2nd Quarter Challenge Guest Post

Today we have a Guest post by Leonor from Felt Buddies:

A few days ago, I decided to respond to this quarter’s challenge and make a colour palette out of a favourite picture of mine. I decided to go with one of my cat Squish.

I used Color Palette FX. If you are using an image of something real, you can almost make sure the colours will go well with each other in different ways and thus have a nice palette to work with.

Jungle SquishIn our daily lives we get so used to just looking at things with narrow focus – my cat is black, his eyes are yellow, plants are green, light is white. But if I take the time to actually notice things properly, I’ll see that there is depth to his black, with purples and blues showing, and his eyes have a beautiful green popping out. The plants are at least three tones of green and the reds and oranges just catch your eye. And look, the light is white, ecru, and yellow.

This is the result of the website’s narrowing of colours, still probably more than I’d notice with a naked eye.

Squish PaletteThe next step would be to choose the colours and the medium to work them. I went with a limited palette of the closest colours I had in my fibre stash. Below, starting on the bottom left: sari silk waste, natural white mohair, three batches of merino (purple, mint green and forest green), short silk fibres and dyed bamboo.

StashThen it was drum carder fun. I had to decide how to layer the fibres: most of the merino was placed first and then I added the other fibres, placing some in between the wool layers as well.

Drum Carder 1More fibre added. I just kept adding fibre until I ran out of merino (or the drum was full, whichever came first. It was the former.)

Drum Carder 2The bottom of the batt…

Bottom of Batt…and here the top of the batt is in all its glory. I really like how it turned out.

Long FibreThe finished item. That top left pile is fibre I took out of the drum carder when I was done.

Rolled Up Fibre 1bMy next step is to spin this, but as always, I still fear my spinning knowledge won’t do it justice, so I suspect it might stay in my stash for a while. Here’s hoping for some (near) future courage…

Rolled Up Fibre 2How about you, what are your plans for this quarterly challenge?

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Announcements, Announcements, Announcements…

First up, the announcement of the winner of the free space in my upcoming Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination online class. There were 38 people who commented that wanted to be in the class. The random number generator chose number 13 who is Linda. Congratulations Linda! I will be sending you an e-mail with further information.

Module 1 of Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques - A Mixed Media Approach, Online Course by Ruth Lane

For the rest of you who commented and wanted to be in the class, you can sign up here. The last day to register and pay for the class is May 13 which is only two days from now. So go ahead and sign up, it’s going to be a fun class. Remember, you do need to have nuno felting and wet felting experience to take this class.

Also, there have been a few questions about when the Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination online class will be repeated. The plan is to complete all four modules and then repeat the entire 4 modules again next year. So it will be repeated.

The next announcement is to not forget that registration for the next Wet Felting for Beginners online class is open. Go here to register. If you know someone who wants to learn to felt, please pass the word to them. This is a very affordable class and is perfect for someone who has never felted before.

Layered, burned synthetic fabric, Ruth Lane

And I hate to do a post with no eye candy. So here is what I made on Friday with my local art group. We layered synthetic fabrics and then stitched them all together. The last step is using a soldering iron to burn out portions of the fabric.

Layered, burned synthetic fabric, Ruth Lane

Here’s a closer view so you can see the holes and the stitching a little better. I think I will put this on to some kind of background but haven’t decided yet how to finish it. What do you think? Would you add a color behind it?

Don’t forget to sign up for Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination online course beginning May 15th!

Posted in Announcements, Free Motion Stitching | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Dyeing with Plants

Our guest artist today is Cathy Wycliff (Luvswool).  She shares her adventure into dyeing with plants.

Recently I went to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas for a two-week artists’ retreat. My plan was to spend two whole weeks felting with some time out for photographing the natural beauty of this area (think NW Arkansas, closer to Tulsa OK than Little Rock, AR. ) I also contemplated doing some natural plant dyeing, but it was the wrong season for collecting some of the natural plant materials in the area, such as oak galls and walnut hulls. I ended up ordering some botanical material from The Woolery, which amazingly arrived two days later!

While awaiting delivery, I got going with natural pine needles from the huge pine tree growing in the backyard. I snipped about two dozen clusters and began boiling them, later adding the white wool (domestic 56’s). The ending color did not jump out and grab me, but still I was pleased with the natural beige color which the pine needles produced–and a bonus was that the smell was heavenly.

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Once my dyes arrived, I got to work rinsing and mordanting the wool (all of the wool I used was domestic 56’s from RH LINDSEY.) I began with madder, but this was quite a lengthy process of soaking the wool for over an hour, then mordanting the wool by cooking the alum and cream of tartar. Later when everything had cooled down, I then added the madder and wool.

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Each dye I used required this lengthy process, and unfortunately, I had only one usable pot. After the first wool was dyed in madder, I changed the composition by adding iron, which developed a deeper color of red/orange.

I continued with the logwood as above, also developing a second shade of purple by adding iron.

IMG_0522Overnight drying time was needed, and here you can see the pine, madder and logwood drying in the kitchen.

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I continued with osage, which achieved a golden color, not orange as is sometimes possible.

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Next you see the osage and deeper shade of logwood drying.

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Although I have done other kinds of dyeing previously–including indigo, food colors, acid dyes and even beets–natural plant dyeing is a whole new level of dyeing. I began thinking about the Native Americans and their use of natural plant dyes, as well as other very early ethnic groups around the world who had no other choices. And they didn’t even have gas stoves!

I was pleased with all of the results, which you can see here:

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Left front –pine needles; Left rear  — osage; middle two shades purple  (+ iron), Middle rear — osage, Right —  two shades madder (+ iron); Right front —  cutch

I am looking forward to additional dyeing this summer, and perhaps even growing some of my own dye plants.

Thanks Cathy!

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Wet Felting For Beginners Online Workshop

Our next “Wet Felting for Beginners” online workshop will start on Friday June 19th. It’s a 3 week course developed to give absolute beginners a good foundation on which to develop their wet felting skills. Not only are there the expected ‘How to Felt’ instructions, but there are also simple exercises designed to show what happens when wool felts under different conditions so you can control the outcome. There is also lots of info on using different types of wool and animal fibres, tips for inexpensive tools, alternate techniques etc. For more info on the course, have a look here: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/classes/wet-felting-for-beginners/ There is all the information you need, including what ‘equipment’ and supplies you’ll need and there’s also a link to a simplified supplies list.

wet felting FOR BEGINNERS flyer JUNE 2015 SMALLIf you’d like to sign up for the course, please use the Contact form at the bottom of the Class information page. Don’t forget to include your PayPal email address in the specified field. Once payment is received, you will receive an email with all the information you’ll need.

Our first class was really successful, if you’d like to read testimonials from some of the students, please have a look on our main Online Classes information page: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/classes/  You can also have a look at some of the work produced by students on the gallery page: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/classes/wet-felting-for-beginners/wet-felting-for-beginners-student-gallery/

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Posted in Online Classes | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Felted Flower Samples for a Class Next Week

I got a request for a felted flower class after some people in my guild saw a  picture of some very delicate flowers on Facebook.  It is going to be a short class done in the evening. I haven’t made any in a while so I had to do a sample.

I made a stem

rolling stem  stem

I also did some stamen. I wrapped them in plastic wrap so they wouldn’t stick to the rest of the flower while I was rubbing and rolling.

stamen

For the body of the flower I used a silk hanky and added a very thin layer of merino  wool.

silk hanky add some wool

and this is the result

finished flowers I also made some little rose like flowers to show them.

roses

Flowers are fun to make and do not take long.  I am going to work on some other methods and see what they want to do at the class. We will make them 2 different way in the class do to time constraints. I will take pictures at the class to show you how the students do.

Posted in Classes, Teaching, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Give Away – Win A Free Online Class Entry

To celebrate my new online class, Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination, I am giving away one free class spot.

Module 1 of Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques - A Mixed Media Approach, Online Course by Ruth Lane

The class start date is May 15th and it is a four week class with 2 extra weeks on the forum. If you would like to win a spot in the class, please leave a comment below. The winner will be announced on May 11th and I’ll contact you at that time with all the details. I would appreciate it if everyone could spread the word about the class on social media and to all your friends.

For more information about the class, go here.  Just leave a comment below to win the free class spot and good luck!

Posted in Announcements, Online Classes | Tagged , | 38 Comments

One Artist’s Journey into Fiber

Our guest artist today is Jill Chadek with Merino and Mulberry in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.  She is also our banner sponsor for May on the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum.

To touch something soft and silky awakens our earliest emotions!
The pleasure of the touch of silk started my exploration of silk painting. A few
years later I was introduced to felting, that magical process of transforming
dampened clumps of wool fibers into cloth! Then, when I discovered that I
could incorporate the two, working the fibers to lock into the silk I was hooked!

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Through time, that magical process of felting has inspired and allowed me to
express my passion for color, pattern and texture. Felting, allows me to “paint”
with fibers to create personal accessories such as scarves, shawls, vest, hats
and handbags.

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Prior to felting I had dabbled in many mediums but none have held my
attention and interest like felting has. I love working with my hands, the tactile
experience of painting with the fine and silky fibers. It still makes me catch my
breath when I wet the fibers down and the wool gets all loose feeling. I have to
remind myself that soon the fibers will start to migrate and tangle and the
magic of creating a fabric will happen right in my hands!

G6 Cloud Dreams20121020_6941If you are new to felting, have patience and have fun! It will be frustrating at
times! There are as many different ways to create felt as there are felters, and
you will find that everyone swears their way is best! So many variables are at
play: the type of fibers, water hardness and temperature, soap, pressure,
thickness, and added embellishments, just to name a few. No wonder no simple
equation will work! It is only through exploration and experience that you will
learn the “feel” of the fibers at the different stages. So have fun and play!

H7 Josie20130904_7157 H4 Ginger20130904_7131

Though I consciously have a design in mind when I start a project, my
unconscious, and the fibers influence my hands and the final outcome, which is
usually fabulous!

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I enjoy that even after all of my years as a felting artist there is still something
new to learn and to explore. Right now I am loving creating hats! I do not use
any hat forms but instead let each hat tell me what shape it would like to be. I
love that while making a fashion statement they are also keeping it’s wearer
cozy warm! I am truly grateful for the joy that I experience in the creation of
each item and trust that wonderful emotions are also awakened in the wearer.
Please feel free to browse my website www.merinoandmulberry.com. It is my hope
that my creations will inspire you to stretch and grow as a felting artist. Also on
my website you can view a video of me using the E-Z Roller Felting Machine of
which I am the international representative. This machine has allowed me to
continue felting when I was experiencing terrible vertigo and more recently
when I had shoulder and neck problems. It removes the 1 negative of felting –
the physical chore of rolling your project, therefore allowing you to focus on the
fun, creative aspect of this beautiful medium. If you would like to learn more,
just contact me!

Thanks for sharing your artist journey with us Jill!

Posted in Guest Artists | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments