above: Colourscape in felt
I was fascinated by this colourful photo of Chilhuly Glass. I love the transparency of the glass and the way the overlap gives a secondary, and sometimes tertiary, colour.
But how to achieve that effect with fibres?
My first idea was to try delicate nuno felt so I cut three circles of fabric (2 are silk and 1 is unknown but it’s open weave) and some lengths of 100% wool yarns that I reduced to one ply.
I arranged wool on each piece of fabric then overlapped the circles. I was hoping that gentle agitation would make the wool fibres migrate into all the fabrics and hold them together.
Long story short – it wasn’t successful and it would have been a waste of a photo to have shown the resulting mess. The thin strands of wool were not ‘loose’ enough to work through the silk but the wool on the open weave unknown fabric was ok. Also there wasn’t enough transparency with the silk.
My second idea was to try cobweb felt. I fluffed up a small amount of wool fibres …..
… wet it down, then added a spiral using just one strand of wool.
I made two more puffs of fibres in a similar way then placed them down as shown in the photo. I felted them very gently.
When the felt was dry I picked it up and I liked the effect but I wasn’t sure where I was going with it – should I make a see through piece that needed light behind it or a piece to be mounted onto a stretched canvas?
Eventually I decided to make my colourscape using puffs of fibres and one-ply yarn on a thin base of bright white merino fibres so that I could mount the finished piece onto a stretched canvas.
Sampling may look like a lot of effort, but it actually saves time, frustration and materials!
Sampling also inspires new ideas.
I made circular puffs of fibres in different sizes and decided to just use one line of yarn on some, but not all, of the circles.
My colourscape developed during the laying the down of fibres to become the almost finished piece, shown below, that I trimmed with a rotary cutter when dry.
The trimmed felt is 43x28cm (17″ x 11″) … and yes … it really is that bright!
I have a lovely assortment of commercially dyed wools: vivid fuschia, vibrant lilac, canary yellow, bright orange, spring green, fluorescent pink etc…
…and the puffs of fibres were see-through enough to imitate the effect of layers of glass.
Then it was time for a bit of pencil-end chewing as I still wasn’t sure of where I was going with it.
I knew I had to keep the circles theme so I sketched out several ideas but none really felt right.
So I put the felt to one side and carried on with other things. The next day an idea formed. I picked up some cookie cutters, an air erasable pen then I drew circles of two different sizes on the cobweb felt using the cookie cutters as guides. I cut them out, shuffled them about, put them back, and I liked the result!
I secured the circles in place with a single-sided fusible fabric, ironed onto the back, then, as this piece so lightweight, I simply applied a thin layer of fabric glue to the fabric backing to attach the felt to a stretched canvas.
Below are some close-ups:
Anyone else taking up the fourth quarter challenge? A colourscape really can be anything at all: wall art, clothing, vessels or perhaps a small piece to put on a greetings card.