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.
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.
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!