Browsed by
Author: ruthlane

When I discovered felting in 2007, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. I love that the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfills my creative passion.
Learn a New Felting Skill! Or Develop Your Art and Design Knowledge!

Learn a New Felting Skill! Or Develop Your Art and Design Knowledge!

Teri Berry has two online classes that start in a couple of weeks. Registration opens today so you can sign up now. Choose between learning how to make a felted concertina hat or a more complex felt bag.

The Felted Concertina Hat class teaches you the basic skills of making a concertina type felt hat. Then the course progresses into further variations of creating felt hats and Teri helps your ideas transform into hats that fit well and develop your own style. Read more about the class and register here. 

Here are just a few of the hats created by students in Teri’s class. You can see more here.

Felted Bags online class will teach you how to use multiple resists, introduction of nuno felting into bag making, and learn how to make a closure entirely from wool. You will progress on to how to add internal pockets, a magnetic clasp, adjustable shoulder straps and take shaping the bag to the next level so the bag has a flat bottom and stands up on its own. Again, Teri will assist you in designing your own bag style and moving your skill level forward in felt making. Register now for the Felted Bags online class.

As always, our Wet Felting for Beginners online class is available. For more information about this class, click here. Learn the basics of wet felting, how to use embellishments, all about shrinkage and even how to blend wool by hand. So if you’re curious about wet felting, this is the course to get you started.

© Ruth Lane

Whenever I post or talk to people about Gail Harker’s classes that I have taken, I get inquiries about whether or not her classes are available online. In the past, I have replied that most of the classes were not available entirely online. However, that has changed. Many of the classes I have taken are available to people who don’t live close enough to Washington state to attend in person classes. (I receive no remuneration for sharing information about Gail’s courses.)

Online Art and Design (previously known as Level 3) is now being offered in a four module format. Each module has 8 to 12 sessions. The sessions include online lessons as well as individual online tutorials with Gail. The first two modules are now available and classes will start in December. Click here for information about the first module. The second module is also being offered for students who have completed module one.

© Ruth Lane

There is so much information in Gail’s art and design classes. Take a look at the course brochures (links at the end of this post) for a comprehensive explanation of the classes. I never took any art classes in school and was woefully short on art related knowledge when I first dipped my hands into the fiber art world. After taking Level 3 Art & Design, I was much more confident in my design skills and abilities to create my own compositions. I not only learned many techniques to express my creativity but also how to “see” as an artist does and to evaluate different compositions to understand what made the design more interesting, what needed to be edited and what additions a composition needed.

I can remember many times when if someone asked me if I could draw, I would say “No, I can’t draw, I’m not very creative.” Since taking Gail’s classes, I don’t hesitate to draw or paint or sketch or just try a new technique. I do something creative nearly every day and I am delighted to be taking Level 4 classes.

If you are interested in developing your own art and design skills, I would definitely recommend these classes. They are well worth the investment in yourself and in your growth as a creative person.

 

Course Brochure: Level 1 Art & Design

Course Brochure: Level 2 Art & Design

 

Late Bloomers Finished?

Late Bloomers Finished?

I had showed you this background a couple of post ago and was planning on free motion machine stitching a meadow scene.

I started with some background grasses in a couple of rows. If I do this again, I think I would stitch only one row and make the grasses longer.

Then I began couching down some different yarns with machine stitching.

I decided I should go ahead and stitch in the main focal flowers now so I wouldn’t fill up their space with grass. I couched down the green yarn for stems and then stitched heavily over a piece of purple felt for the flowers.

I decided the piece needed some more skinnier lines and some darker values. So I stitched the weedy bits in dark brown. These would have been easier if they were stitched before the larger grasses.

I then added some dark green weedy bits to the left hand side and couched some lighter green yarn down across the foreground. As you can see, I started looking at the piece in a “frame” since that was how it would be presented. What else did I need?

I decided the flowers needed some leaves so I used more of the same green yarn and pulled it apart a bit to get more width for the leaves. Was it finished? There was something bothering me on the right hand side. Do you see the brown grasses forming an ellipse? It seemed to draw my eye too much. So a bit of unstitching was necessary.

Now here it is after a bit of grass removal. Is it finished? I will leave it hanging on my design board for a few days to decide. I think I will add a bit of darkness to a couple of stems just right of center. Probably with a marker or a bit of paint.

What do you think? Is it finished?

100 Day Collage Challenge

100 Day Collage Challenge

My local art group doesn’t meet over the summer but we decided to do a collage challenge. The challenge was to create a collage every day using at most 3 pieces of paper and to only take 12 minutes to create the collage. I started the challenge on May 24th and reached my goal of 100 days on September 5th. The hardest issue I had with the challenge was the time restraint. Even with choosing my paper in advance, I had a hard time completing a collage in 12 minutes. So I ignored the time limit but tried to keep it under 30 minutes. No waffling around on how it went together.

Today, I’m showing you some of my favorite collages. There were some that turned out good and others, not so good. But it was a great way to work on color studies, composition and to do something creative to start out my day. If you would like to see all 100 collages, you can check them out on my Instagram account here:

Ruth Lane Instagram

In case you’re wondering, I have a huge plastic tub filled with paper that has been gelli printed, screen printed, hand painted, printed with block prints and whatever other techniques I have done in the past. So I have a wonderful source of papers to use for collage. If you are thinking of trying this challenge, you can use whatever paper sources you have. Many artists use magazine photos, open source online photos, wrapping papers, or whatever they have on hand.

So here are a few of my favorites. You can click on the photos to enlarge if you’d like to see them closer. I had a great time searching through my papers and creating a different collage every day.

Have you tried this type of daily challenge? We’d love to see your results and hear about the challenge. Let me know if you’d like to write a post about a challenge you have participated in.

And speaking of challenges, our third quarter challenge using botanicals as a theme is over at the end of this month. I think a few of my collages meet the guidelines! If you have something botanical to share for the challenge, please submit your photo here.

Small Autumn Meadow Piece

Small Autumn Meadow Piece

I have been thinking about creating a meadow themed landscape for a while so I decided to do a smaller piece (about 8″ x 10″) to try out some different ideas.

I found a nice background from my stash, that is nuno felted and has an upper plain felt portion. The only problem was it wasn’t 8″ wide. I want to be able to frame this piece with a standard frame so that it doesn’t have to have a custom frame. Looking through my boxes of felt pieces, I found the upper darker blue piece that would add enough to the total to get to 8″ in height. I think it is a screen printed piece but I really can’t remember. Some of the stuff in my stash is really old and needs to be used up.

Now to connect them together. The simplest plan was to needle felt them together. I made the light blue felt uneven by cutting it as I didn’t want to see a straight line working it’s way through. Then I needle felted the two together and this is the result.

Next, I looked through my many boxes of yarn bits. These are the ones that I decided to try. I want the scene to look like autumn grasses and seed heads. Some of the choices didn’t get used but now I needed to sample them and see how I wanted the stitching to look.

Luckily, I have more of the nuno background to use as a sample. This piece is about 3″ x 6″ as I only wanted to try out the different colors and practice a little free motion machine embroidery before I started on the main piece. I did put a thin interfacing on the back to stabilize the felt. I like most of these ideas for grasses and seed heads except for the one that looks almost white. I think I will skip using that one. The purple one on the far end is a small piece of purple felt that I stitched down with a lighter thread color. I’m only going to have a few flowers that are still blooming in this piece. The tentative name at this point is “Late Bloomers”. Hopefully, I will finish this before my next post.

The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

Before I get started on my new nuno felted landscape, I wanted to share the changes that I made to First Light, which I posted about several weeks ago.

This is what it looked like on the last post. I had a comment from Ann B. that it lacked shadows. I had hemmed and hawed about adding shadows. I had convinced myself that the marks on the background could serve as shadows as it was a bit abstract. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Ann that it was lacking something. So I decided I would audition shadows with sheer fabric. And once I saw it, I knew the shadows were necessary. How could I call it First Light if I ignored the shadows?

And here it is after adding shadows. What do you think? Better or worse? I would suggest that you don’t rush whether a piece is finished or not. It was a bit of a challenge stitching the shadows down after the piece was already laced to backing board 😉

Now on to this piece. It definitely had beautiful autumn colors, so I decided I would add some silver birch trees with their fall leaf color. You will notice that I turned this around so the darker area was closer to the top of the piece.

I cut out some tree trunks from silk paper that I had made a while ago in preparation for trees. I hand stitched these in place.

Then I added some branches so the leaves would have somewhere to live.

Next up, I needed some background foliage. I didn’t want it to be too dominant but just needed some texture. I decided to use nylon organza and then burn it back with a wood burning tool to give it a leafy feel. Then I stitched it in place. You can click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see the details better.

Next up was to cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in two colors of silk organza. I hand stitched these in place but the leaves were still too transparent and weren’t giving the effect I wanted to achieve.

I looked through my stash and had this bright yellow in silk habotai. That would perfect from a more opaque leaf. Once cut out, these leaves were stitched down. The photos above show the progression from left to right. Then, I put the piece up on the wall and studied it. That leaning tree trunk on the far left was bugging me. I didn’t like that it took your eye off the edge and it matched the same lean as the tree towards the middle. So I did a bit of unstitching and removed it.

So here is The First Leaf. I haven’t found the correct background fabric for it yet so I will have to go shopping for that. But that gives me a bit more time for it to hang in the studio and make sure that it is really finished!

 

Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch Exhibition

Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch Exhibition

The ‘Bachelor Buttons’ in the midst of setting up the exhibition. (Maureen couldn’t be there, but her beautiful work was.)

I recently completed Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center and we held an in-person and online exhibition. Gail’s courses are similar to City and Guilds in the UK. If you’re close to the Seattle area, there is a new session of Level 3 Stitch beginning in September. Just click on the link above for more information. (And you really don’t have to be that close, I live almost 600 miles away.)

We had a busy few days setting up the exhibition and I thought you might like to see a few set up photos.

And then it was the day of the exhibition. We had around 80 people attend over the two days in early July. It was wonderful to be able to see all the hard work accomplished by my fellow students and to share our work with other interested people.

I asked my fellow students if I could share their work and I’m happy that everyone agreed so that you can see some amazing fiber art. These are just a very few examples of their work produced in class.

Maureen Goldsmith

Maureen Goldsmith wasn’t able to come to the in-person exhibition but was able to send her wonderful work.

Covid Birds © Maureen Goldsmith

Covid Birds by Maureen is a framed wall hanging, you can see it in the first photo behind the group photo on the wall, to understand the size of the piece.

Covid Birds – Detail © Maureen Goldsmith

Here’s a detail view so you can see the stitching more closely.

Val Gleeson

Val has an interest in historical embroidery and needlework.

Pleasurable Pursuits © Val Gleeson

Her piece “Pleasurable Pursuits” is based on historical needlework studies that she pursued during the class.

Pleasurable Pursuits – Detail © Val Gleeson

Here’s a detail shot so that you can see the amount of hand stitching in this piece.

Acer Macrophyllum Book and Samples © Sheila Asdal

Sheila Asdal created a machine and hand stitched book about the Big Leaf Maple and the creatures that find shelter and sustenance in the tree.

Acer Macrophyllum Book © Sheila Asdal

Here’s a side view and front cover of the book.

Acer Macrophyllum Book – Detail of Moth © Sheila Asdal

And a detail view of the stumpwork moth she created.

Catherine Sloan

Catherine’s interests are from nature, including rocks, plants, seed heads and the winter garden.

The Winter Garden Series © Catherine Sloan

She used her original photos of her winter garden to create this handstitched series.

The Winter Garden Series © Catherine Sloan

Each of the individual pieces are about 6″ x 6″.

The Hanging Garden © Bobbie Herrick

Bobbie Herrick is also inspired by her garden. She took on a tremendous project in creating The Hanging Garden light.

The Hanging Garden © Bobbie Herrick

Bobbie’s lamp was created with machine and hand stitching and cut back applique. She found it interesting to work with light during this process as it changed the colors immensely when the light was turned on behind the fabric.

Ethereal Bottles © Alana Koehler

Alana Koehler was inspired by a row of bottles on her windowsill. As she worked through the process, she became intrigued with the difference between the hardness of glass and the translucent fabric that she ended up using in Ethereal Bottles.

Ethereal Bottles © Alana Koehler

The sheer fabric in Ethereal Bottles float away from the wall and the bottles are created with machine stitching. It is definitely ethereal in person.

Ruth Lane with The Language of Trees © Ruth Lane

And lastly, there is me. The Language of Trees is based on the concept that trees and other forest plants, have a vast communication network underground.

The Language of Trees © Ruth Lane

This wall hanging is mostly machine stitched on a dyed and painted background. The little bits of orange are words that I selected from tree poems to express the trees communicating with each other.

And because I have had a few people asking, I have also included my book about my dog Edgar. Here is “The Book of Edgar”.

Thanks to all my classmates for their camaraderie and support. Thanks to Gail and Penny for all your expert guidance and perseverance through a challenging three years of class.

First Light – Nuno Landscape

First Light – Nuno Landscape

This is the nuno background I showed a while back. Surprise, surprise, I created another landscape!

I started by adding some yellow orange sheer fabric to indicate the sky and then started auditioning trees cut from dyed silk organza. The trees went through many forms as I went along auditioning colors, sizes and placement.

I began making the foreground trees darker and the background trees lighter. It felt like the sun was coming from behind the hill. So I continued to emphasize that light perspective as I went along.

I was getting closer, adding more shadows and light.

Then I decided that the ground felt too light in the foreground. So I auditioned some sheer scarves in this area. These are light nylon scarves, you can see the edge hasn’t been removed here. Once the edge is cut off, the scarf can be easily frayed to blend into the background. Then on to stitching everything down.

Here’s the piece after I finished hand stitching the applique pieces in place for the trees. I also use a very small seed stitch to stitch down the sheer scarf pieces.

I decided I need something more in the foreground. The darker marks in the middle foreground reminded me of these plants. I think these are a type of wild orchid. This is a photo I took on one of my morning walks in the woods.

Here are the foreground plants. They are a combination of torn black tulle, couched yarns and pistol stitch in perle cottons.

I felt that the bottom of the orchids was a missing something so I added in some grasses which were couched down.

Here is the final piece on it’s fabric background. I have decided to call it First Light. The coloring in this last photo is the closest to the original. Now all it needs is framing.

 

 

Late Summer and Fall Online Classes

Late Summer and Fall Online Classes

We have online classes coming up over the next several months. If you are looking for a new learning experience, please join us. The classes are listed below with a link to each class page. If you want to take the class but registration isn’t open yet, there is a place to contact us so you can be added to the student email list. You will then be notified when registration opens for that class. Make sure you include which class in your inquiry. You don’t need to be present at any certain time to participate in a class and you will receive PDF’s to keep with all the relevant information learned in the class.

Screen Printed Felt Journals by Ruth Lane

All four modules of my class, EMBELLISHING FELT WITH SURFACE DESIGN TECHNIQUES – A MIXED MEDIA APPROACH, will begin on August 12th. Registration opens today for these classes.

Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination

Experimental Screen Printing on Felt

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

Printing, Stenciling, and Playing with Thickened Dye on Felt

Click on any of the links above to find out more about the class and to register and join in the fun.

Hanging Felted Spiral with Helene Dooley begins on August 26 and registration opens on August 12. Learn to felt this cool hanging spiral. Find out more here.

Felting Fantasy Fish with Galina Titova will start on September 6 and registration beings on August 23. Developing your own fantasy fish is such fun, will you join Galina?

Teri has two classes coming up in October. Creating a Felted Concertina Hat and a Felted Bags class.   Registration opens the first week of October and class begins on the third Thursday of October. So if you want to learn how to make hats or bags, this is a great opporunity.

Our Wet Felting for Beginners class is always available. You can start any time and follow along at your own pace. Register here.

 

Caustic Lino Block Etching and Online Exhibition

Caustic Lino Block Etching and Online Exhibition

My local group met before our summer break and tried some caustic lino block etching. I have wanted to try this technique for a while but hadn’t gotten my nerve up to be playing with caustic substances (100% lye). Then I found some instructions that seemed straightforward on this blog. (I am just giving the basics here, click on the link for the full instructions if you want to try it.) We followed the instructions, didn’t have any chemical disasters and etched our blocks.

I decided to do some small samples to test out the process before the group meeting. I already had some small lino blocks cut, I think these are about 3″ x 4″. I transferred the design with pencil and tracing paper, then painted on the resist area using Golden GAC 200 medium and let that dry.

Here’s the set up with the blocks in place. You can’t use anything plastic or the lye will eat it.

Here’s the mixture of lye and wheat paste that is applied to the lino blocks. The areas that are not covered with the GAC 200 resist will be etched away. The trial run, I left the lye in place for about two hours. Then the goop is cleaned up and the lino blocks cleaned with a toothbrush in soap and water. Then I used a standard blue ink pad to print these as I didn’t want to get out my full print making ink setup.

Here’s the resulting prints. Interesting, they look so different than the usual hand cut lino blocks. Once the group was here, we repeated the process and etched four more blocks that were 4″ x 6″.

Here’s Louise’s block on the left and the print on the right. I love the organic feel these prints have.

This is Paula’s block and resulting print.

Poppies for Sally in her block and print.

And mine is based on tree rings. I’m thinking about this as a theme for my upcoming art and design class.

I thought this process was relatively easy compared to carving a block and you can really get some fine details and a very different look than carving. I will definitely be doing more etching of lino blocks. Next I will have to try and print with these on felt and see how they come out.

Recently, we had our in person exhibition in La Conner, Washington for the class I have been participating in for nearly three years. Many of you don’t live close enough to attend but we are also having an online Meet the Artists event that anyone can attend.

You are Invited to an Online Exhibition and 

Discussion with the Artists of the

Bachelor Buttons Level 3

Advanced Experimental Stitch Class

Join Tutors Gail Harker and Penny Peters at a free online venue 

Tuesday July 19– 10:30 am – 12:30 pm  PDT

If you would like to attend this free event, you do need to sign up in advance. You can sign up here:

Meet The Artists-Level 3 Stitch

Join us online  (no fee) to view our Level 3 Advance Stitch student’s exhibition of creative stitched artwork. It will truly have you dreaming of wonderful possibilities there are for people just like you.  

Each of our participating artists will have a chance to talk about their experience working through this coursework, in spite of pandemic conditions!  There will be time for questions and answers with the artists.  

The event will be starting at 10:30 am PDT (West Coast US Pacific Daylight Time) and run until 12:30 pm PDT. To convert to your time zone, go to: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

 

Two Nuno Backgrounds

Two Nuno Backgrounds

After putting my work in two different galleries, I felt a moment of panic because I have no more artwork that would be ready to go if anything sold. Better get to work!

I still had more of this dyed silk that I used for the Weeping Birch piece.

This is the fabric after I nuno felted it to black pre felt for the weeping birch piece. I had some red prefelt of the correct size so I decided to see what the fabric would look like with a red wool base.

Here is the piece after felting. It definitely has a different feel than with the black wool. Now to decide how I should move forward with this piece. What do you see? It’s always so interesting to hear what different people see in the same background.

 

This is the nuno background that I used for Summer Fireworks. It was felted on to white pre felt. Since I was already using the red prefelt, I decided to back the dyed silk from the same piece of fabric with red pre felt. How different would it look?

Here is the silk fabric nuno felted on to red wool.  I see trees and bushes at the top of this with perhaps grasses or flowers at the bottom? Or maybe roots and the underground at the bottom? I will show you my progress as I get further along in the process.

I definitely enjoyed seeing the difference that the pre felt wool color makes in the end nuno felted result. I will have to try out more colors when I get the chance.

%d bloggers like this: