Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques Registration Opens

Are you ready for a fun adventure in surface design on felt? You can now register for any of the four modules in the Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques – A Mixed Media Approach online class. The classes will begin on February 21, 2020 and are only $45 US for 4 weeks of instruction and 2 extra weeks of instructor support.

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

Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination

Paper fabric lamination is a technique of essentially gluing paper to sheer fabric in a specific design. It is not a new technique and has been used by fiber artists for a long time. When  I first learned the technique, I wondered how I would use the result. Many artists use paper fabric lamination and layer the results together with stitching and other methods. When I looked at my samples, I saw sheer fabric with a design and thought “Why not try nuno felting with it?” I tried it, it worked, and I loved the results. It was a way to use my own designs and create a piece of nuno felt that was completely different and in my own style.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Experimental Screen Printing on Felt

Have you put off trying to screen print because you thought it was too complicated? This is the course for you then. This course will teach you about a variety of methods of screen printing that are fun and easy although sometimes a bit messy! The results on felt are always interesting and you can add your personal touch to your felt projects.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Printing, Stenciling and Playing with Thickened Dye on Felt

Learn to make thickened dye and then use it to make designs on felt or silk. Create your own unique designs with stamps, stencils and stuff found around your house. This course will teach you to experiment and play with thickened dye. Try out this fun course and learn to make your own designs to add to your felt.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

Machine stitching on felt adds wonderful details and is a simple process. It does take a bit of practice but I can show you ways that make it much simpler. Have you always wanted to add that extra touch of stitching to a felt picture or add lines to your composition? Free motion machine stitching could be your answer. This is one of my favorite ways to add texture, line and pops of color to my felt.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

As always, our Wet Felting for Beginners online course is always available.

Learn the basics of wet felting including layout, adding embellishments, how to felt and full, shrinkage rates and more. Take the mystery out of how to wet felt by joining us in this online class with unlimited access. It’s only $20 US!

Learn something new in 2020!

Posted in Announcements, Classes, Online Classes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Trash-in’ The Ocean

Photograph by Jordi Chias

Last year I joined the Wey Valley Workshop, an exhibiting textile group based in west Surrey (UK). The theme for this year’s exhibition will be “re-use, recycle, re-purpose” and titled, “Adapt, Adjust, Amend”.

I have long considered myself (and most felt-makers) to be a Womble at heart, making this an ideal exhibition theme. For those who do not have childhood memories of these fictional furry beasties from the 1970’s, they were among the original recyclers, decades ahead of their time, collecting rubbish left by others and finding new uses for it. As I write this post the theme tune is running through my mind….

Underground, overground Wombling free, Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we….

Making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind.

By our very nature, using wool (a waste product of sheep husbandry) as our principal material we felt-makers are already up-cycling other people’s “rubbish” but many of us also scour charity shops for unwanted fabrics and felting tools (AKA children’s toys, massage tools and kitchen equipment), old rubber mats, plastic shelf liner… the list is endless, in our pursuit of textile happiness.

For my exhibition piece I wanted to highlight the growing issue of plastic detritus in our oceans. The impact of human activity on the wildlife in our oceans is truly horrific, I have been reduced to tears time and again by they photos and videos I encountered while researching this project. The impact of plastic affects all ocean-dwelling species, from the the larger pelagic species and seabirds found dead or dying from gut obstructions (caused by swallowing plastic carrier bags) or intestinal perforations (caused by ingesting shards of plastic), to turtles and fish entangled in the plastic rings from multi-packs of drinks and discarded fishing nets, down to the tiniest crustaceans ingesting micro-plastics.

Terrapin trapped in plastic packaging; before someone feels the need to comment I know these are fresh-water inhabitants, it serves to illustrate how rubbish in our rivers flows downstream to our oceans.

I knew I wanted to upcycle some waste plastics into my exhibition piece and that it would have an aquatic theme so I put a call out for mesh plastics on local social media sites and to the Wey Valley Workshop members, I was inundated with donations, this is just a fraction of the plastic netting I received….

Many, many thanks to all the wonderful people who donated to this project, I will make sure they are put to good use and don’t end up in landfill.

My initial thoughts were that the netting would look like fish scales when felted into the surface but the more I pondered this exhibition piece the more I started to see possibilities in all manner of items that would normally go in the recycling bin and a few items I could rescue from the horrors of landfill. So I started collecting all manner of “rubbish” much to my other half’s bemusement. 🙂

Unusually for me, I refrained from immediately making the most complicated fish imaginable, instead sampling a wide selection of plastics, including food netting, carrier bags, drinks bottles, sweet wrappers, bread bags and the trays soft fruits are often sold in.

The sweet wrappers were a surprise, they feel like plastic but once they were wet with warm soapy water it became apparent that they were organic in origin; they became slimy and slowly disintegrated while I was fulling the felt.

Already impatient to stop sampling and start making, I started experimenting with different resist shapes for the fish, of course I had to start with my most complicated idea first…. 🙂 This is a yellow box fish, made using a book-resist and strips of deep purple carrier bag between the layers of wool. He is a bit of a disaster but with a lot more work he might still make it into the exhibition.

My next two “water babies” were a little more successful, this time using plastic mesh for surface decoration.

I plan to add some plastic pectoral fins to this little chap.
Close up of the plastic netting

Plastic bottles and food trays have proved useful in my attempts to replicate coral (employing a fair amount of artistic licence of course).

I plan to colour the plastic and entwine it more evenly amongst the felt but I am mesmerised by how the shiny plastic and matt felt augment each other’s qualities.

Some of my other plastic bottles have the potential to be become jelly-fish, what do you think? Try to imagine this piece upside down with slubby yarn tentacles….

This just the beginning for this piece of work; looking forward, I hope to incorporate crisp packets (which invariably end up in landfill) into some fish and I envisage all of these elements (and lots more, yet to be made) forming a 3D coral outcrop that could be hung from the ceiling.

Has this post struck a cord with you? Would you like to do more to lessen your personal impact on the oceans? This link contains several helpful suggestions, some of which I expect you are already doing but there may be one or two you haven’t considered yet. Please add a comment your thoughts on this topic and any novel steps you are taking to minimise your “footprint”.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Teaching an Inkle weaving Workshop

I am a multi-craftual person.  That’s a nice way of saying I get easily distracted by many things.

One of the things I do when I am not felting is weaving. While my back hates me I have downsized to just weaving on my inkle loom and Kumihimo braiding, but am hopeful that I will again be able to weave on my floor looms, table looms and warp waited loom. I am patent and have hope that my back will forgive me.

I enjoy Inkle weaving for its comparative portability, ease of set up, and the simplicity of weaving. You have only two choices of sheds, the up or the down, so pattern is created by the order you put on the colours of yarn. You can also use variegated yarn to make the weaving even more interesting but with less colour changes.

11 – Looms, yarn, notes, suplys coming in to the guild studio for the workshop

Glenn did all the heavy lifting. I had selected two warp options for the students, the first #10 crochet cotton (excellent because of its high twist and smoothness but would take about 37 to 40 heddles, so very slow to set up.) Or a much larger but not as tightly twisted cotton (this option only took 19-20 heddles, so much faster to set up and weave)

22 – The options for Warp yarn #10 Crochet cotton or the thicker softer cotton

33 – setting up for the workshop, and found one of the two missing looms.

We got there early so I could set up and also track down the missing guild Inkle looms. I found the floor Inkle but not the second table Inkle. It may have been out as a rental loom. Luckily, I had brought two of mine, a table Inkle and my favorite a homemade floor Inkle with a silk band in progress.

44 – Lesson breakdown and count of warp threads both yarn sizes (the glass doors on the Ikea cabinets make a grate white board)

The workshop was an introduction to Inkle weaving and tot how to set up the loom, start and stop weaving and how to make a slit or in this case two slits within the woven band.  The project, to make use of all this new knowledge, was a scissor pocket necklace (complete with Chinese snips!). There were extensive notes (like a small book) in case the students forgot anything, a measuring tape, a pack of pencil crayons with sharpener and of course a box of smarties (you have to take the class to find out why that is important!). We also used a fringe twister to make the cord to hold the scissors in the pocket.

 

565-6 –the notes and the important smarties

We had a class of five, a couple of which had never woven and a couple who had.  This time everyone went for the larger cotton that was faster to weave and required less heddles.  I showed them the double loop heddle method since it’s much easier to fix problems and I got to demonstrate this with one of the warps.

I had brought samples, most were mine but I had been gifted with bands from other weavers too. the blue band and the green band near the front shows what happens if you use a variegated weft (the thread that hides under the warp threads and only shows at the edges) in this kind of weaving.

77 – Samples of inkle and other 2 harness woven bands

I showed them how to figure out the length for their heddle loops and the paths the warps threads traveled. I then suggested the students to pick at least one solid and one variegated to make there warp. By lunch all looms were warped and after a brake for lunch and to let some of the new information sink in we were on to weaving.

 

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8-14 – Inkle bands in class

By the end of the workshop we had new weavers!! I hope they will find Inkle weaving as fun as I do. We got to see two of the scissor pockets at show and tell two days later at the guild meeting.

 

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15 – a completed scissor pocket necklace and a new weaver!!!

 

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16 – This is my sample in #10 Crochet cotton with beads as decoration on the fringe

Now why would a felter want to know about Inkle bands? Well they make wonderful straps and can be woven as a tube for a more comfortable shoulder strap. Or even better, woven as a flat attachment to a felt bag then switch to weaving as a tube then back to flat again. You can try weaving with wire and make a hatband too.

Posted in Uncategorized, Weaving | 5 Comments

A zen sculpture and some cuteness

I saw an interesting Zen sculpture on Facebook. Now I can’t find the picture to link to of course. I think it was one of the Russian felters. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting resist and sculpture so I would see if I could do one.

first I made some circles. each one a bit smaller than the last one. then I cut out a bit where I would join them.

Then I used some duct tape to join them.

I forgot to take a picture of the layout before felting but here it is when I was about to cut it open and remove the resist.

Here it is finished. My husband’s and grandson’s first words were that it looked like a snowman, specifically Olof from Frozen. It looks a little better against the colourfull background.

It wasn’t a bad first go. I would make the balls smaller next time.  Also, the bowls need to be wider and flatter by comparison to the balls.  I would start early to make the bowls flatter and wider. Also, I am not happy with my colour choice. I think a solid colour might be better.

And now for the cuteness

These are the bottle lambs.  Some got cold and didn’t go back some had other problems. on of a set of 4 had a strange leg that is now much better and not causing him problems but of course, it’s too late to go back to mom now. The white one my husband is holding is called Prince Ali, named by my granddaughter. The lambs are having a bigger pen made for them as I type.

 

Posted in Design, Experiments, sculptural felt, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

25 Million Stitches

A couple of people have introduced me to the project 25 Million Stitches. After taking a look at the site and seeing the work being created and the vision behind it, I thought all of our readers might also be interested in the project. The site has a lot of information so make sure to look through all the pages. Take a look at the 25 Million Stitches website.

Here is what the project is about in the words of 25 Million Stitches administrators:

The world is in flight. 25 million people* across the globe have been forced to flee their homelands as a consequence of genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, targeted violence, and other grave threats. They leave behind everything they’ve known and possessed in order to live; they face immense struggles, misfortunes, and perils on their journey; and, through it all, survival, much less successful resettlement, remains but the slimmest hope.

Please join this project to hand-stitch 25 million stitches: one stitch for each refugee. How does making 25 million stitches help refugees? We believe that this project is a way for us to engage with this global crisis instead of ignoring it. And even though no single stitch can fully represent an individual, the act of stitching and the resulting work will help bring attention to the scale of the crisis. Two objectives of the project are:

  1. To engage as many people as possible to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis and

  2. To amass 25 million stitches to visually represent the sheer volume of this astronomical figure of refugees.

This is a community art installation. We are asking volunteers to hand stitch on fabric panels. We now have over 1,400 participants from 44 states and many countries overseas. However, another 1,000 panels will be needed to be stitched to add up to 25 million stitches. This huge community art project will come together into a single striking fiber arts display. When the panels are returned to us, we will assemble them in a grand installation of everyone’s personal expression of solidarity and support for the refugees. Once woven together with other lovingly contributed panels, each contribution will be a part of a tapestry of profound community support ⁠— but we can’t do it without your participation!

Take a look at the panels that have been created so far here.

Here is a rendition of what the inaugural show might look like. The rendition is by Joe Weber. The first show is planned for June 2020

at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA
June 5–August 15, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 5–7 pm

I also wanted to share with you the 25 Million Stitches pieces by people that I know. Josie Dakers-Brathwaite, one of our forum members, recently shared on Instagram that she got together with a group of stitchers to work on their pieces.

Here are Josie and some of the group. They look like they were having great fun. This photo was contributed by Lenny Van Eijk, thanks Lenny!

And here are some of the works in progress. The photo on the right was contributed by another of Josie’s friends, Sarah Fader, thanks Sarah! I hope that we’ll get to see the finished pieces as well!

This is a work in progress by Penny Peters. This is just a portion of the design, this is about a third to half of the full panel.

Sally Glutting, in my art group, also created a piece for the cause. The photo above is Sally’s stitched piece that she is contributing to 25 Million Stitches.

I’m not sure that I currently have time to create a piece for this but they are looking for more participants. If you’re interested, check out the information on their website. If you have created a piece for 25 Million Stitches, we would love to see it. Share it with us on the forum.

Posted in Announcements, hand stitching | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Studio Space -“Final” Layout

On my last post, I showed you my new studio space. I had just moved in and my beloved fibre was still very much scattered around, and I felt a little at a loss as to where I should place my furniture.

It’s been 3 months, so how have things progressed?

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The quick answer is, very much as I’d expect – there’s still work to be done! For good reason, however: I’ve been busy working on a new collection and have been concentrating my energy on that instead of changing things around.

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I did manage to add a little touch of whimsy to this corner. A few of my for-dyeing fibres are tucked in those cubicles, and I managed a way to show off a few o my hand spun art yarns, as well as some commercial ones I have plans for very soon.

Holes in the walls are a no-no, so I’m buying some MDF, placing it behind the shelves and  drilling that instead to keep my vertical storage organised. Having it propped against the walls as is isn’t agreeing with me.

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My little reading corner, currently filled with work stuff. When I’m sewing I feel I never have enough space to place my finished items.
I managed to add a little artwork to the walls, to liven the place up. My ceiling is very high and the bare walls looked a little sad. Wish me luck when it’s time to remove them…

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Placing the sewing table in front of my window was both smart and silly. I get plenty of light (my initial reasoning) but when it’s windy I can feel the draft from the window ventilation slots. For now, it stays where it is, but I might change it later.

Have I told you I named the sewing machine Marge?

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My former dining table can be completely stretched now, which is lovely. It might look chaotic but every item is in use for my current project! Ok, most items are.
Spot the Christmas wreath in the background… it’s needle felted.

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I made this wreath for my husband, who had to spend the holidays by himself in Scotland. I wanted him to enjoy a little seasonal joy and made this in a couple of hours. What do you think?

That’s my tour of the studio space. I’m still going to add more artwork to the walls, and might change the big table’s orientation. Other than that, I’m very happy with my work area and have found my energy is higher here, especially now that the days are growing longer. I’m looking forward to working in my corner during Summer.

Posted in 3D, felt art, Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Made From Felt, natural wools, sculptural felt, Spinning, Wool | 14 Comments

Terry Berries Felted Bag Online Class

Registration for Teri Berry’s Felted Bags online class is now open! This is a great course and was well received, so it’s exciting it’s being run again. There are limited spaces available so if you want to register, click on this link and fill out the registration form.

During this 5 week course, you will have the opportunity to make at least 3 bags/purses.

In week 1, you will make an animal themed spectacles/phone/pencil case, this could be in the image of your favourite pet or a friend’s pet (they make very thoughtful gifts) or a mythical beast of your own imagination! You will use multiple resists, introduce some nuno felting and make a closure entirely from wool.

In week 2 you will learn to make a small to medium shoulder/handbag (purse to our US friends), this tutorial will demonstrate how to add internal pockets, a magnetic clasp, adjustable shoulder straps and take shaping the felt to the next level so the bag has a flat bottom and stands up on its own.

The week 3 tutorial is a little more ambitious, you will learn to make a backpack with adjustable straps, multiple internal compartments and internal pockets.

Weeks 4 and 5 will be for catch up / further development, you might like to apply your own design to a bag, Teri will be on hand to answer any questions and talk through any challenges your design might create.

As with all the online courses, there will be lots of opportunity to share your work with the rest of the group and share ideas.

The content of this workshop is suitable for felters with some experience, you do not need to have made a bag before but if you are confident making felt pods, bowls etc. over a resist you will be able to make these bags.

The class begins on February 13th. The price for this five-week course is £60 GBP (approx. $79 US, $105 Canadian, €70, $112 AUD, $119 NZ) and the number of places will be limited to 30 students.

Sign up here.

Posted in Classes, Felt bags, Online Classes, Teaching, Uncategorized, workshops | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment