Saturday, 28 March 2009

Making a mannequin

In four weeks time I will once again be exhibiting my wares at the Aviemore Trade Show. This is a trade only show for crafts and gifts made in Scotland and has everything from soaps to ceramics, greetings cards to textiles, jewellery, glass and too many other things to mention. If you buy for a retail outlet that wants to promote the best of what Scotland has to offer, this is a show not to be missed - see website for details -

For years I have been struggling with how best to display the Harris Tweed wraps that we make. They look best on a person, but are not really practical to keep on for the duration of the show - far too warm! So, the next best thing is a mannequin, but that is not as easy as it sounds. For one thing, nice ones are very expensive. Also, they are too tall, and so make the limited stand space feel too full. And none of them could be positioned just the way I want.

In January, on a visit to a shop-fitters outlet for a few bits and pieces of display material, I spotted a polystyrene body form reduced in price because of slight damage. I have now attached a polystyrene head and covered the two in icewool prior to making a felt covering.

Today I spent the day in Dingwall at the Highland Feltmakers Group and have made a pair of arms using a combination of wire, polyester wadding and gloves and covering them with merino fleece to make a felt covering.

I am aware that my mannequin may be a bit out of proportion - I think the arms are from a slightly miss-shapen anorexic, while the body is quite generously proportioned, and the head is tilted at a slight angle. So that it doesn't look like a factory reject, but something individual and quirky, I am adding all sorts of interest in the way of embroidered "jewellery" and felted "tattoos". It remains to be seen how it looks when finished, but I am pleased with today's results - see photograph below. In the photograph the arms are still very soapy (particularly the left one), which is why they look so patchy. At the moment the arms are sitting on a rack in the porch at he back door, dripping soapy water all over the place.
Of course, if I was to add a figure for my time into the equation then this will work out as a rather expensive mannequin, but I can guarantee that nobody else will have one the same!