Werewolf Boy

1Ghost Girl looks lonely 1

Werewolf Boy:

Last post I showed you the OVWSG sale and exp. between photos I was demoing needle felting.  I brought the ghost girl and had already decided she looked very lonely even with her ghosts on strings. After a bit of consideration I decided on giving her a friend, Werewolf boy.

23Workshop sign up table and the beginnings of a friend  2-3

As you saw before, I made the armature from the same Dollarstore floral wire (no gauge noted on packaging). Learning from experience I doubled up the wire for the legs and arms but the head loop is single. The tail is actually one-piece cut in half and then folded which gave four offset twisted pieces. I made the farther end two strands and the nearer end four strand. I had left a tuft to start the tail and anchor the wire as I was building the body shape.

For this one I wanted to have the appearance of mitts, boots, a hood and muzzle mask, jacket, tail and maybe another basket. Like the ghost girl I wanted the hood to be removable. I still do not have a base. I had wanted to take another wander down the street to the used-to-be-there forest, the crows do not look pleased, but there has been a lot of mud created by the heavy equipment moving tree pieces around into piles. I may be able to get to the scrap pile now that the ground will be starting to freeze. If not I may try to find a piece of firewood and split it. In the meantime, they can enjoy the softness of my working foam (garden kneeling pad from Dollarama $2.50 Canadian.  They should be back in the stores by February).

I made the frame and then decided the shoulders were a bit too wide so adjusted them and started with the boots followed by chest, arms, neck/head and then legs. I am not sure why that felt like the right order. I used wast wool from combing again for the body and primarily locks or teased locks for the costume pieces. The wool is from a dark section of the giant Shetland fleece from earlier this summer.

For the hood and mask I started with the mask, getting the upper jaw then adding the lower jaw. Adding a strap and then worked on the hood. I joined the jaw with the strap and the hood then added the ears. I found the ruff a bit thin and wanted to add as few more curls to augment it. The seam ripper was sitting close by so instead of trimming the locks with the scissors I tried the seam ripper.  Although my seam ripper is sharp it produced a less straight cut then the scissors would have. It also has the advantage of being able to get into spots my larger scissors could not reach.  It may be a useful tool to add to my felting tool box.

Another odd tool was the foam hair rollers which I had picked up in three sizes, again at Dollarama. (No I don’t work there or own stocks in the company but maybe I should look into that?) It made working on the curve of the assembled hood and small basket quite easy.

456

Felting Tools (What you put them in your hair? how odd.) 4-6

78

Werewolf Boy needs a basket for trick-or-treating 7-8

I again got distracted as I was working so there are few pictures (that makes up for the last post!) to make up for such a horrible pho-paw, I had werewolf boy participate in a couple photo shoots so you can see him.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Werewolf Boy dose Photos Shoot 9-13

1415Ghost Girl meats Werewolf Boy and its time to Trick-or-Treat 14-15

These small figures were fun to create and then dress in their costumes. Now I have to find them a better base but that may be best left for a later day.

Posted in 3D, natural wools, Needle Felting, sculptural felt, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

A Felting Adventure

This is a guest post by Lindsay Wilkinson. You can find her here: Lindsay Wilkinson Artwork (Facebook and Instagram). I am also excited to say that Lindsay will be joining us as a regular contributor and I am looking forward to seeing more of her work.


Last week I set off on a felting adventure I’d been looking forward to for a long time. I was travelling from the UK to the Netherlands to do a 2-day wet felted seed pods workshop with Gladys Paulus, an internationally acclaimed felt artist whose work I’ve long admired.

I’m one of those people who cannot go on a walk without coming back with pockets stuffed full of found natural objects like shells, pebbles and seed pods and they have often inspired my felt work so here was the opportunity to learn from an expert.

The first challenge began before I even left home: how to fit everything on that long list of course materials into a suitcase that I could take on a plane? The answer? – ditch most of the clothes.

The venue (Atelier Fiberfusing) was a large warehouse-type building in a beautiful setting which had acres of working space – it was a real luxury for me to work on an enormous bench as my studio work area is pretty small.

 

After brief introductions (my nine fellow participants were all experienced felters from 5 European countries, the USA and Australia) we quickly set about making our first experimental piece using pre-felt we’d pre-made then stitching and felting to create very textured pieces.


Mine looked decidedly like a brain and I love it!

Our second experimental piece investigated differential shrinkage – using the fact that thick felt shrinks less than thin felt – to create shaped structures. I’ve exploited these properties before, for example in making 3D shells, but was still amazed at how much shaping we achieved in our pieces.

Finally we set about our main piece. I decided to work from this small eucalyptus seed pod I’d picked up somewhere on my travels.


We worked on these for the rest of day one and the whole of day two. There was plenty of expert one-to-one advice and support throughout the process and we also got to share in others’ learning as we were encouraged to gather around each other’s benches at key moments.

Here’s my eucalyptus-inspired seed pod. It’s not perfect but I am really pleased with it and learned so much through the process of design, making and experimentation. I particularly like the very textured surface (created by adding silky mohair locks and a small amount of kid mohair) and was thrilled to learn how to create the shaping of the body and how to attach a stem.

We finished by putting all our work together and everyone seemed impressed with how much work and variety we’d produced in 2 days. (Most of these are in the top picture)

Take-home lessons? Lots! I was particularly struck by how different our pieces were even when starting with the same template. There are so many ways you can work with and manipulate the felt and I realize a resist is more of a starting point than a defining feature. I also really enjoyed learning from others, particularly Gladys but also the other participants. Apart from a one-day beginners felting workshop about 8 years ago, I’m a self-taught felt maker but will certainly look out for other group learning opportunities.

I’m now buzzing with new ideas and can’t wait to start using some of the new skills and techniques.

Here’s a bonus photo of the scenery near Atelier Fiberfusing on Sunday morning.

Posted in 3D, Classes, Guest Writer, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Someone send inspiration and help…

I recently moved from London to Edinburgh. When asked why I was moving farther north by my baffled English friends, I couldn’t resist telling them it was because England just wasn’t cold enough for me, nothing but Scottish weather would suffice! Some of them actually believed me…

It’s not easy packing up a whole life and its contents, but having a work studio mixed with the personal makes things even harder. Once almost your whole life is safely hidden in boxes, only half the work is done – the unpacking, deciding where everything goes, both in the domestic and business front, is hard work. I’ve been at it for two weeks already and my new place still isn’t finished!

Feel free to be horrified by the mess and judge me, I can’t hear you.

EA1E1A69-CC8C-4D6C-AC0A-C7D0C0EA1F9A

This was the lovely blank slate I had to work with. The ceiling is very high (typical of early 1900’s flats around here), the wood floor is real and the fireplace works. Happy sigh.
(Now comes the cringe-y part)

34BDEF0B-9734-400B-B25B-7AA74C1CF370

It looks like a hurricane passed by, I know. I think I panicked and simply started to take things out of boxes before I had any inkling where anything should go. I kept coming back to the room, standing in the middle and staring at everything, having no idea how to organise my precious stuff. This went on for days!

IMG_4891.jpeg

After a few days of this my brain seemed to finally awake and I’m now finally able to see where I want most things to be, and I’ve started arranging my fibre slowly.

IMG_2091.JPG

I also got one of those adjustable tables that lets me use the computer whilst standing; I’ve yet to use my chair!

IMG_6162

My sewing table is now tucked into the window nook, affording me a little view of the sea and the stunning cloud formations above it. Inspiration might strike more often from now on with all this weather drama…

227280F6-E3F5-4F81-B68A-BC8BAFA86FA1

I promise my floor is now a lot more bare of items, and I’ve finally figured out where certain pieces of furniture will go. Once it’s all done I’ll even have a knitting chair near the fireplace, so I’m feeling very happy indeed.

Let me know if you’d like to see the finished studio, I’m happy to share.

Have you moved recently? Share your experiences with me so I know I’m not alone in dreading the sight of a moving van or two in the near future…

 

 

 

Posted in fibre, Guest Writer, organising, Studios, Wool | 38 Comments

the OVWSG Guild Sail and Exhibition 2019 and Werewolf boy (a friend for Ghost Girl)

the OVWSG Guild Sail and Exhibition 2019

Last weekend was the OVWSG sale and Exhibition.  Which means almost all the workshop database and layouts for the 2020 Schedule are behind me.  There were a couple teachers with TBD in the info and a couple missing pictures but I am pretty well done for another year. I even got to use the threat that I would write one of two missing teachers bios ! (no one wants to find out what exciting things they didn’t know they had been up to in one of my bios – the threat of me making something up in my version of English has kept missing info to as minimum for Years!) Unfortunately the missing bio arrived so no extra fun for me.

2

2020 Workshop Catalogue

At the sale, I have as couple of jobs. One is photograph the entire event, set up, booths, viniettes that might be usable for next year’s advertising, happy shoppers and then take-down.  It has taken me a bit longer than it used to do all the shots (only 664 shots this year). I pulled 212 for a slide show for Mondays Guild meeting ….. let me pull a few for you. I will try to select more of the felting ones and show you a bit of the rest. Can you spot shots from Ann’s booth?

1

Setup

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Guild exhibit of Wearables

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 OVWSG Sale and exhibition 2019

Yes Friday was set up, Saturday /Sunday were the sale, then the guild meeting Monday and West Carlton’s Guild meeting Tuesday ( I slept through to 11am, was barely able to move so missed their meeting!!), but with enough robax made it to the car  Dr’s appointment on Wednesday.  So I’m still sore, rather tired for so early in the morning and ITS SNOWING. I will apologize to the lemon grass I didn’t get into the house fast enough and the Horse Chestnuts not to have got them planted into their pots.

Another job I had in between the photography was to demo felting. I set up beside Elizabeth who is our workshop coordinator. I had brought ghost girl and had her on the table in front of me. She looked lonely and in want of a friend. (That sound vaguely like Jane Austen) So I started to work on Werewolf boy (who is likely too young to be in want of a wife and I don’t know what his yearly income is or if he wants to go to the Mariton ball). (Maybe the robax hasn’t quite warn off yet)

11-02-19 X&S Saterday (245)11-02-19 X&S Saterday (169)The Workshop table and Felting demo

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Part of the Guild Demo teem

41 Packing up after the show

 

Posted in Fairs and Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged | 10 Comments

3rd Quarter Challenge Finally Finished (well… close enough)

I finally finished my 3rd quarter challenge. As you recall it was a cityscape. It was much harder then most of us thought it would be. I wanted to do something different. I thought about doing a scifi city on another world but no matter what I tried adding to it I wasn’t happy. So think again. I did think about doing an insect city. I even looked up some pictures of termite towers. That still wasn’t it. then I saw a picture of a city at night from space picture. I liked that so tried to find my city. No, it seems the capital of Canada is just to small to both taking a picture of as you whiz by in space. so I decided to make a map. I scaled it so I could see all of the city in a 5×7 inch frame.

The last time you saw it it was at this stage.

I have slowly been stitching in the smaller roads with thin crochet cotton. The lines were too small to try needling them in. At this magnification, there are may roads missing.

It was almost done so I took it with me to work on at the show. It was very busy and it took me all of Saturday to do the two left-hand, top parts. I did the red outline of the city on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is always slower. Why is stitching a straight line so hard?

Next, I trimmed it up ready for its bath.

It is quite a lightweight stabiliser. I picked it so I could trace the picture through it for the outline rivers and main roads. I thought I might have to wait time for it to dissolve but it was gone as soon as it got wet.

Although many people recognized it as Ottawa I think I will label it. I might try doing some other cities I really enjoyed doing this one. So where to put the name.

I like the right hand one best. I think partly because I know the north side of the river is a city too. The north side of the river is the province of Quebec. Ottawa is in the province of Ontario. I will needlefelt the name using some yarn.

 

 

 

Posted in Challenges, Design, embroidery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 4

This is the last in the series of posts about the fabric collage landscape that I have been creating. If you have missed the prior posts, just click on the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. I began working on the foreground by fusing the green fabric to the foreground and creating some rocks.

I used a dark purple fabric for the shadowed parts of the rocks. Then I created some paper patterns for the sunlit areas. I wanted to try and get the perspective and shape of the rocks correct before I cut any fabric. I only had a small amount of the light purple fabric and didn’t want to run out because of poor cutting choices. So I kept refining the paper pieces as I went along.

Once I had the rocks started, I began stitching the trees along the near shore line. I used cut up bits of dark green fabric and then stitched over them. As I said in previous posts, the fabric shifts around and so I wasn’t able to be precious about placement of the fabric. I think this is why it looks more natural because I didn’t have a lot of control over where everything ended up. You can see in the photos above the progression from left to right of the trees and then added a few more moving into the foreground. I actually probably should have done the ground cover first but I didn’t think of it.

So then I added in the ground cover. The part that is further away used a duller color and I used a piece of cheesecloth that had also been rusted. So that gave the rusty color which I think really adds to a more natural look. I kept testing the rocks as I went to see how everything was coming together. I also added a brighter green ground cover in the center foreground where the rocks are sitting. Again, it was a combination of chopped up fabric, thread and yarn.

Next was to create the rocks with fabric. The center photo shows how I added a sheer layer of painted nylon organza to achieve shadows on the rocks. The right photo shows all the rocks completed and fused down. Now on to add stitching details to the rocks.

I started with a dark grey thread in the shadowed areas of the rocks. All of the stitching is done with free motion machine stitching. Then I added black thread as the rocks definitely needed more darkness. The last thread I used was a light purple thread for highlights. I did go back in in several areas and add more grey to get the effect I wanted.

The last step was to add greenery to the rocks on the left. I used chopped up fabric again and carefully stitched it down. This was a bit tedious as the pieces of fabric were jumping around all over the place but I managed to get them all stitched down.

So finally, I have a finished fabric collage landscape. It was a lot of effort and took a long time but I am pleased with the results. I am still contemplating what to call this one. I am planning on framing it with a matte board and black frame. Thanks Antje for giving me the “push” to create this piece. I had a great time working out how to do it and I think I will be doing more of these in the future.

Posted in Free Motion Stitching, Mixed Media | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Experiments & Exhibition

I almost missed my contributing post this time….so this is skidding in with only hours to spare!

The ‘what if’ part of my brain has been active of late so I want to share some of my recent experiments and why I’ve been so busy – making everything else a blur.

A recent purchase (having seen someone on Pinterest using it in her work) was of some space dyed/variegated wool – Merino wool by Malabrigo.

Anyone here in the UK working with wool and fibre will know that, compared to other countries, it is expensive to buy. With this in mind I decided to see just how far I could ‘stretch’ this Merino. With all my test pieces I work to a 30 x 30cm paper template covered in plastic – easy to see under a bubble surface.

When I learnt to do orienteering and map reading as a child I learnt that you have to walk to the stairs before you can climb them!….you are now scratching your heads and wondering at the relevance of this statement….map references are given with the horizontal East-West first followed by the vertical North-South….I know….you are still scratching….!

Remembering my ‘stairs’ I always lay out my fibre horizontally first then vertically as the second layer. Tada – you can now stop scratching! I also add (assuming I remember) a thread to the left side to remind me which is the top and front of my experiment.

Using the variegated Merino I weighed out just 3g in total and then drafted out my shingles very very finely enough to cover the 30 cm square template with 2 layers. For the second piece I again weighed out 3g total of the variegated fibre but this time loosened and stretched it to cover the template. They were felted and fulled then ironed. Shrinkage of the 2 pieces was similar-ish (approx. 30%).

As I wanted to see how fine I could actually make the felt and what the shrinkage would be, I am pleased with the results which in practice would be suitable for a scarf as they have good drape.

Again with cost saving in mind I tried a further experiment using natural wool wadding (Hobbs I think). This wadding is normally purchased for use with quilts and comes with a fine fabric to one side similar to interfacing. In terms of yardage it is much cheaper to buy than wool batting so I wanted to see if I could get it to felt and how it would compare. I spent 2 evenings with this ‘knee warmer’ carefully peeling off the fabric – I finally achieved it with only a couple of weak areas in the process – but I also achieved some sore fingers too!

I cut two 30 x 30cm squares of the wadding. Over the first I laid out 10g of Shetland fibres in 2 layers and over the second piece I laid out 5g of Merino fibres, again in 2 layers.

The Shetland sample (total weight 20g) felted well by hand as the fibres are course, producing a sturdy, even, well integrated, flexible fabric although there is little drape. Shrinkage being approx. 18%.

The Merino sample (total weight 15g) was not so easy to felt by hand. If I do this again with Merino I think I would roughen the surface of the wadding prior to adding the Merino fibres. Shrinkage was approx. 10% which amazed me, so I actually gave it a session in the washing machine – but there was no change to the shrinkage! The fibres are integrated although the direction of the Merino fibres can still be seen, they almost look like embellishment. I’ve tried pulling them off but they are definitely anchored and being held fast. The sample has a lovely soft feel and some drape.


A last minute photo to show the drape – Shetland top, Merino bottom

Then I experimented further with synthetic Crystal organza – except I didn’t do a test piece as I was very time pressured!

I cut out two oval shapes of the organza and placed a fine herringbone layer of white BFL between them then felted using a lot of gentle hand palming, before fulling. I was delighted that both layers of fabric are well and truly integrated with the fibres (they can’t be pulled apart) and due to the stiffness of the organza and the little amount of wool fibre the piece has retained it’s flatness without crinkling….perfect for my needs. If I was to do this again I would ‘fluff’ the fibres as the herringbone gives the organza a ‘grain’.

Now an ‘experiment’ of a different kind – On the forum recently there was a discussion about signing work so I thought I would share my signing journey….

I do like to sign my work but signing 3D textiles is difficult. Over about a year I looked at so many different techniques/methods without any jumping out at me, so I let the ideas percolate.

My signature (whether my full name or my initials) has not changed over the last 40 years so I decided to stick with them. I must have signed hundreds of times on several sheets of paper then chose the best and transferred it to the computer, where I then drew it up digitally, playing with a few ideas before settling on my preferred option.

By this time I had come to a decision – to get a 2 x 2cm stamp of my initials signature made. I sent off the details and drawing and 10 days later a beautiful brass stamp came back. My reasoning for choosing brass is that it will allow me to do several things – 1. With care (as it is not rubber) dye stamping, 2. Hot foil stamping, 3. Wax stamping and 4. Leather stamping. The results of these then give me different options for applying my signature to my work

Now to the time pressure I mentioned above….to create a collection of 5 seeds for an exhibition. The organza experiment had worked, thankfully, allowing me to produce (hours before some travelling) a large Honesty (Silver dollar) ‘seed’ which I took with me to complete – the exhibition was to be only 5 days after my return.

The Snape Art exhibition (25-27 Oct) was the first since 2011 and was a lovely exhibition including works from many artists from a wide variety of disciplines. I was actually one of a team of 4 tasked with setting up the displays of work for which artists could exhibit up to 6 items. Friday was an exhausting day with only a 10 minute lunch as we worked to create an interesting journey through the works. We placed the last number on the last piece at 6.50pm, got changed and were back on duty for 7.20pm ready for the preview evening at 7.30pm….I certainly slept well that night. I’m sure it will be like childbirth….we will forget the pain of setting it up!

The following are just a few photos of the exhibition.

And some of my felt works.

The event was well attended, and we have had some fantastic comments from the visitors including one who hopes it will be repeated next year….!!!

Have you exhibited any work recently?

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments