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A Brooch for Ben

I’ve been working on another brooch and really enjoyed the change.  A couple of months ago, artist Karin Lijnes commissioned a needle-felted ring for the satirist and journalist Mark Verbaan better known to most as Ben Trovato.  Check out his blog here but fasten your seatbelt first!!

This was going to be difficult; Karin couldn’t tell me what the finger size was as it had to be a surprise and in addition, I’m not experienced enough with felting to gauge the amount of shrinkage that might take place.  A further concern was that an AK47 is a long rectangular shape and I was worried that, as a ring, it would lose it’s rigidity and start to flop around.

Someone suggested I make a brooch instead and this was the route I followed.

textile brooch wearable art

Karin was very happy with Ben’s brooch!  So happy in fact, that it was with reluctance that she gave it to it’s intended recipient.  The solution was obvious!  She commissioned a second one!

Karin is a gutsy artist (get an idea of what her work is about) who isn’t scared to tackle anyone or anything and knowing her well, I knew it could be big and bold and colourful so my first decision was to needle-felt the gun in a purple pink.  From then on it just got bigger and bigger.  I had some lovely hand made Tibetan felt in a weird lime spinach sort of colour that Karin liked, but not enough of it, so I made it from a very light yellow green roving and then dyed it to get a closer match.  The felt was a bit flimsy so I folded it over and stitched it onto some thick cerise Tibetan felt leaving one lovely wavy edge (i love to leave clues to the fact that this is not machine made, mass produced stuff).  A bit of blanket stitching closed off the three remaining edges.

After this I wanted to embellish it and after trying various beads and other odds and ends, my trademark textile buttons seemed to be the way to go.  I had some gorgeous Vlisco  in lime green, tangerine, black and cerise that seemed perfect for some mini tandletons.  I love the way they add a playful feel.  I also stitched the layers together with red crosses – They look like kisses but also resemble the mass crosses  marking the graves of unknown soldiers.  The red shrieks a bit on the green background, but I was fairly sure that Karin would be fine with that!

The final touch was to add a row of Ethiopian silver beads at the bottom.  They give visual support to the base of the brooch, but they also add a layer of meaning;  The Ethiopian beads are all handmade from recycled pots, pans and used bullet casings; remnants of war that have been transformed into objects of beauty.

Today I delivered the brooch to Karin who loves it!  And it looks absolutely fabulous on her!  She really has the personality to carry it off!!!!  As soon as I have a better pic I’ll post it!  But in the mean time this one will have to do.