Twilight – Nuno Felted Landscape

Twilight – Nuno Felted Landscape

I recently sold several pieces of work at Bigfork Arts and Cultural Center in Bigfork, Montana and I took a new set of framed pieces down. But summer, the tourist season is upon us and I needed to stay ahead and create some new work. I found some pieces of hand dyed silk that I had in my stash and put a stack of prefelt and the silk together so they are ready to felt.

I started with this piece of silk which has been nunofelted to white prefelt. I fold over the edges and what doesn’t stick to the back with felting, I hand stitch in place so I have a nice edge. This piece is approximately 7″ x 11″. Once felted, I look at the piece from different angles and “find” my landscape.

Next up, I free motion machine stitched the background picking out the mountains in the background and some rocks in the foreground.

Next, I decided to add a foreground tree, my go to foreground. I used a variety of hand dyed cheesecloth layers for the main branches and trunk of the tree. But the result wasn’t what I wanted. The background didn’t have enough depth, I needed more change in value and contrast. So I peeled off the tree which luckily came up in one piece.

Then I used a thickened acrylic ink to add darker values and contrast to the landscape. That definitely adds more depth.

Now to look at the tree in place on the background. Much better! Now to stitch the tree. I tacked it down with hand stitching to keep the cheesecloth in place. You can skip that step but it is harder to keep the foot of the machine from moving the cheesecloth out of place. Once it was hand stitched and holding in place, I went back to the machine.

And here’s the finished piece. I am calling it Twilight as it reminds me of a sunset in the mountains. I’m happy with it and I’m glad that I took the time to add some depth to the background before I stitched the tree.

27 thoughts on “Twilight – Nuno Felted Landscape

  1. I think it’s a really good result and certainly more balanced with the darker values you added. This piece should sell very quickly!

    1. Thank you Carol, I hope it does sell, but first it has to get mounted and framed. I usually make 4-5 pieces before I do that so this will be waiting for a while.

  2. It’s lovely! At first, I thought the tree looked a bit too big and rather spoiled the beautiful background, especially in the third picture. However, it seems more streamlined after the machine work you did with the detailing, so to me, it looks more balanced in the final picture. It must be a great feeling to sell your work.

    1. Thanks Jane! The stitching definitely helps to shape the tree and integrate it into the background. It is wonderful to have a place to sell my work that is a fit for what I create. It has taken a while for me to find the right place though, it’s a matter of working through various options until you find a place that works for you.

  3. Isn’t amazing what a difference a bit of paint makes? I think it’s no less amazing what you see in a piece of random dyed fabric and what you can bring out of it. And the tree – I love it. Again it is so simple but not something I would have thought of to do. Try as I will I can’t think outside the “realism” box I’m stuck in – must try harder!

    1. Thanks Ann! The paint did make a huge difference and I love finding the design from the fabric dye. It’s an interesting way to work. I have had a really long journey getting out of the “realism” box too. One way that has helped me is to study artist’s work like Wolf Kahn and to see the variety of colors that he has used to represent trees. And the process shown above in my post, has also helped. I don’t start from a photo and try to recreate it. I use a variety of photos of “twilight” and trees and mountains so I can get the right lighting and values after I have decided the direction I will go. Then I just wing it from there. But the winging it has been based on a lot of prior work of realistic trees and landscapes. It’s definitely a journey that is different for everyone.

    1. Thanks Lyn, the cheesecloth definitely adds great texture. I also like how the matte quality of the cheesecloth contrasts with the shiny silk of the nuno felt.

    1. Thanks Karen! I used acrylic inks thickened with guar gum. It’s used in cooking usually. But it only takes a tiny bit to thicken the ink enough to prevent running on the silk. You could also use sodium alginate or plain aloe gel.

  4. A great result Ruth. The stitching on the tree is wonderful. When I saw the featured picture I thought it was nuno felted. To me it made me think of a burnt tree and the fires of the past few years. Awful but beautiful at the same time.

    1. Thanks Ann! I hadn’t thought of the burnt tree but it does give that effect now that you have mentioned it.

  5. Always so interesting to read about your process Ruth. The finished piece has a lovely glow – Twilight is a great name for it.

    1. Thanks Kim, I’m glad that you enjoy reading about the process. Naming pieces is always a challenge but happy to hear the name fits!

  6. Loving the contrast, Ruth! I’m glad you managed to “correct” your work without messing anything up. Maybe one day I’ll understand the concept of free motion machine stitching and give it a go myself 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor! I was glad to correct it without mishap as sometimes it doesn’t work out that way as we all know. All you need is a nice piece of felt, put your darning foot on, put the stitch length to zero and lower the feed dogs. Then you draw with your needle by moving the felt. It’s lots of fun, you should try it!

  7. Beautiful, Ruth. It’s lovely how you ‘see’ a landscape in a piece of silk and then create it / bring it to life. Looking forward to seeing its companion pieces.

    1. Thanks Lindsay, it’s a fun process that I enjoy and usually gives a better outcome than if I tried to copy a photo. Hopefully, more pieces will be emerging soon 😉

  8. Ruth you’ve pulled another rabbit out of the hat – or in your case another landscape out of the silk & cheesecloth.

    The colours compliment each other & the tree texture, plus delicate branches, are fab.
    It’s as if the setting sun is just over my shoulder lightly highlighting the tree which is almost in touching distance.

    Looking forward to seeing your next pieces & when they are framed.

  9. Beautiful piece Ruth. I love the whole texture of your tree and your work on the background certainly brought life to the overall piece. It is a wonderfully soothing picture 💖

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