Not that I was trying to make good on my threat to do Easter in July, but my little buddy here didn't get finished until after Easter and then summer showed up and if I don't post about him now, I'll forget by next Easter.
Since we're talking about Easter, I finally got around to watching the second season of Happy! and it is to Easter what season one was to Christmas. It is so wrong, and bound to become a Creepster holiday classic. It's Rated TV WTF: Weird Situations, Tasteful Nudity, F***ed Up Bunnies, Viewer Discretion Is Advised. And the trailer below, it's a bit graphic, so you know, probably don't watch it if you have kiddies or co-workers around.
I know that no amount of palm weaving tutorials are going to keep me from going to hell and I'm ok with that. I grew up in a very Catholic family, which as you can probably tell, has had some influence on my art. As a kid I accepted all that was Easter, from the resurrection of Christ to the magical rabbit that hid eggs and put treats in baskets. As an adult, I'm just in awe that we celebrated all that crazy wrapped up in one holiday without anyone batting an eye.
As tribute to the holiday mash up of my childhood,
I offer Zombie Jesus Eating Bunny Brains.
I don't really do tutorials on felting, once the stabbing starts it's hard to stop and take pictures. But I'll run through the basics on the off chance it gives someone ideas of their own. For reference Zombie Jesus is about 8cm tall. He started out as a white oblong sphere. I added a layer of zombie green over the top for his head.
Zombie green is a mix of olive, sage, green, evergreen, or whatever else I feel like throwing in. Except for black and white, I rarely ever use just one color of wool. The red robe, brown hair, pink brain are all a mix of at least three different shades. Even the bunny is a mix of yellow and white.
Because A) I like to think it looks more interesting, B) I like buying multi color sample packs from local vendors, so I have small amounts of lots of colors C) It takes a lot longer to run out of specific colors and D) When I do run out of a color, I never worry about having to buy an exact match.
The robe I added in sections. This would be easier to explain in pictures, but I'll give it a shot. When I want a thick straight edge, such as the bottom and sides of his robe, I lay down some wool flat and give it a few shallow pokes to set the fibers. Then I fold over an edge and give it some more shallow pokes. Shallow pokes because you are trying not to poke the fibers all the way through. It can't be helped completely and that's why it'll need to be flipped, given a few more pokes and then flipped back again, more pokes. At this point you can set it on your object and poke with abandon to attach it. I just did this for the sides of the robe and filled in the rest by laying wool directly on his little body.
The white washed Christ of my youth always had burgundy robes and long brown hair. A friend let me raid her stash of Merino wool for his luxurious locks. Merino has a smoother shaft, and I like it for fur or hair.
This video shows how to layer wool for long fur. It's pretty close to what I did except I did way too many rows, too close together. I wish I had taken a picture so you could see what Zombie Jesus looked like when he had big beauty pageant hair.
It was pretty easy to fix, I ran an eyebrow comb repeatedly through his hair to thin it out. The tines on the eyebrow comb are fine enough to grab the wool, I just had to be careful to thin it out evenly and not pull out any big sections. Then I gave him a haircut with cuticle scissors, which have never even seen a cuticle, but I love them for needle felting.
I imagine the first part of this process is similar to spinning wool into yarn. That is if you were to ignore all the time tested techniques that result in a strong uniform yarn. Like I said, quick and dirty.
Step 1: Lay wool fibers out in a line and roll back and forth until you have some that resembles a loose string. Add more fibers to the ends to make it longer, add more fibers to the entire length to make it thicker. I use some pretty hi-tech equipment for this, namely my hand and my thigh. Also wearing pants helps the process. That's right, in a seated position I roll the wool up and down the top of my thigh. Pants provide a grippy surface to work the wool against.
Step 2: Once the fibers are matted enough that the string isn't going to fall apart, start twisting it one direction. Twist tightly enough that it twists up on itself. To tame all the loose fuzzies you will have to do this a few times, stretching out the string and twisting it tighter. If you want it really smooth you can dip it in soapy water and then twist, essentially wet felting it. If you decide to get it wet, make sure it's completely dry before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Spread out the brain matter and lay a bit of darker wool over it. Poke it a couple of times to tack it to the brain.
Step 4: Roll the brain matter into a little brain ball around the darker wool. Poke it a few more times so the brain ball stays together. Then poke it a couple more times, just for the shear joy of stabbing a brain ball.
This bunny was kind of a pain. I feel it's a bit too large in proportion to Zombie Jesus, but still small enough to give me a headache. His dastardly tiny limbs and ear were difficult to needle felt without stabbing through the other side or my fingers. After I needle felted them into the general size and shape, I dipped them in soapy water and rolled (limbs) and pressed (ear) to wet felt them. This gave them structural strength without drawing too much blood.
[Note: All crafts require a blood sacrifice, as demanded by the gods. Some, such as needle felting, just require more than others.]
Is it just me or from this angle does it look like Zombie Jesus is breastfeeding a dead bunny? Maybe he just likes to slow dance with his food. Anyway, the final touches were to add a face to the bunny and arms so Zombie Jesus could hold his feast.
Of course none of this helps me understand why a rabbit would decorate eggs. But I think I figured out how the Easter Bunny manages to fill all those baskets in one night. I mean Santa gets magical flying reindeer and a sleigh to carry everything while the Easter Bunny has to hop the whole way and doesn't even have opposable thumbs. But Jesus is just a baby on Christmas Eve, he doesn't even have his super powers to turn water into wine yet, so Santa needs all that extra gear. On the other hand by Easter, Jesus is an able bodied zombie and he can totally give the Easter Bunny a hand. Not only that, but by then he has his super powers, and they probably only have to carry one basket of goodies and just duplicate it fish and bread style.
Now that I understand it all, I feel a little bad about having Zombie Jesus eat a bunny brain. But he looks so cute eating his little bunny brain.