This is a guest post by one of our forum members ‘Teri Berry’. Teri has a wonderful blog if you’d like to see more of her work. Teri has completed the 3rd Quarter challenge in record time and tells us about it here:
Marilyn posted the 3rd quarter challenge a couple of weeks ago, initially I was disappointed because this meant I had been mulling over the 2nd quarter challenge for so long I had missed the end of Q2 (shame on me). Determined not to let the same happen again I was spurred into action. I already had an idea from Q2 that I wanted to use silk cocoons to add some three-dimensional impact, a little bit like this sample:
Added to this, I have been wanting to interpret a favourite photo taken by my better half on a diving trip into felt for far too many years so this seemed the ideal opportunity. Isn’t this fish a beauty?
As per Marilyn’s challenge instructions, I ran this photo through 2 programs, Colour Adobe and Palette Fx.
I much preferred the wider range of colours provided by Palette FX so set about dyeing some cocoons, yarn and silk while blending some previously hand dyed Norwegian and Merino wools (with a little bit of dyed trilobal nylon for some sparkle – I’m a sucker for a bit of sparkle!).
Considering the materials were all dyed in the same bath, I was surprised by the range of colours that came out of the orangey brown bath, everything from bright orange to a lovely chestnut brown. These are the carded batts:
I started by laying out two tones of purple, when the piece is fulled, these different tones will create subtle areas of light and dark on the face of the hanging.
Then laying out the batts, I love working with batts, they are so quick and easy to lay out.
I like to think about movement and the balance of colours and tones when laying out my wall hangings, I find repetition of shapes and colours works well. Here I have laid out 3 deeper colours and added splashes of a bright colour to create movement. I think it is important to keep stepping back and looking at your piece, if it doesn’t feel right now, it’s unlikely to feel right as you add more layers and detail.
Next I added my dyed cocoons, ponge 5 silk and felt ropes for extra texture before wetting it out to regain some control over the growing pile of fluff.
Then some of my dyed yarn, I was thinking about how to lead the viewer’s eye around the hanging when laying these out.
Looking at it again, I felt it was too dark and needed more contrast and the large bumps from the cocoons needed to be balanced by something, the solution, to add some yellow chiffon with felt pebbles underneath.
I made some prefelts with the left over batts, I love working with prefelts and silk papers, they permit a far wider range of shapes than I can create with loose wool tops.
From these I started cutting out shapes, laying them on the base. For me, this stage is very much trial and error; placing piece of felt, deciding I don’t like it, cutting them into smaller pieces, swapping them out for other colours, moving them around. After some time I finally settled on this.
And started rubbing, and rubbing, and rubbing…. I quite like the look of the plastic covered in suds with the design showing through.
More rubbing, and finally a bit of throwing (the large bumps created by the cocoons made this a difficult piece to roll).
Here is the fulled piece after opening up the cocoons to reveal their dyed innards, contrasting with the wool wrapped over their surface. I’m really pleased with the one that spilled out a trail of silk as I opened it up.
I was a little bit disappointed with how the edges of the orange prefelts had gone fuzzy (I should have used a firmer prefelt) so added some machine embroidery to visually sharpen the edges again.
Letting me loose with a sewing machine on a piece of felt is a risky move, I couldn’t stop a just “fixing” one area :)
After looking at it the next morning, some more embroidery was needed…
Unlike most of my hangings the felt on this one is relatively fine so instead of hanging from a sleeve or wooden rod I decided to mount it on a canvas frame. To ensure the felt doesn’t stretch and go baggy over time I fixed it to a sheet of poplin cotton with running stitch before stretching it over the frame and stapling it into place.
Thank you Ruth, Zed, Ann and Marilyn for inviting me to post on the forum, this has been a real pleasure. If anyone would like to see some of my other work, please feel free to visit my blog at http://teriberrycreations.blogspot.co.uk
Thanks Teri for sharing your work with us!