Forest Floor Beginnings

Forest Floor Beginnings

I went through some of my sketchbooks/workbooks from my prior classes recently and found a few pieces that were inspiring. It’s nice to revisit old work and see if there is something there that will inspire new work.

Paper collage of landscape of forest floor, white flowers and tree trunks in the distance.

Here’s the forest floor collage that I found. I thought that this would make a nice landscape in fiber/textiles. I can’t seem to find the original photo that I used for inspiration so I’m working from the collage.

Multi colored nuno felt background.

Going through my pieces of already made nuno felt, I thought this piece would work. The top right corner made me think of “forest sky” and mottled light, so that’s a good start. The size is 12.5″ wide and 11″ high. Most of you will probably recognize this nuno felt as I have used it for several projects already. But the fun thing with this type of project, is that the background is just the start and the finished pieces will not look alike but would go together well if paired with one of my other pieces.

Next up was to look through my boxes of felt scraps and see if I could find something that would work for the more distant tree trunks. I started with the felt on the left but once I put it down, the value of the tree trunk to the background was too similar and the grey brown wasn’t very “exciting”. The middle felt trunks are actually the opposite side of the trunks on the right. The values were a bit better and I am leaning towards the ones on the right. I am planning on adding some stitched texture to the bark and can add more darkness into the trunks that way. I luckily have enough of this felt to do some sampling and see what kind of stitching will work best. Also, after I uploaded these photos and saw the tree trunks from a distance (smaller photo size), I noticed that it looked like the light was slanting through the trees. I need to remember to leave that lightness in the foreground to give that effect.

Multi colored nuno background with felt tree trunks placed on background and other felt colors being tried for appropriateness to landscape.

I continued to look through my felt scraps and dyed fabric. I found some nice greens, some “fallen trees” or “rocks” and some cheesecloth that will add texture. I kept looking for felt or fabric that would work for the flowers, I couldn’t really find anything that worked. I could felt some small white flowers but I’m not sure it’s worth that effort. The white flower I am showing is cut from watercolor paper (300 pound) and the center is a bit of yellow green cheesecloth. The paper would be simpler as it doesn’t fray and I noticed the contrasting sheen of the paper compared to the matte of the felt. The paper can also be shaped so it is 3D and coming off the surface of the landscape. As you can see in this photo, I have lost that brightness coming through the trees as I have it covered with green. This is just trying out colors and the final layout and shapes of pieces to applique down has not been decided.

Multi colored nuno felt background folded back to show white felt backing behind.

Because the nuno felt is thin, I decided I needed to back it with something a bit heavier to hold the weight of the heavier felt I will be stitching to the front. So I cut a piece of rayon wool commercial felt blend to the same size as the nuno background.

Multi colored nuno felt basted to white felt backing.

Next up was basting these two pieces of fabric together. I don’t always baste but I have found that in general, it’s better to take the time to baste the backing fabric to the background fabric. The integrity of the piece is always better after basting. It holds everything in place and provides support while stitching the foreground items. This is especially true if you are machine stitching as the machine has a tendency to move the nuno fabric in different directions than the backing fabric. Basting rant is now over.

Next, I will be doing some sampling to see how I want to stitch the tree trunks and previewing the green fabrics. More coming soon!



16 thoughts on “Forest Floor Beginnings

  1. This is an exciting project Ruth. I love that background piece and I hope you don’t manage to loose too much of the “light through the trees”. I agree that you do need to have a strong background, especially if you are applying rather than just needling on your landscape components.
    I’m looking forward to your next episode.

  2. The collage is beautiful 🙂

    Basting is boring and time consuming but it does save time, and possibly a lot of difficult unpicking, in the long run.
    The nuno felt is perfect for this project and we’re looking forward to seeing how it develops.

    1. Thanks Ladies, I created that collage a long time ago but I still enjoy it. Basting is boring but as you say, saving time in the long run is a good thing. Moving on to the fun parts is even better 🤪

  3. This is looking good Ruth. In the big scheme of things basting won’t take you very long and will be worthwhile….you maybe need to have some music playing to distract you!

    1. Thanks Karen, I can picture us basting and dancing around the studio at the same time with the music playing 😁 Then the basting stitches would be very unruly.

    2. Oh I like the sound of that! I’m grooving to Cry To Me by Soloman Burke right now while I make samples for Fiona Duthies online workshop! They might end up a bit unruly too🤣

  4. I am looking forward to the next instalment. Beautiful colours, and I can see how the the work is suggestive of the forest.

  5. Your old nuno felt is perfect in terms of colour & the ‘light’ filtering through, for your forest floor.
    Your fabric additions are working well to reflect your original collage and I’m looking forward to seeing the final layout and the stitching you will use to emphasise various elements.

    Note to self….when basting, press the music play button whilst imagining all of us fibre fairies dancing 🤪

    1. Thanks Antje! I have to get working and start the stitching. Please let Karen and I know when you start the music 😜🎉

    1. Thanks Ann, usually, it’s just looking at different scraps and seeing what goes together in the right color range. And things change as the piece moves along. I hope you are able to get back into the studio when you have less baking to do 😉

  6. It is so interesting to read through your process for this piece Ruth. I love the appearance of light in the nuno too. Great tip about the basting (as much as I loathe the job it is important – I imagine that it why it’s used so much in tailoring and the like).
    If I may say so, you create so beautifully with your words as well as with your hands.
    Looking forward to part 2.

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