Today we have a guest post from Lyn
The inspiration for ‘Last Sandcastle of Summer’ came from a recent day-trip to Sandbanks in Dorset.
We’ve enjoyed weeks of glorious weather and I love wriggling my toes in the warm sand and watching the sun sparkle on the sea, but the weather’s broken now and I’m not looking forward to the cold of winter. When I got home I looked through my old photos and found some of my grand-daughter playing in the sand.
I wanted to capture the last of the summer in a picture so I started to lay out merino fibres to make the background beach, sea and sky. I didn’t want to add details such as boats or other people so to add interest I placed three strips of fabric across the wool fibres.
The pieces of fabric were cut from loose-woven scarves that I’d found in charity shops. The blue/white scarf shown on the right has been my favourite for making skies and I only have a couple of inches left – I’m desperately trying to find another!
This is the resulting piece of nuno felt, after drying, finished size approx 36cm square – I didn’t worry about the edges because I knew it would be trimmed and placed behind a white mount before framing.
I made a paper template of the shape of the child then tacked it, with large hand stitches, in place on the nuno felt. I also pinned a piece of lightweight interfacing onto the back of the felt – it helps with stitching and with moving the felt around on the sewing machine table. With the feed-dogs down on the sewing machine and a darning foot fitted, I used black thread to make a quick outline of the child.
I removed the template then I cut scraps of organza into small rough triangles and attached them to the nuno felt using fine fusible web. The shadow was formed with dark grey organza and the skin areas were covered with a few pieces of very pale grey. The hat and clothes have layers of organza – bright on the bottom and darker on the top – in autumnal colours to signal the end of summer.
Tip: unless you like cleaning the sole plate of your iron, use plenty of baking paper under and over the felt during ironing! Also, the felt needs to cool down before moving it as the fusible web will be stronger after a rest.
Then it was back to the stitching. It’s all very quick and ‘rough’ – except for the face because the profile needs to be sharp – and the eye was stitched by hand.
To add textural and colour interest, I gently abraded the top layer of organza, on the hat and dress, with the tip of a craft knife.
The lovely ‘quilty’ texture is achieved by the machine stitching on the nuno felt.
If you have any stitching on felt pictures that you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments – we’d love to see them!