‘Waiting for the Surf’ – a seascape from inspiration to completion

Waiting for the Surf - small image

Last year we visited St Agnes, in Cornwall, on a day when there was a cloudless blue sky and a sea breeze.  So for my seascape inspiration I chose two photos of St Agnes beach and a photo of Annie’s ‘Flowers on Coverack Beach’.

inspiration photos - small image

I planned to make the sea the main focus with some pink flowers in the foreground.

I have a square white frame, 50x50cm (approx 20″sq) that I wanted to use, so to ensure that my seascape would fit well, I made a paper template to put under the bubble-wrap as a guide for the layout of wool fibres (photo below left).

I made two fine layers of white merino wool fibres then topped them with a third fine layer of pale blue wool fibres to make a base (photo below right).

template and first 3 layers - smalll image

The fourth layer (photo below left) was just bands of solid colour then I added a fifth (partial) layer of wisps of wool fibres (photo below right) to give the impression of waves and some thinly spread yellow wool blend to look like sand with a length of fancy yarn for the water’s edge…

fourth and fifth partial layer - small image

… and the frilly edges of scrap white felt made the surf (the photo below is after felting).

close up sea - small image

I was just getting out some pink fibres to make the flowers when my son saw the work-in-progress.  I told him it wasn’t finished yet and that I was about to add flowers.  He went a bit quiet – he’s not a flower person – then he suggested that I should just stick a surfboard, upright, in the sand.  Why didn’t I think of that?

I made some yellow pre-felt then cut a surfboard shape from it.  I wetted down the sea and sand before placing the pre-felt on it.

the surfboard pre-felt - small image

After felting, when the seascape was dry, I added the stripes to the surfboard. Each stripe is just a large stitch of single ply cotton knitting yarn.

The felt that shows behind the white mount measures 38x38cm (approx 15″sq).

I’m glad that the days are long now because it makes photography easier. The seascape frame is deep so it stood, unaided, on my garden table … and the light was perfect!

seascape in frame - small image

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Iridescent Butterfly

I was hunting around in my craft drawers a few weeks ago, and came across a stack of butterflies I’d made years ago from fusible film – it’s the sheet version of ‘Angelina’ fibre. I’d inked up a butterfly rubber stamp, laid the sheet over the top, covered with baking paper and ironed it. The sheets are iridescent and change colour where heat is applied, and also become ‘3D’ and mould to the shape/texture they are on when the heat is applied. This is one of the other butterflies I found:

It’s hard to capture all the different colours as they are really shiny, but you can see the texture clearer in this close up:

Most people have probably heard of the ‘butterfly bush’, Buddleja, and how invasive it is. I don’t know if it has the same association with railway lines in other parts of the world as it does here, but it always reminds me of days out to the Sefton Coast, seeing miles of Buddleja alongside the tracks. I had an (odd) idea about recreating the view from the dusty train window of a bright coloured butterfly fluttering around the Buddleja flowers. I wanted to use a piece of synthetic chiffon fabric over the top, which would ‘recreate’ the obscured view I’d get because of the combination of bright sun and dirty windows, and also it’d secure the butterfly. There wasn’t a piece big enough at the well being centre, so I made do with a piece of cotton gauze. It didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped, but it wasn’t a disaster either!:

I even joked with one of the class members that I could pretend I’d meant the gauze to represent a butterfly net! The butterfly kept its shape right until the final rinse, I must have been a bit heavy handed and the slight extra shrinkage crumpled it 😦

Here’s a close up of the irridescence:

I still have quite a few butterflies, so I’ll hopefully think of another way of incorporating them into felt. Have you used Angelina fibres or fusible film in felting?

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Another Great Nuno felt Class

I had another wonderful group of ladies learning to make Nuno felt. I had 5 in the class.

Here everyone is laying out their base wool on the silk blanks I had dyed for the class

Ruth has been talking about layout effecting shrinkage. Some of these ladies are laying their wool along the scarf to get a shorter but wider scarf and the others are laying the wool across the scarf to get a longer but narrower scarf.

After the base is laid down they get to add the embellishments, more wool, curls or silk fibres, hankies or throwsters waste.

Then after much rubbing and rolling and some scrunching and throwing everyone had a lovely finished scarf. the first 2 below put very thin layers so the silk would show through to the wool side.

Everyone seemed really pleased with what they had done and the magic of making nuno felt. I am always amazed at how different everyone pieces are and the surprise when it really works.

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Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 2

Last week I showed you how I made  a cone shape from a flat circle of felt. I also made a shape that is similar to a bowl without using a resist. The shape is created from the fiber layout and directional shrinkage.

I started with a circle template so that my layout would be the same size as the cone shape I made last week. The center of the fiber layout was done radially. So the fiber was pointing from the center outward. Then on the outside of the radially laid fiber, I laid a ring of fiber. I again did two layers of fiber both done in the same way. The fiber is Blue Face Leicester.

I wet down the wool with cold, soapy water and then began rubbing. I rubbed in the direction of the wool fiber. So the center was like rubbing along the hours of the clock. The photo in the middle shows rubbing at one o’clock. I worked my way around the circle rubbing in this manner. Then I rubbed around the outside edge rubbing along the circumference of the circle. This one did not form the shape as easily as the cone did.

I found a glass vase that was the right size sphere to work on. I was careful with my rubbing since the vase was glass. You can see in the photo on the left that the edges are pleated to conform around the vase. I had to rub and rub and rub to get those pleats to flatten out and to shrink the outside edge. In the right photo, the direction of my left hand is the direction in which I rubbed.  I also put the felt wrapped vase on the side and rubbed against the ridged rubber mat. Once the felt was shrinking, I added hot water and continued in the same manner. Next time, I would make the outside ring of fiber a bit wider. I think that would have helped in getting the correct shape.

And here’s the finished bowl. I dried it on the glass vase to keep the shape. It is fulled very hard and holds its shape easily.

Next week I will show you the “bonnet” shape I created. Do you use fiber layout to create a specific shrinkage/shape? I would love to hear what you have done. Join us on our free forum and post about it.

 

 

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Making a raven (and the mistakes in the process)

Around December of last year, I was asked by a friend and customer to make a life size sculpture of a raven. I’d never done one before, so it was an exciting challenge to accept.

My husband, a professional painter and sculptor, helped me create a template. I then created the core with needle felting foam rectangles, which I cut and glued to size. I then covered the foam with wool.

Feathers were another challenge for me, I researched quite a bit online to see how other people were making them and tried a technique whereby you add wool top to fusible interfacing, add a wire in the middle and steam iron everything together, but the interfacing was just too white and showed through. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of these, they would have looked very nice in a differently coloured bird. This part stumped me and took ages to resolve.

I left the feathers conundrum to simmer in the back of my head and moved to raven feet. I made mine out of wire that I covered with pipe cleaners and then wool.

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Although the feet looked nice enough, they were not too lifelike. As it turns out, the wire was also not too sturdy for something this big, since it became clear it was too soft to hold the raven’s body at the angle I wanted. The poor thing stood too much like a duck!

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It became clear I needed to replace the feet, so I did some surgery: I cut the original wire out, then added a sturdier one and repaired the cut site with more wool and felting. I had an idea to use polymer clay on the feet at first because I thought it would look more lifelike but it was an absolute fail: clay, once hardened, has obviously no yield and therefore can’t be posed, which can be a problem depending on the surface you’re placing your sculpted animal on. Back to wool it was.

Enter a magic technique I had never tried before: wax.
Adding wax to wool makes it look less like fibre and more like a proper part of animal anatomy. See below:

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You can see by one of the pictures above that I got the feathers to work eventually. After much musing I cut felt sheets to size and put the sewing machine to work to add the central stem you normally see in real feathers. Some of them still had wire in them for structure.

Because I really love how the feet looked after adding the wax, I couldn’t wait to play with this new-to-me material on another part of the corvid: the eyelids.

Here’s an image of my raven without eyelids. The poor thing looks too startled and weird to be real.

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Now behold, with eyelids!

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What a difference. I wonder how I made it without using wax on sculptures this long.

After making more longer feathers for the tail, my corvid was ready to be unveiled. Photographing black wool is notoriously difficult so I apologise for not having more professional-looking pictures to show, but I believe these show you the end result well enough.

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This chap has been named Huginn (old Norwegian for “thought”) after one of Odin’s ravens. I think it suits him.

I felt sorry to send Huginn to his forever home. After spending so much time (5 months!) working on him on and off, I really built a connection with this character. I’m glad he’s receiving much love and will even have a custom-built dome to keep him protected against the elements…

Let me know what you think of him in the comments, and if you’ve any questions about the making process I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading.

Posted in felt art, Guest Writer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Registration Opens Today For ‘Felted Bags with Teri Berry’

Registration for Teri Berry’s Felted Bags online class opens today! 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 / hand bag (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 May 24, 2018. 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.

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I Finally Finished These Hats.

People in class and on line often ask if they can leave a piece of felt over night or a day and then finish it. The answer is yes most defiantly. I have left pieces over night many times but these 2 hats just did not seem to want to be made. I started one 4 weeks ago and the other 3 weeks ago I think. Every time I went to work on them I ended up with about 15 min. So they just got rerolled and tossed back in the dryer for a 10 min roll/tumble and then they would be ignored for another few days.

The first is sort of a fairy hat. This is the resist shape

When I folded over the wool of the first side I added in two rolled flowers at the top.

Then some leaves and throwsters waste when I added the second side of the hat.

This is what the throwsters waste looks like.

It finished up pretty well. Mostly I am just happy it is done.

And I forgot to take pictures of the other one in prosses but it was the same as the other one this shape. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2019/03/19/the-finished-hat-2/

I used some of the mesh yarn. It is like lattice but in a tube.  I got several colours form them second had store. They seemed to have received a large quantity of it. It seemed to be new rather than someone stash. This is not a good hat. It will not be for sale.

The mesh yarn did not stay strate. Probably me being to enthusiastic with the rubbing or not being careful enough laying it out in the first place.  I  put it to high on the outside which would have been fine it is was even. I also put it to low on the inside so I had to make the hat taller or have an uneven line of white wool and yarn along the bottom edge, when I folded it up. Then to top it all off or the first time ever the marker I used to draw the resist pattern blead into the wool and stayed after all the soapy water and rinsing. I will toss this into the cut up bin. I think I may save the yarn for a different style hat.

Posted in Design, Felted Hats, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , | 10 Comments