Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival 9th - 18th February, 2018
Over the last ten days my ye olde home town, Shaftesbury, has been celebrating its annnual Snowdrop Festival, an event which is expanding in popularity (with galanthophiles galore) as rapidly as the snowdrops I helped to plant in Trinity Churchyard some five years ago (there are more than 180,000 of them now!)
There are lots of events and snowdrop-related activities going on including a fantastic community exhibition at Shaftesbury Arts Centre. When I went along to have a look I was amazed to see so many different interpretations of snowdrops, at the wealth of emotions which these tiny flowers had inspired. In fact, I felt so inspired myself that I reached for my felting needles!
Now, I'm a large scale felt artist by nature, but for some reason I have loads of mini A7-size canvases at my disposal. I knew that working this small would be a challenge but naively told myself that snowdrops were very simple flowers, that it wouldn't take me very long....ha ha ha. Examining these small yet resilient beads of glory more closely, I found they were anything but simple. The GALANTHUS - golly, I never knew there were so many different species - check out this link to see how many there are: https://carolynsshadegardens.com/tag/snowdrop-species
Indeed, snowdrops have LOADS of details: "...six white tepals (undifferentiated petals and sepals) - the three outer tepals are long and curved, and the inner tepals are small and notched, and 'the fruit' which is a capsule and bears seeds with characteristic hook-shaped elaiosomes (fatty seed structures)..." (The Britannica Encyclopaedia)
You can add lots of details with felting needles but I found, working on such a small scale, that I needed to define these details. I didn't trust myself with a sewing machine (it would have been too much thread anyway/distracting for the eye) so, I decided to do it the old fashioned way, a bit of hand embroidery, but only on those pictures which needed it.
And, let's face it, knowing when to embellish and when not to, is a challenge - it's something you have to learn, a kind of intuitive decision - because, very often, less is more. Leave that felt surface alone, you don't need to cover it up with stitches. Never underestimate the power of natural fibrous movement - believe me, 9 times out of 10, those fibres will arrange themselves perfectly harmoniously when you leave them free to get on with it (many a moody sky has been felted in this way!)