January 12, 2012
Kristin St. Clair's Fantastic Book Creation
Kristin St. Clair, who works in our TV Crafts Department, made my granddaughter, baby Jude, a very, very special Christmas present. Perhaps you saw the episode of my television show about the fabulous arctic tapestry that I made along with my talented TV crafters for Jude. Kristin was inspired by that amazing scene and set out to design and create a large-sized fabric 'picture book' made from cashmere fabric, felt, felting, and silhouetted felt animals. Each scene in this book is fascinating and extraordinary in its details. Here is what Kristin had to say about this undertaking:
This book was a year in the making, so there was a lot of time, research, inspiration, and backbreaking work that went into this project. Even though I am a crafter for Martha, I admit that I am a novice sewer and this was my first big machine and hand-sewing project. I learned many, many things while making this book—it educated me, gave me skill experience, and focused me to finally finish a large project. I haven’t spent this much time on one thing since art school and it consumed me, excited me, and then relieved me when it was done. It also gave me a great sense of accomplishment. In crafting, there is usually a lot of waste—leftover useless materials and projects that fall apart, or break, or wind up in the trash. This craft, I am proud to say, is lasting and something Jude can have forever. What else can you give Martha Stewart that she doesn’t already have or can’t get herself? It makes me smile to think that with this gift, Martha can create endless stories for Jude while turning the pages of my book.
1 This is the cover of the book, which measures approximately 18-inches by 24-inches. I love crests and I use this one as my 'logo.'
2 The inside cover
3 Scene 1 - I was so inspired by Jude's Arctic tapestry, that I set out to create a book.
4 A detail shot
5 Once I designed all the animal silhouettes, I arranged them on a blank page to think about the composition and how I wanted to design the background. I cut the iceberg shapes out of paper first, before jumping into needle felting.
6 Should the Polar Bears have their own page? But, what about the penguins?
7 Scene 2 - Under the sea
9 The screw punch was used for the Octopus, as well. All the other details were cut with a craft knife and a pair of really sharp scissors.
10 Laying out the ocean: With each scene, I stuck to a particular color palette. In the end, I opted for not including the bright orange piece of coral.
11 This shot was taken right before all the sea creatures were glued down. I realized that I was missing the large Sperm Whale!
12 Okay, there he is.
13 Scene 3 - The jungle scene combines habitats from two parts of the world—rainforests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra and also rainforests from Central and South America.
14 There are many layers and techniques on each page. In the jungle, wool felt, wool roving, and felted wool fabric were applied to the cashmere background.
15 A toucan
16 Laying out the background of the jungle with felted wool fabric - If you wash wool fabric in hot water, the fibers fuse together and become 'felted.'
17 Laying out the jungle - I used pieces of cord to envision how I wanted the jungle vines to look.
18 The jungle in process - I needle felted most of the vines and then re-laid the page to make sure it was coming together properly.
19 Scene 4 - When I think of the continent of Africa, I see something similar to this spread. Although the background depicts the Sahara Desert, I chose to include some of the most symbolic animals in all of Africa.
20 Acacia Trees against a needle felted sunset - The lazy lions are waiting for it to get dark.
21 I had to include the Chimps, whom I support through the Jane Goodall Institute. They are one of my most admired animals.
22 I laid out some of the African animals to determine how many more I might need to complete the scene.
23 Experimenting with Africa's layout - I realized that these animals would need water in this desert!
24 They would also need more shelter from the sun in the form of another tree.
25 Scene 5 - Antarctica
26 Antarctica detail
27 I find Penguins to be anthropomorphic––They seem to have comedic personalities and I absolutely love watching as they waddle along.
28 The black on the penguins was all hand painted.
29 Before painting the penguins, I arranged them in various ways along the icebergs.
30 Another arrangement
31 In the final arrangement, I let the 'dangerous' iceberg penguins free. I'm not sure they would actually risk climbing that slippery slope!
32 The back inside page
33 My tag and logo
34 I wrapped the gift in craft paper and tied it with a blue ribbon and a simple tag.
35 A closeup of the grizzly bear tag