bed book peek – rooster

Today, I’m happy to show how I made this rooster, which is a spot illustration in my picture book, MY BED. The story about children’s sleeping places in different cultures around the world is written by Rebecca Bond and was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Sept. 2020. Bedtime Stitches, a touring exhibition of my original embroidered artwork for the book is traveling around the United States. The tour schedule is listed here.

Update: Signed copies of My Bed can be ordered in my shop here. Watch this 8 minute documentary about how I created the illustrations for the book.

In addition to creating full page illustrations, I made a series of animal icons that appear on the adjacent text panels throughout the book. The miniature stuffed animals  relate to the geographic area of each corresponding scene. Posts about other animal icons I made for the book include Elephant and Goldfish and Parrot, Sheep, Camel, Persian Cat, Bunny, Duck, Crocodile, Giraffe and Dog.

When researching Slavic folk art for the Russian scene, I noticed how often a rooster image appears in painted objects, textiles and sculpture. So, I thought it would be an appropriate animal to include, as well as fun to make.

After sketching some basic shapes and designs, I cut out a piece of felt and embroidered the curly tail with lines of chain stitching. The inside structure of the head is a wooden bead with a pipe cleaned neck. The bead is covered with a felt hood, with a red comb stitched to the top. I made the beak by wrapping wire with thread and sewed on a black seed bead for the eye.

I blanket stitched 2 body/tail pieces of felt together around the outside edge.

Then, I sewed the head in place and stuffed the body with wool fleece. The rooster is stitched with DMC flower thread, which I’ve previously mentioned is no longer available. Since then, Catriona from Dutch Treat Designs contacted me to say, “We still sell DMC Flower Thread. We have available for purchase almost 1/2 of the colors DMC made. DMC discontinued the manufacture of their 180 colors of Flower Thread in 2003. We bought the remaining inventory from a large DMC distributor, and offer those colors here for your convenience to purchase while they last. We don’t have every color, but we have many of them.”

The wing is a separate piece of black felt, embroidered in red flower thread.

I shaped the legs and feet out of wire.

I then wrapped the wire with regular embroidery floss for the feet and flower thread for the reddish brown legs. After inserting the legs, I sewed up the bottom and stitched the wing in place.

With the last addition of some fly stitches on his feathery chest, this rooster is ready to cock-a doodle-do!

I hope that this post inspires you to make your own designs with felt, wire and thread. My how-to book of doll projects, Felt Wee Folk provides patterns and directions for making a variety of figures. To find out my philosophy about sharing my process, please read this post: When to tell how and when not to.

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). Your contact info will not be shared. If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

31 thoughts on “bed book peek – rooster

  1. Such a delight!! Roosters are very prominent in Swedish culture and folklore as well. I think they are in lots of Northern European tales! your rooster is a Total delight and how incredibly generous of you to share your construction and process… I just hate it when companies discontinue the ‘Perfect thing” always the one thing that you have come to depend on – so glad you found someone who was smart enough to buy up the stock!!!

  2. Sally you are a very generous artist. Sharing how you create is kind and magnanimous. I love your work and your spirit. On, on strong and beautiful woman.

  3. Hello Salley! Do you know if it’s possible to buy your children’s books somewhere in Bogotá – Colombia? Love your work. Un abrazo, Rosa

    • Thank you for asking about my books Rosa. If you are interested in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk, I suggest buying an e-book from an online seller. Pocketful of Posies is my only children’s book in print. You can order it from an online seller or my Etsy shop. The postage will be high, though.

  4. Your rooster reminds me of one I bought in Portugal back in the sixties! What fun do have figured it all out! Great job, as usual.

  5. Thank you so much for letting us into your studio to see how the magic happens. I have always loved your artistry in telling a story with such amazing use of materials. I too love to tell a story in clay and cloth. LOVE the movie!

  6. This is gorgeous! I love your handiwork. Thank you for showing the steps, although, if I attempt this, it won’t look anything like yours. 🙂

  7. I found a gingerbread house tin at the dollar store that was begging for some story book characters to live in it. I have made a little bendy doll girl, for a little girl who lost her grandma this past year. This little girl has chickens, and I was trying to find a chicken for her – your rooster is a wonderful inspiration! You do such amazing work!!! Hopefully the tin, doll and chicken will go to live with a very sweet little girl very soon!

  8. I Love what you have accomplished, it’s
    Incredible. I have your second book and it is
    So much fun to work with. Can’t wait to see
    Your other projects!.

    Linda Tarascio

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