Monday, September 21, 2015

Wool Faux Taxidermy by Bella McBride from McBride House

 My new obsession... wool faux taxidermy!
A great way for animal lovers to display a head mount without hurting the real thing.
And this one is even better as it's slightly larger than life size!
Even though Mr. Fox hardly weighs a thing, he is approx. 23 cm (9 inches) from the back of the piece to the tip of his nose.  The frame is 31.5 cm (12.25 inches) tall by 26.5 cm (10.5 inches) wide.
AND.... The Hare!
Aren't they cute together?
As you can see, The Hare is much bigger than real life!
He has horse hair whiskers...
Black glass eyes....
And is mounted, as is Mr Fox, in a vintage oak (I think it's oak) frame.  You can see both of them and many more of my sculptures here!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Needle Felted Green Men

One of my favourite things to make are Green Men.  Wanting to make more than just the traditional greened leaved green man I've expanded my line to include all four seasons.  Below are just a few of the green men that I've created over the years!
Deep in the woods there awaits a special soul ready to emerge from his sleepy winter slumber. He dreams of the time of year when the buds will burst, the flowers grow and the trees spread their leaves to the skies above. Sun will soon pour down on his secret nest and awaken him to the songs of robins, singing his name to help bring green back to the barren earth. Yes, soon the Green Man will rise and Spring will be here again.
A horned version of the great man.
A purse version that went to a very lovely and excited woman from the Amherst, NS Fibre Fest sale.

A little brighter version make with merino wool.

This one is currently available at my shop!

The very first one.  This one will always hold a special spot in my heart as he was bought by a very great man who will be dearly missed.

The days are getting longer and little bits of green are beginning to spring forth from beneath winters weary carpet. There is a feeling of renewal coming that is simmering just beneath the surface. The sap is flowing in the trees, maple buds are beginning to show their red tips and the geese fly overhead morning and night.

Soon laundry will be flapping on the line, children will be jumping in mud puddles and skipping with their new skipping ropes. And deep in the woods the Spring Green Man watches it all unfold.

Now the days are getting shorter and the leaves are beginning to change from their luxurious greens to the most spectacular reds, oranges and purples. There is a crispness to the air and even though it's the end of the summer it feels like the beginning of something new.

Flannel sheets will soon go on the bed, kids are anxiously awaiting the first day of school and the apples are red, ripe and ready to be picked. And deep in the woods the Autumn Green Man watches it all unfold.

 I always loved the expression of this one!

 This is the first Fall Green Man I made.  I had the idea and he came to life on a bus trip to Quebec City.

The stars are bright, the night is crisp and Old Man Winter is over looking his domain. In the morning every branch will be coated in a soft layer of snow, the ground laden with the white stuff. The kids will awaken to frosted panes of glass on their bedroom windows and will excitedly peer out them wondering if it will be a snow day.

The parents wonder what will be in store for them; a day of sliding, skiing, snowshoeing? Perhaps it will be a day curled up by the fireplace sipping hot chocolate and reminiscing about their own childhood memories of winter. Regardless of the days event, one thing is known for sure...Old Man Winter sure does know how to make this world we live in a little bit more beautiful.

This is a newer version of the Winter Green Man and he is available at my Shop!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Fish in a Tree? How can that be....

For my latest custom order I was asked to make a Northern Ontario Walleye Pike.  He fought hard and I didn't know if I would ever reel him in but the struggle was well worth it! 
Smaller than real life but he's still a whooping 12 inches long (30 cms)!
Glup, glup...
I actually had the forethought to take pictures of my Walleye Pike to show you the stages that one of my needle felting pieces goes through. At some point, in every single piece that I do, I panic and think "I can't do this! I'm a fraud!". Luckily, every single time, I tell myself to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.... just like I did with this fish.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

McBride House Ravens

The Ravens have full and truly landed at McBride House.  About 2 years ago I made my first needle felted Raven and titled it "The Celtic Raven".  I've made various pieces similar to it but the first one, the one pictured below, is still my favourite.  I took the picture in my favourite cemetery, the cemetery at the church that I was married at, my parents were married at and my grandparents were married at.  It's the first piece where I thought "Hmmm... do you think that maybe I am an artist?".  So below, are some of the other Raven pieces I've made since, and stay tuned, because I have plans for many more!

THE STORY: My name is Raven. As I sit upon my Ravenstone I ponder in my thoughts. Some consider me a bird of ill omen others a mediator between life and death. I am both the symbol of the sun, and the symbol of a moonless night. The Scottish Highlanders, a brave and fearsome people, once associated me with the second sight and prophecy. My image flew on the banners of the pagan Danes and Viking ships as tokens of luck on their voyages. I am, however, a contradiction in terms; I am thought of a as trickster and a thief, a representation of death and doom. While conversely others think I represent magic, creation, healing, wisdom, and protection. I am especially revered by the creative type as I was a favouite bird of the god Lludd, the Celtic god of artists and artisans. I symbolize the void - the mystery of that which is not yet known. S mis Fitheach. My name is Raven.
THE STORY: The mighty warriors. The great war has begun between the Ravens and the Chipmunks. Evil little creatures with sharp white teeth began attacking the Fortress of the Raven's at dawn. Not being able to defend their palace, the Raven's have called to arms the fae folk of the forest. Great warriors with the hearts of a lion prepare themselves with merely a sword, shield and great bravery. It should be a quick battle now that these two forces have come together.  
The Ravens swoop and dive in amoungst the trees while the fae quickly cut the branches out from underneath the vile vermin. Don't let their cuteness fool you. Those chipmunks will eat you out of house and home, all the while sassing you from high up in their tree top refuge. Soon the battle will be done and the Chipmunks will retreat deep into the forest where they belong. The fae folk and the Raven's will soon rejoice knowing that good will always conquer evil.  Click here to see more!
I love to do add little warriors, tombstones, etc to my ravens but sometimes, if you are lucky, you can pick up just a single Raven from my shop!  Did you know that ravens are one of the smartest animals and they can mimic human speech? I haven't had time to train this fellow to talk but perhaps if he comes to your home you can give him a few lessons? 
This lucky Raven found a new home in Wolfville, NS!  I was doing a show for Fibre Fest in Amherst, NS and just finished this piece minutes before it was time to pack up and leave so I didn't get very much time to become acquainted with him.  I'm really hoping to take a trip down to Gaspereau Valley Fibres to visit him this summer!

THE STORY: One wears white, the other one black. One enjoys the finer things in life, the other enjoys a simple country life. One soars high above the thermals, the other dodges in amongst the trees. Even though these two are complete opposites in life they come together twice a day, just at that magic moment where day blends into night and then when night blends into morning. For the white one soars through the night and the black one soars through the day. They spend these few precious moments sharing their adventures, wishes and dreams before one settles in for their sleep and the other lives it's life looking forward to those few magic moments that they will share again. 

 THE STORY: It's Christmas eve and the night is lit by millions of shining stars. The air is cold and crisp and has the lingering smell of snow. With only the constellations to lead his way the Christmas Raven makes his journey across the night sky carrying a very important package. Little whoops of joy can be heard high above the clouds as they swoop and swirl amoungst the thermals. It's a tradition these two share each year after the packages have been delivered. Not only do they enjoy the freedom of flight but the freedom of stress as their work is finished. Soon Santa will climb back up on the Raven's back and they will descend back through the clouds and make their landing. Until then, they soar.

 THE STORY: Deep in the forest, amongst the majestic oaks, stands an ancient stone column.  Over the many years the oak trees have grown up around it and encircled it as if nature is reclaiming the etched stone itself.  It sits alone and has been long forgotten.   In all the years that it sits in it's solitary splendor there have been only two visitors.  They swoop in among the tree branches and alight on the greyed stone. They sit, look about and contemplate.  They cock their heads to the side as if listening to the other.   As suddenly as they came, they fly away, their wings whisper in the air "Mo Anam Cara".  You are my soul mate.

This one was inspired by Aesop' Fable:  The Fox and The Crow
A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.
"That's for me, as I am a Fox," said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree.
"Good day, Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds."
The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.
"That will do," said he. "That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future: "Do not trust flatterers."

THE STORY: The Royal Raven. He perches on the highest tree top in the vast dense forest, his cloak blowing in the wind as he surveys his kingdom. Not only is he the Royal King of Ravens he has also been elected Official King of Crows and Rooks for no other can surpasses his wisdom, and few dare to try. He does not live the life of the pampered Royal Ravens in the Tower of London but instead is out amongst his kind fighting to survive. He teaches his subjects the ways of the world, intermingling ancient secrets and modern technology seamlessly. He stands at attention ready to swoop down from his perch to aid a fellow compatriot. He is the Royal Raven.

And that are some of the Raven's to have descended on McBride House!  Hope you like them and if you ever have any questions or would like me to make you one of your very own, just email me!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pull up a chair....

Just a short post today.  I'm feeling tired and the need to curl up by the fire and read a book.  I so wish I could figure out a way to make this little pink chair life size!

Or if pink's not your thing, it comes in BLUE too!

Check out these chairs and more at McBride House!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Owls Have Landed at McBride House

The owls have descended onto McBride House in all shapes, colours and functions.  This little one is a staple at McBride House and has had a few sisters created in her likeness.  So far we have had Owlene, Owlese, and this little one is Owlette.  She's a pretty little owl. She spent hours getting her bow on just right, asking me time and time again to adjust it just so. Standing in front of the mirror primping and preening she finally decided that the bow is perfect and it's time for her portrait. She stands and looks up at the light knowing this is her best side. Click, click, click goes the camera all the while her little tail feathers quiver with excitement.
Next is Darby McBride who is a St Patrick Day Owl.  He's quite the dapper fellow who is a very quiet owl that just loves to sit and watch the goings on. He requires very little maintenance and would make a fantastic house owl.
 In the same bred of owls, comes these two.  Another St. Patrick Day Owl but with a little rider!  And guess what?  They did it, they did it! They found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Mr. Leprechaun proudly hugs his treasure knowing he is safe and secure riding on the back of his pet owl. What the two of them will do with all of this gold I do not know but I'm sure with the influence of a wise owl, they won't spend it frivolously.

Next is the Book Owl. Did you know that back in the deep recesses of the London Library lives a whole family of owls? This particular owl is named Darby and he and his siblings fly about at night putting all those books away that the librarians cannot reach. They twist and turn about the tight corridors all the while looking for the perfect matched hole for their books. Once they find the correct spot the mice take over and slide the book into it's own spot... but that, my dear friends, is another tale.
It's an exciting day for Mr Owlistare and his son, Hoot. They've waited and practiced all year and today is the day. They gather their belongings and Mrs Owlistare, or better known as Luna, lovingly wraps a scarf around each of their necks and gives them a peck on the cheek as she bids them farewell.  You can read a lot more about these two and their grand adventure HERE.
Owlivia is a pretty little owlet that dreams of becoming a ballerina but knows with her centre of gravity being what it is, tap is more up to her skill level.

To see these owls and other creations come on over to my shop, McBride House!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Needle Felted Albert Einstein

This is the first time that I've needle felted a person to look like an actual person.  I've done lots of green men and pumpkins but this was a challenge to make Albert actually look like Albert.  And yes, after spending hours and hours and days and days working so closely on this piece I feel like I can call Mr. Einstein, Albert!
For those of you who are new to this art form, it's called Needle Felting.  Needle felting involves poking and prodding different colours of wool with an extremely sharp barbed needle until you reach the perfect shape. It literally takes thousands of pokes and days and days to reach just the right sculpture. Other than his black glass eyes, he is 100% wool. He is firmly attached to his wool book base making them a single soft sculpture.
 This is a big piece... almost life size!  Even though Albert Einstein hardly weighs a thing, he is approx. 37 cm (14.5 inches) tall from the bottom of his wool book base to the top of his bushy hair.  If you want to see more of him or other soft sculptures of mine check out my Etsy shop, McBride House!

I'll leave you with some words to live by by the great man:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein