With the latest quarterly challenge being Surface Design, and “mixed media” in particular, I thought I would share a couple of the things I’ve made recently that might fit into this category. The first is these wet felted Merino pendants with acrylic paper inclusions and hand embroidery.
I came across a stack of the papers while having a sort out in my studio. They had been sitting in a drawer for several years, being saved “just in case” they might come in useful! They are in a range of beautiful colours and have wonderful textures but my mind was in “use it or lose it” mode…….there was no way they were being thrown out so the pendants came into being.
The second project was an experiment to see how acrylic and Inktense paints would work as a colouring medium for white Merino. I had seen an “elf” style hat and fancied having a go at making one so this became the base for my paint experiment.
Having seen on here that Ruth has a lot of success printing with acrylic on felt, and knowing that Acrylic and Inktense paints are both non toxic and colourfast when dry, (to be colourfast Inktense must be mixed with water, not used in dry form) they both seemed like a reasonable option for colouring a hat.
I started by applying Inktense to the dangly bits at the sides and all was looking good until I noticed I was loosing a lot of colour as the paint started to drip off the end of the wool and puddle on the worktop…..too much water in the mix! I blotted the dangles to remove a lot of the moisture and applied paint again but this time a lot more concentrated. It still ran a little but the wool retained more of the colour and it didn’t stiffen at all. I’m sure if I had applied that concentration of acrylic it would have been very stiff!
Next I tackled the main body of the hat. For this I used watered down acrylic, my logic being that the more water I used the less likely it would be to make the wool stiff. I wanted to avoid saturating the hat and having another puddle so I lightly brushed the acrylic over the wool, some of the fibres not being touched by the brush. Once the acrylic had dried I overpainted with Inktense and I really liked the mottled effect this combination created. Lastly I used thick acrylic around the base of the “tail” as I figured this is the one area that would benefit from being stiffened. After leaving it to dry for a couple of days I hand washed the hat to check it was colour fast and was relieved to find that non of the colour washed out.
To finish off I added a stem with leaves (coloured Merino – not painted) and some colonial knots at the base of the tail. I’m really pleased with the result so will definitely be applying paint to fibre again at some point. Have you tried painting your felt?