Claude the Merino Ram
This magnificent yet cuddly Merino ram is a statement piece for sure, made from real Merino wool and having a unique quality. Majestic from a distance, the ram's appearance gets increasingly cuter as one approaches due to the fine details that give the impression that he is smiling. Authentic, cloudlike merino wool imparts the squishy, cuddly aspect that makes this ram so lovable. Due to the billowing mass of plush wool that he wears, I like to call him Claude.
This one-of-a-kind piece was handcrafted with a single barbed needle and many hours of patient work. Sections of wool are placed on a felt background, in this case a handmade alpaca felt, and tapped into place with the barbed needle. The barbs on this needle tangle the fibers, matting them down and adhering them to the background. The wool is arranged, twisted and tucked to create a painterly image.
The background is a very richly-colored alpaca felt made by a friend and artisan. It was created with a different kind of felting technique called wet felting, where many locks of fiber are layered, soaked, and vigorously agitated until the fiber matts into felt. For the artwork, various types of fiber were used to create different effects: Romney wool for the face for a smooth look, alpaca for the horns for a subtle sheen, and of course merino for luxury softness and the fluffiness characteristic of Merino sheep.