bed book peek : bunny

How could I resist posting a little cottontail bunny at this time of year? It will be used as a spot illustration in my upcoming children’s book, My Bed: Celebrating Children’s Beds Around the World, which will be published in 2020. Other animals in the series that I’ve written about so far are elephant and goldfish, parrot and sheep, rooster, cat, duck, crocodile, dog, giraffe and camel.

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.

As usual, I started by researching pictures of bunnies and then making sketches to work from. I formed an outline of the animal shape in pipe cleaners and wrapped the legs. The wrapping is basically the same technique that I teach for the dolls in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

The hind leg haunches are made separately. I covered the front side with wool felt and crisscrossed the back with stitches to keep it taut like a drum.

Then, I covered the body with a felt piece. I must have covered the top portion of the front leg with another small piece of felt, but I can’t remember. Each time I make something, I try different ways to do it in a non-linear fashion. That’s why it’s hard to explain the process in a step-by-step manner.

Some people think I “needle felted” the body, but I didn’t. That’s a different process that involves poking wool fleece fibers with a barbed needle. I use flat pieces of wool felt that are cut out and sewn in place. It’s fussy, but it works for me. I admit to not really enjoying the repeated jabbing motion of needle felting and would rather put my energy and focus into embroidery.

The bunny’s head was made from pieces of felt, including the ears. The eye is a seed bead inserted in a cut out hole. The ears are edged with wire, to give them stability and flexibility. Details are stitched with embroidery floss.

The area between the head and body looks seamless, but there are hidden stitches underneath. They are covered with felt fibers, which I coax and smooth over the seam with a needle. That’s the closest I get to needle felting.

Then I covered the body with little embroidery floss stitches. The hind leg was attached next and the cotton tail was last. Happy Easter!

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27 thoughts on “bed book peek : bunny

  1. I love this sweet little bunny. Makes me want to make one, but at least twice the size! Because of my clumsy hands and nearsighted eyes. I always enjoy your pictures.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your stunning bunny. Most of the time 2020 seems ‘aroung the corner in time. But waiting for your book in 2020 is like waiting for Santa. Happy Spring holidays.

  3. I am positively sure that little bunny is capable of hopping away into his own world!!
    So great to read about the process. Also, just saw the great exhibit in Cotuit!!!
    Thank you, Sally!

  4. He is a treasure. Loved your lecture at Cotuit and watching your construction process. You have a limitless imagination few possess

  5. Thanks for being willing to share some of your process with you readers. As an artist myself, I know technique can sometimes be like our own little brain child, a closely held secret. I love watching your animals and children come to life through embroidery.

  6. I’m wondering if you have any arthritis in your finger joints. I have been sidelined by osteoarthritis in my thumb joint and some tendonitis. It really can cramp your style, both literally and figuratively. I hope you never get this because your work is so fun!! 🐰

    • I am sorry about your arthritis. It’s heart breaking for those who love to work with their hands. Fortunately, I have no issues of that sort, nor is there a family history of arthritis. I plan to stitch until eternity!

  7. Your bunny is a work of art. When I saw your creation what jump to mind was you have taken thread, felt, beads and needle and given it life. I know that is a bit much to say but your work is so beautiful. Thank you.

  8. Hi Salley, I am a great fan of yours! I have ALL your books! I am writing to ask you if you would make videos of each of the animals you made for “My Bed”? If you charged for each of the videos I would definitely pay (as I’m sure many others would too!) After all, you SHOULD be paid for your creativity and time!!! I SO love your work! I would love to make these for my granddaughter as a heirloom to pass down. She would love them and I feel I need a visual to help me!! Thanks so much ❤️

    • Thank you for your interest in my work and learning how to make the animals in MY BED. If I had all the time in the world, I would consider making instructional videos. But, as making new artwork is my priority, that is where my time and energy goes. All I can manage is to occasionally take photos along the way and share them on my blog and other social media.

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