Snake, owl, maybe a puma…

I had a lovely visit with the folks at MOWA over the weekend and somehow got on the subject of snakes. After I left the museum, I went to my favorite wood store and found a beautiful piece of spalted maple that I thought looked like a snake skin.

Spalted maple slab of wood
Spalted Maple Slab

My normal process is to use the wood as a backdrop for my animal. Never tried making a snake before so achieving a snake skin texture to my liking was going to be tough. I started down a path of nuno felting with the hope that I would get some snake skin like texture – nope. Next I thought maybe a whole series of wool nepps felted together would give the texture that I was looking for – got distracted before I could try.

Then my husband sent me this photo of an owl camouflaged in a tree and it got me thinking about using the wood in an entirely different way.

Owl hidden within rotten trunk of tree
Owl hidden in tree

I plan to use the snake skin texture of the wood as part of the snake itself and have the fiber come in and out of the wood. Here is a very rough sketch

Snake sktetched out over the top of a piece of spalted maple wood
Snake within the wood rough sketch

By going this route, I won’t focus on getting the texture of the snake skin to be natural. I will want it to be as close to the texture of the wood as I can get it instead. So far, all I have completed is finishing the wood so I can match my fibers accordingly.

Going this direction is very exciting and I think I will do a whole series of animals incorporated or camouflaged into the wood over the coming months. I have created owls before but not in this manner. I think a snake, owl and maybe a puma would be cool. Guess I will need to go back to the wood store and buy out their supply of spalted wood!!

I will do a part 2 of this post once I finish the snake.

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