March 21, 2011
A Whimsical Tapestry for my Granddaughter, Jude
You may recall last November when I traveled to Churchill, Canada with my television crew to film the amazing polar bear migration. It was an incredible experience and I learned a great deal about the difficulties polar bears are facing as the ice they travel upon is disappearing. Churchill is located in the barren Arctic tundra and is very sparsely populated. As you know, when traveling, I love to experience the local culture. Churchill has some restaurants, some hotels, and a few stores. When perusing the store called The Trading Post, which carries items made by fine native artists and artisans, I came across a collection of adorable little animals made out of caribou hides. Studying these whimsical creatures, I instantly had a vision of a beautiful mural that would hang in my grandchild’s room. I enlisted the help of my talented staff to execute my vision and was amazed at what they had created. We even showed this project last week on my television show.
1 This is the little Trading Post in Churchill Canada.
2 We travelled to Churchill to see the polar bear migration for a television segment. This is one of the gorgeous creatures that we saw.
3 This is the Arctic tundra. Tundras are cold areas of the earth where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. Instead, dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens are found there.
4 In the back room of the Trading Post, I discovered these adorable carved animals. This art form has been developed from tufting and uses natural caribou hair to depict a variety of scenes of northern life.
5 A pattern is traced directly on the caribou hide, then the pattern is cut out and flipped over for trimming.
6 The caribou hair is then cut back until the artisan gets the shape he or she wants. Each sculpting combines unique aboriginal designs with Northern flair.
7 I purchased an assortment of these hand-made caribou hair designs because I instantly had a vision of a beautiful mural that would hang in my grandchild's room.
8 I enlisted the help of artisan Hosanna Houser and other very talented staff members to help execute my vision for this mural.
9 For the background of the mural, I matched two basic colors in the nursery using a Pantone color chart.
10 Hosana then matched those colors to the foundation fabric, which is a wool/cashmere blend.
11 Icebergs were drawn on craft paper, cut out, and traced onto the mural using a vanishing fabric marker.
12 The icebergs were then filled in with felting material.
13 The felting material is affixed to the foundation fabric using a pronged felting needle. It actually punches the felting material into the weave of the fabric.
14 When felting, you want to be sure to have a piece of soft foam beneath your fabric for the needle to penetrate.
15 Hosanna made ice patterns by felting in different directions and thicknesses.
16 I love these beluga whales.
17 This is the only igloo that I found.
18 The squiggles in the sky represent the northern lights.
19 The tundra was made with felt and the scrub tree was felted with coarse gray wool roving.
20 I think that this mural will inspired many, many bedtime stories.