Towards the Wolds

The first quarter challenge, Landscape, couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It coincided with a commission to make a Felted picture, which I’ve called Towards the Wolds, featuring a view of countryside just a few minutes from my home. The road, known as Shearman’s Wath, is a route I walk regularly with my dog and it passes the site of a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age Henge.

Shearman’s Wath

I’ve used a view from this road in a previous small textile piece which was commissioned by my local branch of the Walkers are Welcome group. On this occasion I was asked to come up with a design featuring a local view and include a nod to the old Start-right poster of the 1930’s. I used a cotton fabric for the background which I painted with Inktense blocks. The tree foliage was made from needle felted Corriedale fibre and the piece was hand and machine stitched. I loved the two kiddies in the original poster and decided to give them little 3D back packs.

The following images show how Towards the Wolds progressed….from selecting the appropriate colours of Merino fibres to adding needle felted detail, machine stitching and hand embroidery.

Laying out the sky and distant fields
Laying out the middle ground
The wet felting is done but it’s far from finished!

A little needle felting and stitch can totally transform a piece of work and I love building up the detail in this way once the wet felting has dried. Needle felting was used to define the edges of the fields and the roadside verge, add detail to the trees as well as adding lighter shades to areas of hedgerow.

One thing to be aware of when adding machine stitching is that it will “indent” the fibres and so it’s often a case of “less is more” where you don’t want this to happen. With this in mind I chose to machine stitch the field (middle right) which slopes towards the hedge/field but used hand stitching on the hedgerow in the foreground. I originally machine stitched the two tractor furrows in the first field but they didn’t look right. They looked too neat so they got taken out and I roughly hand stitched them, catching down a little bit of dark fibre under some of the stitches as I worked.

I’m now looking forward to starting the second challenge, Seascape. I’m thinking of making that one more abstract and maybe incorporating Lutradur and cocoon strippings in with Merino fibres, making it a mixed media piece. At least that’s what’s in my head at the moment but it might change before I get started!

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21 Responses to Towards the Wolds

  1. ruthlane says:

    Your landscape is wonderful. You have achieved great depth, you could walk right into the picture 🙂 The hand stitching in the foreground adds the perfect touch.

  2. Debbie says:

    Nice use of colors and stitching to create wonderful depth.

  3. annielynrosie says:

    Absolutely love this landscape Karen – anyone would feel that they could just walk down the lane and away into the distance! Your skill with perspective really shows in this piece and your colour choices are perfect.

  4. Nice Karen, you really caught the distance ! I have never tried something like that , i already get difficulties with painting something like that 😉 So,chapeau to you !

  5. Both peices are wonderful. The walking poster is very inviting. the other peice is lovly ans the perspectiv and depth are great as the others have said. I am looking forward to see what you do with the seascape peice.

  6. Janet Morton says:

    This is stunning work. I am only just venturing into stitching on felt but keep doing too much. Less is more as you say. Thank you for sharing the process.

  7. Antje says:

    Stunning Karen.
    I love the modern twist with the kids wearing 3D backpacks!
    Your landscape shows real depth and perspective, but you worked off a very good photo to start. I love your choice of colours and your use of both machine & hand stitching to emphasise the details. How big is this work and will you frame it?

    • Karen Lane says:

      It’s 42cm x 64cm Antje. The couple who commissioned it didn’t want it in a frame so I’ve backed it and added a ring for it to hang from. I’ve got two felt hangings on my wall and this works really well.

    • Antje says:

      Thank you. That is quite a good size! Now you’ve got me curious….as you only mention ‘a ring’, have you backed it with something solid that can take ‘a ring’, or put in a batten perhaps?

    • Karen Lane says:

      I add a heavyweight stabiliser on the reverse of the felt before stitching which makes it nice and firm. I then add a piece of the black garden membrane fabric (weed suppressant) to completely cover the back and hide the stitches. I hand stitch this in place around the edges and sew a ring through the black fabric and the stabiliser to hang from.

    • Antje says:

      Ah ha, thank you for the info.
      Karen would you kindly check your messages on the forum please.

    • Karen Lane says:

      Forum message read and now answered Antje….I must have missed the “Post” button when I thought I had done it it last night!

  8. Fabulous Karen! You achieved great depth and rich color. I feel like I want to jump in and take walk!

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