3rd Quarter Challenge Entry from Teri Berry

3rd Quarter Challenge Entry from Teri Berry

This is a guest post by one of our forum members ‘Teri Berry’. Teri has a wonderful blog if you’d like to see more of her work. Teri has completed the 3rd Quarter challenge in record time and tells us about it here:

Marilyn posted the 3rd quarter challenge a couple of weeks ago, initially I was disappointed because this meant I had been mulling over the 2nd quarter challenge for so long I had missed the end of Q2 (shame on me). Determined not to let the same happen again I was spurred into action. I already had an idea from Q2 that I wanted to use silk cocoons to add some three-dimensional impact, a little bit like this sample:

Teri 1

Added to this, I have been wanting to interpret a favourite photo taken by my better half on a diving trip into felt for far too many years so this seemed the ideal opportunity. Isn’t this fish a beauty?

Teri 2

As per Marilyn’s challenge instructions, I ran this photo through 2 programs, Colour Adobe and Palette Fx.

Teri 3

Teri 4

I much preferred the wider range of colours provided by Palette FX so set about dyeing some cocoons, yarn and silk while blending some previously hand dyed Norwegian and Merino wools (with a little bit of dyed trilobal nylon for some sparkle – I’m a sucker for a bit of sparkle!).

Considering the materials were all dyed in the same bath, I was surprised by the range of colours that came out of the orangey brown bath, everything from bright orange to a lovely chestnut brown. These are the carded batts:

Teri 8

I started by laying out two tones of purple, when the piece is fulled, these different tones will create subtle areas of light and dark on the face of the hanging.

Teri 9


Then laying out the batts, I love working with batts, they are so quick and easy to lay out.

Teri 10

I like to think about movement and the balance of colours and tones when laying out my wall hangings, I find repetition of shapes and colours works well. Here I have laid out 3 deeper colours and added splashes of a bright colour to create movement. I think it is important to keep stepping back and looking at your piece, if it doesn’t feel right now, it’s unlikely to feel right as you add more layers and detail.

Next I added my dyed cocoons, ponge 5 silk and felt ropes for extra texture before wetting it out to regain some control over the growing pile of fluff.

Teri 11

Then some of my dyed yarn, I was thinking about how to lead the viewer’s eye around the hanging when laying these out.

Teri 12

Looking at it again, I felt it was too dark and needed more contrast and the large bumps from the cocoons needed to be balanced by something, the solution, to add some yellow chiffon with felt pebbles underneath.

Teri 13

I made some prefelts with the left over batts, I love working with prefelts and silk papers, they permit a far wider range of shapes than I can create with loose wool tops.

From these I started cutting out shapes, laying them on the base. For me, this stage is very much trial and error; placing piece of felt, deciding I don’t like it, cutting them into smaller pieces, swapping them out for other colours, moving them around. After some time I finally settled on this.

Teri 14

And started rubbing, and rubbing, and rubbing…. I quite like the look of the plastic covered in suds with the design showing through.

Teri 15

More rubbing, and finally a bit of throwing (the large bumps created by the cocoons made this a difficult piece to roll).

Here is the fulled piece after opening up the cocoons to reveal their dyed innards, contrasting with the wool wrapped over their surface. I’m really pleased with the one that spilled out a trail of silk as I opened it up.

I was a little bit disappointed with how the edges of the orange prefelts had gone fuzzy (I should have used a firmer prefelt) so added some machine embroidery to visually sharpen the edges again.

Teri 18

Letting me loose with a sewing machine on a piece of felt is a risky move, I couldn’t stop a just “fixing” one area 🙂

After looking at it the next morning, some more embroidery was needed…

Unlike most of my hangings the felt on this one is relatively fine so instead of hanging from a sleeve or wooden rod I decided to mount it on a canvas frame. To ensure the felt doesn’t stretch and go baggy over time I fixed it to a sheet of poplin cotton with running stitch before stretching it over the frame and stapling it into place.

Teri 25

Thank you Ruth, Zed, Ann and Marilyn for inviting me to post on the forum, this has been a real pleasure. If anyone would like to see some of my other work, please feel free to visit my blog at http://teriberrycreations.blogspot.co.uk

Thanks Teri for sharing your work with us!


31 thoughts on “3rd Quarter Challenge Entry from Teri Berry

    1. Thanks Lyn, unfortunately my walls are already crammed with felt hangings, as much as I love this piece I am steeling myself to sell it (one day).

  1. I just love this! I do needle felting, because I can’t handle the water, but boy does this tempt me to try my hand at it to see how it would go! I needle felt pictures these days, but does that ever have an amazing look! And the sewing on there! Fun!!!

    1. Thank you Ravyn, I confess I struggle to make a whole piece with needles – I can’t handle the bloodied fingers! 🙂 If you do take the plunge into wet felting we would love to see what you make (and your embroidery) over on the forum.

    2. I rarely get myself… I would have to say maybe once per project, and if you are properly needle felting, you should never clip your fingers (but really, who does it correctly?!?) And thanks! I will have see about trying sometime soon!

  2. I love all the techniques you used. Silk cocoons have been puzzling to me. It was fun to see this creative use of them. Your free motion stitching added a lot. Really lovely!

    1. Thank you Karen, I confess, using the cocoons in this way was the result of having some in one of those experimentation packs and trying to figure out what to do with them. There is a thread on the forum about how to use some of the more obscure items like silk rods, I think most of us find them really interesting but can’t figure out how to use them in felt 🙂

  3. Thanks for walking us through your thought process on this stunning piece. You really achieved some beautiful colours in your dyeing and movement around the piece with your layout. I’m happy to see you framed it. A truly wonderful finished piece! Thanks for participating in the challenge.

    1. Thank you for posting the challenge Marilyn, without you this piece would not have been conceived. Afraid I can’t take credit for the colour choices either, that was all down to the photo and pallete FX – a great tool! I have already fed more photos into it for my next piece (probably a hat).

    2. The color generators are nice little tools in our creative toolbox. I’ve done several and am always amazed what the eye doesn’t see. I’m glad you enjoyed the challenge. We certainly all enjoyed your piece!

  4. How lovely is this, Teri! I really enjoyed reading about your process. The dyed fibres came out stunning, and the framing of the finished object just gives it a great ‘serious’ look that I really like.

    Come back often to share things with us! 😀

    1. Thank you Leonor, it’s funny how just stretching a piece over a frame can elevate it to look more “grown up”.

  5. Thanks for the great post Teri! It is always wonderful to see what everyone creates for the challenges. Your piece is stunning. Is it for you or will you try and sell it?

    1. Thanks Ruth, I would love to keep it but need to convince my other half that we need to extend the house to accommodate a gallery of my felt. If he loves me, he’ll do it won’t he? 🙂

  6. It’s not only a beautiful piece you’ve crafted, but I appreciate your sharing the thought process on the creative process. Nicely done!

    1. Thank you Ann, I think the colour generator did a great job providing some complimentary colours for a bit of “zing” 🙂

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