "The Hobbit" films. We are working on multiple dolls at one time, because a few of them are very intensive as far as leather work or embroidery (Elizabeth's department!). To keep things going ahead, we've got three dolls "in the works" at any given point. This gives Elizabeth time to work on the hand sewing and leather, while I'm felting on a different doll.
Bombur is a very round little fellow who stands 8-5/8" tall and weighs a whopping 4-1/4 ounces! This is the same weight as the Elrond doll (which is the largest felted doll at this time --- and covered in metal jewelry!). Bombur was felted with .40 gauge needles features a wide variety of wool. His body was made of Romney, which is an easy felting wool and provides a sturdy support for a doll of this size and weight. His boots and soles are made of Shetland Moorit (Ashland Bay) and covered with a thin brown leather (gathered along the top). Since there is not a lot of decoration on this dwarf, Elizabeth came up with the idea of covering his boots in leather. It worked very well and gives him a bit of variety. His little leg warmers are knitted from a silk-blend yarn in a basic stitch, which was the first knitting I've done in years! His pants are made of a carded mix of Gotland roving and a Border Leicester/Merino mix, while his hand mitts are made of pure Gotland. I really wanted to incorporate Gotland into some of these dolls, as that is the kind that was actually used for most of the woolen fabric in the LotR and Hobbit films. His shirt is a greenish-gold Border Leicester/Merino mix, and his vest is chocolate brown Corridale --- featuring all of the seams and panels as seen on the real costume. His suspenders are dark brown leather, with felted Zwartbles wool used for the pieces that attached the suspnders to the pants. Elizabeth made the shoulder bag from brown suede and braided cotton cord for the strap, with one strand of the braid matching the color of his shirt. Bombur's head and face are made of Cotswold roving, and his hair is Lt. Auburn "All Cooped Up" wool doll hair. Because of the size of Bombur's head and his braided beard, it took a complete three-foot length of the doll hair to finish the beard and mustache.
I think that the most challenging aspect of Bombur was the sheer size of his torso. Instead of constructing him in the usual manner, I had to continue felting torso-extension pieces --- and even stuffing certain areas before felting the roving to a solid, sturdy feeling. His head was a challenge, too, because of the double chin. This was a first for me --- and very fun! The mustache was also really fun!