Needle-Felted Wool Sculpture
Written and Posted by Sarah
A very rare pair of Meissen figurines were the inspiration for this pair of Fogleberry needle-felted dolls. The figures are part of a set that is the key to the mystery in The Affair at the Victory Ball --- one of the first episodes in the Agatha Christie's Poirot TV show starring David Suchet. The set used features six of the most famous characters from the Commedia dell'arte.
These dolls are based on Pierrot and Pierrette --- the characters who have inspired a lot of well-known clowns and ballerinas. In the TV show, the costumes from the figurines are made into real-life costumes for some of the actors. Those costumes aren't exact replicas from the figurines, though, so these dolls are patterned after both.
Elizabeth and I have admired the set of figurines for years and have tried to figure out a way to make dolls of them. We really wanted to make a set of Minikins, but we couldn't come up with a good way to capture the details of the costumes. Then, I learned how to needle-felt. Wow! Perfect. This technique was really the way to go. It was the masks that really made them fun. Pierrot even has his trademark tear. We've talked about making a Scaramouche doll in the future, so that's on a "back burner". I took artistic liberty with portions of the dolls, particularly with Pierrette's hat. I just thought that she needed a real French beret instead of the little flat. Making these dolls was very enjoyable, and they are the only ones that I've ever done as a matched set.
Pierrette is eight inches tall, weighs a fraction over one ounce and took about 32 hours to complete. She was a bit more challenging to begin with since she is so tall and thin. Because of that she doesn't really stand up well by herself, though she can if you have some patience!
Pierrot is 9-1/4 inches tall (including his hat), which makes him the tallest figure to date. He weighs 1.75 ounces. He took about 35 hours to complete. Both dolls were made of 100% Merino Wool roving felted with a .40 and a .42 gauge felting needle.
These two dolls are completely unlike any of the other wool sculptures that I've made. They are the first "realistic" human figures that I felted, and there is something appealing about them. If I pull all of the dolls onto a table to show a crowd of people, these two will be the pair that everyone wants to look at!