Suffolk, Banana, Masham and Bamboo

Suffolk, Banana, Masham and Bamboo

I’ve used banana fibre tops with Suffolk wool tops before, so I know they look really interesting together. I fluffed up some of the banana fibre, and added it to the top of the Suffolk. Though I used lessl of the banana fibre than I have previously, I wasn’t disappointed by the results.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis angled picture shows the texture more:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the centre part

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a supermacro of the wool and fibre texture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the middle along the right edge is an area where the fibres are a little thicker. In the top photos it looks quite dense, but a supermacro close up shows the tangle of wool and banana fibres.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd from this angle you can see the pattern even better

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother combination of wool and fibres I found really interesting is Grey Masham and Bamboo top. I’m not sure if Masham is classed as a coarse breed, I think its Micron count is between 29 and 34. It’s certainly more ‘wiry’ than fine wools, but is still quite soft to the touch. The contrast of the wool and sheen of the bamboo was quite striking, yet at the same time, the wool seemed to ‘absorb’ the fibre. This is the whole piece from an angle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is slightly closer and from above, there’s an area in the centre with barely any fibre on it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the dense patch just to the right, it’s interesting to see how the fibres are still affected by the characteristics of the wool even when they are thicker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the area just left of centre at the top of the piece, showing dense and sparse patches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you’re not getting bored of these because I have about 30 other breeds of wool and about 15 natural fibres, I’m not going to do the maths, but that’s quite a variety of combinations I can come up with!

18 thoughts on “Suffolk, Banana, Masham and Bamboo

  1. I enjoy reading about your experimentation – keep it coming!

    Can’t help but think how pretty all these bits would be chopped up and sewn up. I think you mentioned this before?

    1. Thanks Lyn πŸ™‚
      Yeah, I can’t decide between panels spaced on a background, or maybe all trimmed to a similar size and stitched together or even a massive collage of smaller pieces. I’d say they are all safely in a box until I decide, but I’ve already used the herdwick and hemp piece in a frame and on a card, so who knows!

  2. .Very impressive texture. Also, very impressive photos. If I had something like this, I would want to present it in such a way that the viewer would stand close to it. Very small.

    1. Thanks, Judy πŸ™‚
      These probably end up about 6 or 7 inches square, so you would have to stand close to see details. Some details I can’t see without the supermacro photos really, just the overall effects, the supermacro kind of shows you why or how.

  3. Although you don’t know how you will eventually use these experimental pieces, it’s fascinating to see how various fibers react with each other. Your photos are excellent, but as Judy noted, I think these pieces are best seen up close and personal.

    1. Thanks Cathy πŸ™‚
      I think ‘how’ the pieces will end up being used is a kind of ‘by-product’ really of the learning and creating process. I kind of feel like they should be used so they’re not ‘wasted’, stuck in a box, but framed has worked nicely for some I’ve tried. Maybe they’d look good just mounted on display board … in a large solo exhibition … at the Tate πŸ˜‰

  4. I love all these textures. Is the banana fibre soft? The Masham looks spongy from the side view. They are definitely meant to be touched and seen in person. I like the idea of spaced panels. Each needs to stands on it’s own and not compete. I’m sure you’ll find the right venue. By the time you’re done with all your samples you’ll be able to line the walls of your flat!

    1. Thanks, Marilyn πŸ™‚
      Banana fibre is soft, but seems to maybe be a bit ‘thicker/wider?’ than other fibres. Is denier used for fibres the way micron is for wool? Other fibres definitely seem finer. There are a few I’d describe as ‘hackly’, they tend to be a bit more ‘jagged’ or kinky rather than felting in soft waves.
      This is a good example:
      Banana is at the top, Ramie at the bottom is similar, the other two white ones are Ingeo and Milk and form softer waves.
      I think I’m in geek mode today πŸ™‚

    2. Thanks Zed. Geek mode is good occasionally! I can’t wait to see more of your fibre experiments!

  5. Great textures – I love seeing all the different samples and what happens differently with each. And yes, I agree, the fun is in the experimentation not necessarily the end product.

    1. Thanks, Ruth πŸ™‚
      I think I’ve always felt like I’ll never get out of the ‘experiment stage’ and find my ‘thing’ like a lot of felters do, but that’s fine with me πŸ™‚

  6. Zed, after reading the comments on this posting, I had a brainstorm! Your fibrous samples would be perfect for a children’s museum where kids are allowed to touch and feel. You could propose this as an educational exhibit to a local museum. I think this would be very popular. So maybe not the Tate, but “touch & feel” museum?

    1. That’s funny, Cathy, because I live near the Museum of Science and Industry and they have a fibre room with displays which show the raw material for fibres, like wood or coal; some samples of the fibres; and then they have a piece of fabric which you can touch through a little hole. I don’t know if they’ve replaced them over the last 20 years, but they are very grubby, and after I went recently I was saying to my girlfriend, I should go and ask them if they want some of my fibres like milk and some felt samples using them. Maybe I’ll email them and ask if they’re interested!

  7. I like your experiments. i get to learn and you get to do the work. πŸ™‚ I think it would be nice framed. maybe 3 peices with the one in the middle turned 90 degrees

    1. Thanks, Ann πŸ™‚
      The pieces I framed looked really nice and the frames were really cheap ones. I bet they’d look great with reclaimed wood or driftwood frames.

  8. Zed, I say go for it with the Museum of Science & Industry. A personal visit with your samples might be even better…keep me posted! If they can’t pay you, have them put your name on a plaque!

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