Our first quarter challenge is to create a piece of jewellery. Unlike some, I do like jewellery and have an eclectic taste from traditional to contemporary….sadly I can’t encash any and make my fortune!!! These days, I no longer have the need to wear jewellery on a daily basis, so I rarely buy anything; if I do, it has to meet my criteria – does it fit my taste, and pocket, and will I enjoy wearing it many times – however last November I saw a brooch cum necklace and allowed myself a birthday treat.
I have enjoyed wearing this necklace and had an ‘ah ha’ moment – an extension of something I have been undertaking for a while – to explain….
Way back when, I went to our local annual sheep fair and, wanting some grey wool fibres, bought a beautifully coloured fleece ranging from pale silver/dark grey with cream/fawn tips – a Coloured Ryeland. At this point I didn’t have the knowledge I have now (I can hear your cries from here!) but learnt very quickly that this wool is ‘extremely’ hard to wet felt. So over the years I have been using bits of the fleece for various projects, mostly as core wool; the fibres are very course and springy but needlefelt well.
Needing a small portable ‘fiddle’ project for much time spent in waiting rooms, I have been making embroidered felt beads and ‘acorns’ etc for nearly 2 years. I won’t re-invent the wheel, describing the process of embroidering the beads, as Rosiepink has a great tutorial – https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2019/04/how-to-do-simple-embroidery-on-felt-beads.html
I’ve been twisting then needlefelting the Ryeland locks to make a ball then adding Merino wool etc as a top layer (this uses fewer expensive fibres – I’m frugal by nature!) before wet felting several balls/beads at a time – the more the better which I roll under a metal tray.
Then the ‘ah ha’ moment came and I repeated the process but as a flat disc. Deciding how thick and the diameter of the core before adding the top layer, has been one of experimentation, but I final got there.
The top layer of wool I have been needle-felting to the core (to ensure firm attachment), before adding any decoration, then wet felting as normal.
Once dry I have had the perfect ‘fiddle’ project, ideal for chilling in front of the TV. I digress here but….when I was about 12, a teacher walking from the back of the class forward, unexpectedly stopped adjacent to me and asked me a question. I replied with the right answer. She never stopped me doodling designs on paper ever again! The decades have definitely elapsed, but I still need to keep my fingers busy!
The delight of embroidering onto felt is that it is easy to hide the thread tails (great for a neatnik) and anything goes so to speak….such as utilising some of my many beads, and threads.
These embroidered discs still need a brooch back attaching to them, then they will be perfect for a pendant necklace, wearing as a brooch or pinning to a scarf etc. I’m now hunting for suitable cords to complete the necklaces for stock.
My fiddle project had a recent trip to Scotland where I met with a fellow Felting and Fiber Studio (I must not say FFS!!!) author Leonor.
Realising that she had moved to within 25 miles of our family destination I made tentative contact. I was delighted with her invite to visit that followed. What I thought would be maybe 2 hours of chatting turned into intense conversation and howls of laughter….that was just us….our menfolk were having an equally absorbing time with art as their topic….5 hours just evaporated as did the generation gap, only further commitments parted us all.
The sharing of ideas and knowledge underpins the FFS (sorry Leonor!) fellowship and promotes friendship across the miles. We definitely will be closing those miles again in the near future, in the meantime we are making do with emails.
BTW I can confirm that the final layout, from Leonor’s post – https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/02/06/studio-space-final-layout/ – was not!
It had evolved again and is a wonderful light filled space of which I’m very envious.
Have you met the first quarter challenge yet? If so please share your work with us on the forum.