Adaptive Sled for the snow scene

This father and child pair is included in my winter themed display that is currently on view at Boston Children’s Hospital. The exhibit, which I wrote about in a previous post, is in the Mini-Museum in the Hale lobby, not far from the main entrance to the hospital at 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, Massachusetts through March 15th.

The hospital’s art program manager requested that I make a little adaptive sled for riders with disabilities to include in the snow scene. For reference, she sent a link to this futuristic looking contraption. At first I balked at the idea because of such short notice during the holidays. But, I decided to give it a try, as long as she understood that it would be a naturalistic wee folk version.

I knew it would take at least a couple of days to make, so I pushed aside other impending deadlines and focused entirely on the sled. I picked out a father and child from the collection of sample dolls I’d made for the Winter Play chapter of my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

I studied the photo of the adaptive sled and and made sketches of its basic structure. I measured the figures and bent wire to form the seat, back frame and handle bars.

I wrapped embroidery floss around the wire frame, making several passes until the shiny metal was thoroughly covered and the thread looked smooth and even. Wrapping is the most time-consuming part! You can’t really rush the process, otherwise it comes out lumpy and crude looking.

I formed the lower frame and runners out of wire and bound it to the seat frame with thread. At this stage the wrapping was quite fussy, with lots of maneuvering in and around joints.

I added arms to the seat with a finer gauge wire.

Up until this point, I hadn’t chosen exactly how to finish the seat – felt or floss or a combination. Since the sled was looking more and more like an old fashioned caned chair, I decided to go all out and weave the seat. I’m not sure how warp and weft apply here, but I basically set up a loom.

In this video, you can see the weaving process from the top and the bottom.

Here’s a video of the installation in Boston Children’s Hospital.

I’ve already been contacted by several people who saw the display while going to a doctor’s appointment with their child or grandchild. Hearing their reactions warms my heart and makes it feel like the effort was worth it! If you’re in the area, please stop by the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mini Museum.

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8 thoughts on “Adaptive Sled for the snow scene

  1. Bravo, Sally! Young and old will respond positively to this addition to your original plan. Fond memories will be made/surface as we all respond to persons living with limitations.

  2. I noticed that caned sear as soon as I looked at the picture. Great solution!
    I love – and appreciate- your clever, well executed work. I saw it at the Lowell Quilt Museum where I circled the room repeatedly seeking out the details.

  3. Thanks for giving your time & talent in making the sled for this wonderful winter scene. Lots of kids, like mine, visiting Children’s are users of adapted chairs, sleds, skates, & skis. Thanks again.

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