Needle-Felted Wool Sculpture
Nori is the fourth doll completed in our "Hobbit project". He is based on Jed Brophy's portrayal of Tolkien's character, as seen in "The Hobbit" films by Peter Jackson. After making the Throin and Bilbo dolls, Elizabeth and I decided that it would be a fun idea to make all of the dwarves from Thorin's company in "The Hobbit" films, so we're working on multiple dolls at one time. Several of the characters are very intensive as far as leather work or embroidery (Elizabeth's department!), so working on multiples helps to keep things moving ahead. This gives Elizabeth time to work on the hand sewing and leather, while I'm felting on another doll.
Nori is a rather thin dwarf (as dwarves go!), but he stands at a fair 9-1/2" tall (counting to the tip of his hair) and weighs a decent 3-3/4 ounces. He was felted with .40 and .42 gauge needles and features the widest variety of wool and fiber that I've used on one doll to date! All in all, there are twelve different types of fiber on Nori. The base of his body is made of dark Romney (though none of it shows). His boots are made of Zwartbles wool, Oxford Down wool, Brown Yak and Alaskan Musk Ox (See photo below for chart of fibers.). His pants are made of Yak/Merino 50/50 by Ashland Bay, and his undertunic is made of dark grey Cotswold with light grey Merino Silk borders. Nori's overtunic features three different colors of wool. The main part is Blue Faced Leicester, accented with two different shades of grey merino (as are his sleeves). Nori's shirt collar is made of Ashland Bay Gotland wool, though you can hardly see the collar anymore due to the beard!
Nori's arm guards are a red-toned leather with a pair of working buckles (on the inside of his arm) on each. The hand mits are made of a matching Merino. Elizabeth made the arm guards and the belt (also leather) on this doll. The buckle is actually a vintage brooch that Mom had in her box! Interestingly enough, Nori's gold-coloured spoon was also a vintage brooch. We really wanted a metal object for him to pull out of his inner pocket. It took some months of plowing through flea markets before Mom found this perfect spoon!
The most challenging part of Nori's costume was certainly his elaborate hair-do! It took me three evenings of braiding and felting to come up with the final result, and there are full hair supports felted onto his head — just to hold up the side pieces. Each of the side parts of his hair are made of six individual braids with a metal hair bead on the end. Two more braids come down to join those groups from his mustache. Even Nori's eyebrows are braided and join to the top center of the hair. According to the behind-the-scenes books about the films, Nori's hair is meant to look like a six-pointed Star Fish. I can't imagine that any other doll will have hair that is anymore difficult than this, that's for sure!