Celestine and the Hare

Wales

About Celestine and the Hare

I always dread these things that say something about yourself. I am rather shy and prefer to hide under the table and make things. Basically I am a fibre artist. I needle felt small creatures from my little shed workshop in Monmouth, Wales. I like to be outside and barefoot and I think I am part mermaid and love to swim in the sea. I share my home with more cats than some would consider decent.

Each creature I make has a unique character, charm and mischief of its own. I have a sense of fun and nostalgia and a love of the forgotten, small, passed over and missed things. Being small and shy I’ve always cheered on the outsiders, the quiet ones.

All my creatures are made from sheep fleece (with occasional use of camel. alpaca etc fibres) pipe cleaner legs so they can be posed and glass beads for eyes. I make short animations of the creatures living in the shed with me and we eat a lot of choklit. These I post on my Facebook page where is a lot of laughter, silliness and joy and a gentleness of life and what has become the Tribe of Celestiner Chokliteers!

I make whatever comes into my mind which is full of stories and pictures and never have enough time to do everything that is swirling around in there. These I sell on my website or through galleries but I also do a lot of commissions. Photos of my animals will be in a 2016 calendar published by Graffeg, and available here. I make all creatures great and small and mythical as well as real. I also do a few felt making workshops each year too. You can come and learn how to make your own norty creatures. We chat and giggle and eat cake and drink tea and cuddle the bears and weasels as well as learn.

Oh and yes, Celestine is my Swedish great grandmother. Her bust (as in her portrait head not her boobs, that would be weird) anyway I have a sculpture of her in my studio. I used to use her as a hat block till I could afford a real one.

She is the mother of Karin who I am named after. The Hare was the first creature I made properly and guards us all. I love hares. They are magical.

Hence the name Celestine and the Hare.

Making for the Challenge

I had said I would make a sheep in my application. The fleece came from a Welsh Mule so it had to be one of those. I then decided to make a lamb or two to play around her and then I got a bit excited and thought oh how wonderful to have a sheep dog too! I needed brown and black colours and rather than use chemical dyes I thought it would be wonderful to use plants that grow in the region to dye the fleece. My final piece would then really be of the Cambrian Mountains. How to make a good black from plants from the region? Eeek! No idea. A friend came to the rescue and introduced me to a dyer who lived in the region. She made me up a kit of oak galls collected from the Clwydian Hills that would do the trick.

I tried and tried for 3 days to get a black but all I got were various shades of brown. Panic set in but then again a friend came to the rescue and pointed out that a lot of Welsh collies are in fact brown. Oh my word I was relieved! So, here we are, One sheep, two lambs and a sheepdog. All made with the Cambrian Mountain wool, and some oak galls from the region. Just the addition of a red tongue, glass bead eyes and a couple of pipe cleaners because I don’t think pipe cleaner trees grow in the Cambrians… but they might so you might want to go and look…