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Summer Fiber Poker (Felt) 2021 Completed

Summer Fiber Poker (Felt) 2021 Completed

Earlier this year I told you about the Fiber Poker Challenge at the Guild Ann, Bernadette and I belong to. There were challenge cards for weavers, Spinners and Felters. four cards were drawn for us, in our topic of choice, which we received for the June meeting.  our solution is due at the September meeting.

These are the cards I would be working with.

1) the felting poker cards I drew for 2021

As you may remember, I have been creating an army of Chickadees as a way for my brothers-in-law and their families to remember their parents’ home.  (The bird feeders in the back yard are visited by chickadee, nuthatch, blue jays, cardinals, morning doves, sparrows and the evil squirrels; black, grey and red. There are also chipmunks feasting at the feeders!) I have sent chickadees home with 4 out of the 5 brothers.

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2-6) four of the five brothers and their Mom’s Chickadee’s

All those tiny little feet may have been getting to me!

Include Wire

I sat down and pulled out the wire I had been using for the birds, 20ga and 26ga coated steel floral wire. I started twisting and playing making a pair of front legs… well that will need a bit more to go with it. With a few more bends with the tiny pliers another pair of legs appeared. Next a spine to attach the legs to and maybe a tail… yes definitely a tail.  Hum I think those back legs should be front legs? yes! Rotate the feet and that looks better!

I think I need wings!

7) wire included, Check! adding wings

I had wrapped the armature with the 26ga floral wire. Using it to create the toes and lower jaw. For the wings, I slipped the U shape in the middle of the wire, into the space at the shoulders between the two gauges of wire. I will build up the support by adding more 26ga wire wrapping. Then strengthen it further when I add the wool.

8)  The ribs on the wings are 26ga and the main structure of the wing is in 20ga.

9) adding the wool will stabilize the wings and “ears-like things”

I decided to add ear-like appendages to finish the armature.  Now I am ready to add the wool. I am using Sarafina Dark Grey Core wool and for the first time trying her Tacky Wrap on the tips of the toes. You can see I am working with very thin strips of the core roving, the pieces are about 6 inches long. This core wool has a vary tiny crimp and worked well. I did find it much slipperier than the fleece I had used for the Chickadees legs and feet. When i washed that fiber i had left in a bit of lanolin which gave it a bit more clingyness. So the addition of the Tacky Wrap helped a lot! This is the first time I have used it, I liked it and will likely find it useful again.

10) most of the armature is covered and is balanced to stand.

So I have wire covered from the cards. (OK I have wire, covered literary!)

I am ready to consider the other card’s instruction, “Use your favorite colour!” Let me think, that would be Blue, but I like black too. But I do like blue better. Blue-green is OK and blue-purple is almost as good. A lovely indigo, prussion or ice blue……

Let me go check my stash of blues. How can I have a stash of blue and not have the blue I am thinking of?  Change of plan! I checked our local fibre source Wabi Sabi in Ottawa and yes they had Corriedale in shades I was looking for and they didn’t close till 4 pm! I made a list and rushed (it didn’t look like a rush but it was for me!) out to the car.  Hmm.  traffic on the highway? Oh yes, it’s Sunday afternoon! I hope they’re not all heading to pick up blue fibre! No? Great! I even found a parking spot. Had a bit of trouble with the walker and the front door. I will figure doors with steps out eventually.

In Corriedale, I selected a number of cool blues, blue-greens and a cool yellow that I didn’t have. I found a bit of Silk and Merino that was in the colour-way I was wanting, too. (I don’t usually use much Merino since it tends to absorb light and I find Corriedale comparatively much more reflective and give my sculpture a bit more life.

11) why did I not have the colour of blue I wanted?

I considered the body. It is core wool but I like the mottled colouring and while the grey is leaning heavily towards the brown I quite like it. It makes me think of rocks in Iqaluit (the capital of Nunavut on Baffin Island in northern Canada). OK, next let’s cover the ribs for the wings. Something icy and cool in blue. That done, I had the little guy do some contortions so I could trace his basic wing shape. This gave me a template, which helped me in laying out thin layers of fibre to make the thin wing membrane.

12) wing tracing to make a template for layout

I laid out the wool then gave it a gentle rub, as if I was wet felting, (but stayed dry) then a few T-36 pokes. Next, I switched to the fake clover tool with the fine needles. I focused on the leading edge of the wing leaving the wisps alone along the trailing edge.

13) wing underway

I carefully pealed and flipped it a couple of times. This stretched the length of the wing a bit so I used a single needle to work across the front of the wing to shorten it. (The direction you poke is the direction the wool will move.) You can see I was trying to keep the wing extremely thin but still strong enough to hold together.

14) wing still quite transparent

15-16) A bit more dragon yoga posing and I was able to position the wing for membrane attachment.

I put the ribs on the underside which will show if the wing is elevated. I attached along the front edge then lay in wisps of blue to help attach the ribs.

Then on to the second wing. I was laying in wisps of the silk and Merino, a darker blue, a little of the light blue and the greenish-blue. While on the shopping run, I had looked at some Tencel but it seemed too shiny compared to the Corriedale.

17) the second wing

With both wings on, they seem a bit big for his little body.

18) downsizing the wings just a bit

I thinned the first wing by gently tugging on the tips downsizing the wing to a more appropriate size. You can see the amount of fibre I have removed in the top corner.

19) Ah that’s lighter it should be easier to fly now

20)  Wings are looking good,

21) I think we need a tail puff to help with turning while flying. Aerodynamics are integral to dragon flight, they are not like a bumblebees who obviously fly by Magic alone. The puff will be a fan shaped rudder when I am done.

22)  Attaching the tail puff.

23) a bit of ankle decoration.

The next card says “use Beads or Sequins“, how about some eyes? It’s important to see where you’re flying!!

24) “I can’t see if I am cute. I need Eyes!”

I think you will like the other ones better. I will sew them on so I can “use thread or fine yarn” as my final card.

So let’s take a peek at “use blue, use wire, include beads and thread”. A quick photo shoot for a little ice dragon.

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25-27) a quick photo shoot in front of the computer.

28) Now let’s take a look at the scale of my ice dragon.

While I was out doing early voting (Dad always said if you don’t vote you can’t complain later), the little dragon was off investigating the office plant.

29) “I need dramatic lighting!! I’m ready for my close-up!!”

I had a lot of fun with this years fibre poker challenge, even if i did not actually do any of the 3 options i had originally planed to do. I may go back and try another version or wait and see what I pull next year.

Have fun and keep felting!

 

 

 

 

An Accidental Army of Chickadees

An Accidental Army of Chickadees

It’s been another busy week heading into the September long weekend. We are back again in Oakville which should have been about 5.5 hours drive from Ottawa. Instead, the traffic was heavy and slow. (we saw unsuccessful car sex in three locations, once involving multiple vehicles! I told my car not to look as we drove past “avert your headlights!!” I was driving so I didn’t get any naughty car pictures to show you.) we are traveling because two of my brothers-in-law will be there. One departing and another arriving.

This past week I have been continuing the fleece washing. I had a strainer basket of wool ready to put out on the drying rack on Friday morning but restrained myself (since the weather is sentient and has a poor sense of humour, it would rain if I left it out to dry. It’s the long weekend.  We don’t want it to rain!

1) the last of ram #2 soaking.

2) don’t tempt the weather by putting out fleece to dry.

we also cleared the path to the back of the garage from errantly growing raspberry canes. this will make it a bit easier to finish raccoon-proofing the garage.

3) the extracted errant raspberry

My other quest for the week was to make presents for my brothers-in-law. There Are 5 brothers, and I have made one for brother number 4 and one for Glenn’s Mom last trip. So four more to go! I have tried variations on the theme and so far I am pleased with them.

The reason i am making a small invasion or maybe an infestation, of chickadees is they remind me both of my parents cottage and also of my in-laws home in Oakville. His brothers have been taking turns staying with his mom and i had hoped the chickadees would bring them good thoughts of Oakville and watching the birds and squirrel fight over the bird feeders (they are not squirrel feeders so we know is in the wrong in that war!) We were down this time as brother #3 was leaving and brother # 2 was arriving. We hope to see brother #1 before we leave.

4 & 4.1) Mega-Chickadee (Arnold) with his in-progress smaller cousin (for brother #4)

I had wanted to tell you about the first two I made. I had brought the wrong thread with me, pant mending thread not eye attaching thread (really they’re totally different thread!), when I was making the first two guys so devised a way to attach eye without the thread. This would not be strong enough if your creature was to be played with but if it’s just sitting around the eyes are secure and won’t fall off. (how embarrassing to have eye drop sounds terrible)

Without appropriate thread, I needed a way to get the bead (I had brought small black glass seed beads) to sit in the location I had wanted and to stay in place.

I used the felting needle to work some of the wool through the bead, arranging it so that there were wisps on both sides of the bead.

5) bead and a bit of fibre

5.1) Bead with a small amount of fibre through the centre

6) both eyes ready to attach

I chose the spot and used the awl and felting needle to make a dent in the felt head. good thing the little guys seem a bit soft in the brain, more room to inset half an eye bead.

7) using the awl

8) marking the other side and checking it’s in the correct location.

9) making the hole a bit deeper with the felting needle

First try; I found it was not as secure with a finer amount of fibre and need to have more added to it. With a bit more added lateral to each eye, the attachment was a success.

10) first one done, on to the next armature.

Second try; This time I tried using more fibre. (as much as would fit through the opening in the bead seemed the correct amount.)

I continued to work with wisps of colour to give a chickadee a bit of suggestion of feathers.

Once I had the little guy to my liking it was time to trim off some of the fuzzy halo. As I mentioned in a previous post the core wool from World of Wool has a bit of kemp which occasionally sticks out at an odd spot. The Corriedale is also showing a bit of halo which is more noticeable where the black is adjacent to the white. I used the scissors carefully removing the fuzzy bits of wool.

11) Hair cutting started.

12) a good trim

13) Two handsome chickadees ready for their new homes.

the Chickadees were given to their new owners before we departed back to Ottawa. Both were surprised and seemed happy with their new pets.

The next step is to make a few more. Unfortunately, I was working in front of the computer and had been distracted from my audiobooks by impending Hurricane Ida. I got so distracted with the Horrors of the storm I lost track of the number of armatures I was making, 4 or was it 5 more. Looking away from the nightmare water and wind event on the computer I realized I am overrun by chickadee armatures. There seem to be 6 of them now staring at me! I have a production line of leg wrapping ahead of me! That’s 36 toes to practice on! I seem to be making a small flock of chickadees!

14) 26ga steel toes wrapped around 20ga steel floral wire armature (both wires are coated so the steel is not exposed)

15) all lined up with legs and beaks done, still have to try toes with wax. (the fleece i chose has some lanolin left in it after washing and has a lot of very fine crimp)

16) now with a bit more body

the eyes for the last two worked well out so well I used the same technique again.

17) supervision!!!

17.1) time to add the second eye

18) one of the two I have finished and brought with us to give to brothers #2 and #3 this weekend.

19) here he is in a jaunty pose before retiring to his travel facility complete with bagged lunch for his travel pleasure.

20) upon our arrival here in Oakville, we found that Glenn’s mom’s bird had discovered the bole of nuts on the coffee table!! He seems to be very happy in his new home but is reluctant to let the rest of us nibble on the nuts. I may have to leave some sunflower seeds for him too!!

I have been doing variations on wing attachments, separate wings, wings constructed on the body, separate wired wings,  wing tips added to built-in wings….. who know what else I will try?

I promise I will do something other than chickadees in the near future! Have fun and keep felting

OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

You’ve seen the piece I was working on for this.

I still have not decided what I what to do. It was suggested that using some stabilizer on top might help keep the stitches on the surface and not have them sink in and look quilted. so I thought I would make a new background and give the stabilizer a try.

I picked some colours and carded up a little bat to use to felt a new background.

When it was finished I thought it looked like the water in Monet’s pond. I decided to add a waterlily. I looked up some google and traced the outline onto some was away stabilizer.

For thread, I decided to use some maybe real and maybe artificial silk. some of it says silk on it and some Artsyl rope. I got this thread in a barely started embroidery kit at a garage sale. I don’t know how old it is but the company that made it stopped manufacturing silk in 1911. It does seem to have continued to sell thread and ribbon but I don’t know if they also sold artificial silk. I haven’t burn tested it.  I don’t mind if it’s artificial, it’s pretty.

 

The thread is “2 ply” in appearance but each ply is made up of 5 individual threads. I used one ply for the outline and 3 of the smaller threads for leaf definition.

Onto the petals

As you can see my stabilizer started to fall apart. I am sure it’s because the underlying piece is so soft and squishy, it tears. I had the reference picture so it all worked out.  I pulled most of the tattered bits away. the last thing was the yellow center.

 

And after washing away the rest of the stabilizer. Not too bad if you don’t look too close. that should be just about the actual size of the piece.

I was happy with it even if it was a little plane. than after sowing it to some friends on Zoom, they suggested a dragonfly or some bead water drops. I didn’t feel like making a dragonfly so I decided on fish.

I added 3 koi fish around the lily. I think it worked well. I decided against the water drops because it’s an outline. Seeing it as a picture I can see I need to rub out the needle marks.

 

I enjoyed making this piece and the stabilizer did help keep the stitches on the surface so that was a good idea. I want to try the other kind of stabilizer. The stuff that looks more like plastic wrap. After chatting with a friend we think perhaps a layer of the plastic stuff and a layer of my stuff might work best. Now I just have to find some of the plastic stuff.

Theatre Textiles Part 1

Theatre Textiles Part 1

After I had retired from full time work in 2006 I was finally able to join SNADS – our local amateur dramatic society. I live in a small market town in Dorset and SNADS was the main source of entertainment for our area at that time (as it had been since 1930, although newspaper archives indicate that it was around at least as early as 1883). I had seen most of the productions which they had put on since we moved there in 1999 and longed to join in, not only on stage, but behind the scenes. During any one year there are at least 4 productions – Pantomime in February, Spring Play in May, a Variety Show/Revue in the summer and the Autumn play in early October, and as soon as that was over, the round started again with preparations for the following year’s Panto.

We had a fantastic wardrobe mistress, but she needed help with costumes, especially at Panto time as there was so much to do.

My first foray into costume was to make a full head cat mask for the summer review. Two of our members were to sing Rossini’s Cat Duet and the director decided that it would be fun to have a disreputable tom cat watching them from the side-lines. I had recently learned to wet felt 3D items using a resist, so I made the mask from wet felted pieces and needle felted details. I didn’t want the actor’s eyes to show through and anyway, I needed to give the cat it’s proper “slit” irises. So I stitched into the eye holes a piece of doubled yellow organza and just painted the vertical slit. (It is quite possible to see what’s going on through organza if it is held close to your face.) How to give him a proper nose? I needled the correct shaped nose on the mask, then I painted on some artist’s gesso, let it dry and added some more. Gesso is textured so it was necessary to file the nose to make it a bit smoother, also the gesso is white, so I painted the nose with black enamel paint which I nicked from my husband’s paint store (he’s a model maker). After a couple of coats of that, Tom had a shiny(ish) black nose. Add some “bitten” ears and “wonky” whiskers and he was nearly done. The cat’s mouth was open – it allowed the actor to breathe and gave Tom naughty grin. Finally I gave him a pink tongue and white tips to his ears.

Disreputable Tom Cat

The next production that I was involved in was the pantomime Cinderella, written and directed by one of our members. I was asked by the wardrobe mistress if I would dress both the Fairy (“Fairy Nuff”) and Buttons’ dog, Beau. The director wasn’t quite clear about what kind of dog Beau should be, except that he was to be comic. So I did a sort of 3D needle felt sketch of the dog’s head as I saw it – black and white with one ear cocked.

“Sketch” for Buttons’ Dog

However I’d got it wrong – Beau was to be a black poodle. 

After some discussion with the wardrobe mistress, we decided that the actor would wear a black polo necked top, thick black tights and black gloves. I managed to find a piece of curly black faux fur to make a short jacket, with enough left over to make pompon for the top of the head and the end of the tail, the long dangly ears and wrist and ankle rings to simulate the correct style poodle cut. I was to make a full head mask. For this I made a wet felt hood using a resist and a further piece of flat felt incorporating some of the curly faux fur trimmed from the bought fabric. A lot of that moulted out though because it was nylon or polyester and very slippery. Enough was fixed in however to give the right effect.

I made a needle felted muzzle – again with the mouth open to reveal the red tongue and white teeth, and to allow the actor to breathe.  The nose I made in the same way as for the tom cat – shaped with the felting needle, gessoed and painted.  The muzzle was attached to the hood/face with stitching and felting needles.  Some of the flat felt was cut to represent the dog’s lips and attached by stitching and needle felting to the muzzle.  The “Disney-esque” eyes were again painted organza and were stitched on the inside of the mask. 

The ears and head pompon were also stitched on.  I added a piece of brown fabric and a belt buckle around the dog’s throat to simulate a collar and allow the mask to be firmly secured over the actor’s polo necked top.  I have worn this costume myself a couple of times in subsequent Carnival processions – great fun.

Beau

Since the actress cast for the part of Fairy Nuff had a figure which could easily cope with a glamourous costume, for the base I was given a basque that fitted her. She was to appear out of a compost heap at the edge of the stage, so I set to and made lots of autumn coloured leaf shapes – mainly oak – out of different brown bronze and gold metallic organzas. I sandwiched sparkly bits between layers of organza. I machined stitched around the edges and along the veins of each leaf and then cut out the shapes with a soldering iron. This sealed the edges and prevented fraying. Then, with the basque on a dressmaker’s dummy I attached large pieces of bronze organza for the tail, and then added the strategically placed leaves.

The wings were made from two lengths of flat wire (originally from a pop-up fabric laundry container) covered with more organza, this time creamy white but with sparkles and sequins added. These were attached to the back of the costume by stitching the wire to the shoulder straps of the basque and covering the join with some dark bronze/gold chiffon.

The crown was made from bronze Christmas decorations (that year bronze was in fashion over here – UK). I used bronze plastic icicles, some foil stars and some more organza leaves attached to a head band. I can’t remember what the wand tip was made from – possibly a bunch of tinsel.

I actually got a speaking part in this Panto – only a couple of lines but a step up from what I’d had before.
I don’t have a proper photo, this was before my husband had a digital camera, however I’ve managed to extract a clip from the video we had made of the show. It’s a bit fuzzy if enlarged but I think you can get the gist. I’m in the gold dress with my exclusive “Toilet Duck” perfume, and my punchline? “It drives the men Quackers!”

Guests at the Ball with “perfume”!

After this show, we had one final “adult” Revue and then we moved to where we are now based. Try this link it should show you the hall we left, Sturminster Hall, and eventually the Community and Arts building, The Exchange, which is now our home. https://stur-exchange.co.uk/about/
Unfortunately it seems that a second link, on the above page, may not yet be working – this is a new website in the process of being fully set up so here’s the brochure which was produced the year after it opened.

The Exchange Brochure 2008

The staircase balustrade is wrought iron made by a local craftsman and represents the river Stour which runs through our town. All the Rooms in The Exchange are named after rivers and streams running close by, and it is just beginning to open again to live theatre as well as community groups.

We at SNADS started off our return with an Adult Cabaret a couple of weeks ago, for once without a male Balloon Dance or a ladies Fan Dance, but there was a Pole Dance!

More about my exploits with SNADS (including an explanation of the picture of the wicked queen) later. Watch this space.

Surface Control – looking at Hair Spray and styling gel, initial investigation.

Surface Control – looking at Hair Spray and styling gel, initial investigation.

Like Ann, I have been having a  busy time since the last post. I was all set to head to Oakville then my trip was postponed to next week. So I am packed, but still need to find the camping cots we bought years ago to sleep on. They are nowhere to be found so we went out to Canadian Tire and bought a new one. I have been refining my notes on the chickadee as I made another armature. (well you just saw that so I don’t think you will be much interested in seeing a second bird so much like the one Mom got and liked! But I fear Ann’s Cookies may have been more appreciated!) The bird is now living in her living room by the window. I did have something I wanted to investigate further and now might be the right time to get part one started. This will have a time component so I will not make a full report now.

Surface Control – looking at Hair Spray and styling gel, initial investigation.

Last week I was wondering about how to reduce the flyaway fuzziness of Mom’s Chickadee. I eventually took matters in hand with a pair of fine sharp pointed scissors. This did quite a respectable job, but I had considered other options. Spray fixatives were used with pastels at school and being cheap art students we often bot inexpensive hair spray rather than proper artist fixative.  Will hair spray work on wool? Let’s Investigate!!

When considering fixatives/ hair spray there are a number of factors to investigate.

  • Does it hold the fuzz in check when initially applied (I was using the product instruction for distance for spraying.)
  • Dose the hold lasts more than a few hours or days?
  • Does it discolour the wool?
  • Are there any other changes in the wool that is noticeable at the time of spraying, or over time?

Off to the Dollerama to find cheap hairspray!  On previous visits, I had seen hair spray and hair gel (Glenn uses it to keep his hair neatly in a ponytail for work.) I found two hairsprays that looked interesting.

 1 the subjects of investigation.

 The “Blue sample” was Finesse – Superior hold Firm Unscented Hairspray, it boasted a weightless, dry finish.  The instructions are shake can then hold 20-30 cm away from hair (in my case wool)

The “Pink Sample” Was Salon Selective all day Volumizing Stay Put, Extreme Hold, enriched with argan oil from Morocco. ( I have no idea what that is but it sounds impressive!) The instructions are to shake the can and hold 20 to 25 cm away from hair/wool.

The “Black Sample” was AXE Styling Adrenaline Spiked-Up Look Extreme Hold Gel. Instructions, use a fingertip amount mix vigorously then style through hair.

The “None Sample” was Core wool from World of Wool in the UK,  just the wool covered by a piece of card stock to keep the sun off.

What I have learned so far: hairsprays have long names and seem slightly pompous in their extremeness. (No Hair products were harmed in this experiment and all hairspray will go to Glenn at the completion of this investigation.)

 

Next, I made the test felt pieces using the World of wool Core wool that I had hand carded. I made a sample 7 inches long and about 3 inches wide. I used a bit of light blue merino yarn to mark off the sections.

 2 making the needle felted wool sample

3 dividing the sample into sections for each application and a control or None section.

I masked off the sections that were not getting the spray treatment to reduce cross-contamination of the samples.

 4 Prep to spray the blue sample

 5 Blue spay applied

 6 parted off the excess and tried to compress the wool. Wax paper may have been a better choice, next time!

The Blue sample is unscented (mostly) and it gave a good light coverage at 30cm.

Next cover that sample and on the pink spray.

 7 pink sample was much wetter than the blue spray.

This gave a lot more wetness both on the surface and into the wool but it was also held at the suggested 20-25cm for this product.

Next up was the black sample

 8 I borrowed Glenn’s hair gel from the bathroom.

For this one, since I had to apply it to the surface I made little finger circles on the top half and stroked the felt in one direction on the bottom. It took a couple of fingers’ worth of gel to get the surfaced covered. The circular motions loosened up a few strands of wool but seemed to have stuck the surface down. It remained damp long after both Blue and Pink were dry.

 9 On the back of each sample I sewed on a tag saying which sample it was.

Then I covered the thin “None” sample on the right so it would not be in the sun.

10 the sample

Hum, maybe I should change that to half in the sun half out of the sun so we can see if the plain wool will change colour in the light…. Give me a moment I will fix that.

11 the upgraded sample

OK, now we can check if wool left in a window will change colour in the sun. (It may lighten I suspect, but let’s see if my hypothesis is correct.)

12  L to R; Pink, Blue and Black

Sample fuzz check at application Will the  hold last Is there any discolouration  at the application Is there any discolouration  over time other changes noticeable when applied or over time
None 4th fuzziest N/A N/A N/A N/A
Black Least fuzzy * see other Slightly shiny or more reflective Surface is compacted more than other samples also has the firmest surface
Blue Second least fuzzy Not noticeable Closest to None sample
Pink 3rd fuzziest Not noticeable 2nd firmest surface

13 table

Now we have gathered all the data to begin this experiment. We will have to return to this in a few weeks or a couple of months and see if we can see a change. By then I may have finally cleaned up my desk again, how does it get so messy?

Next week I will be off in Oakville likely working on the project I have started for Glenn. He has had only had one picture felted for him so far so I think he needs a sculpture. Here is the fabric that I hope will be part of his accessories (the sculpture, not Glenn).

14 it’s not the plaid I was looking for but it may work.

Have fun and keep felting!

 

Not much progress yet

Not much progress yet

It has been a very busy week and I am afraid I do not have much to report.

I added a few rocks to the picture and I built up the bottom edge to be more feeling of depth. it looks a little better in person but not sure if it was worth the effort, but maybe.

I still have to add a thread or fine yarn element. I thought a few dandelions around the rocks would work. I found a nice dark green variegated thread that Jan had picked up for me.

This is a needle felted picture it is squishy, not flat and “solid” like when I wet felt a picture and then add definition or extras with a needle. I think it may make things difficult.  I made a few stitches, making sure to keep them loose because I don’t want the flowers quilted into the picture. As you can see in my mind these are large rocks, good for sitting on and watching the sea.

That did not work. It still looks quilted and I think the thread is too thin. they may have looked better with flower tops but still like they are in the rock rather than beside the rock.  At least they were easy to take out.

Fine yarn is next up. Fine is a relative term, right? Yes, I am sure it is. This doesn’t have a label but I am sure it’s a Briggs and Little sport single.

 

I will try this next but I think it may be too thick. If this doesn’t work I will look for some green embroider floss. I am sure I have some. If that doesn’t work I may try to think of some stumpwork maybe, something else  I could do separately with thread and then attach to the picture or maybe embrace the squishyness and quilt a simple flower or bird outline, large to cover the whole thing. Or maybe add some fabric like Ruth did and stitch on that.

And one more thing, to make Jan and Bernadette jealous.  My mom bought me a basket.

My husband said, “we don’t have a cobra.” I have a feeling he wants it to stay that way. LOL

 

Moms Birthday present.

Moms Birthday present.

Last week (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/07/28/2021-ovwsg-fiber-poker-felting/) I showed you what turned out to be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Chickadees! He is Humongous!! (There may have been a robin secretly involved in his parentage. Some illicit tryst perhaps?)  As I said last week, I mostly followed Sara’s instructions and upgraded the wire for Mega-chickadee. The wire gauge was defiantly a success there was just too much of it.

A bit of historical interlude (I will get back to felting shortly I promise)

When I was much shorter and could still climb trees, my parents bought land adjacent to a lake but way up a steep slope, so reasonably safe from lake attacks. (You do not want to ask me about the long weekend before I started grade 13. Never trust water!) A small cottage was built looking out across the lake and we enjoyed watching sunsets, sailboats and the local birds, including the great blue heron and the loon family.  Mom and Dad enjoyed the Chickadees, Wrens and hummingbirds particularly. I spent many years bringing mom wonderful presents, of Frogs, in various sizes and shades of green. I finally gave up on my quest for the perfect frog, when Mom rejected a tree frog. it was perfect! How can you object to those huge cute eyes, the sucker tows and cool colours that made him almost invisible sitting on a tree! But no it was like all the other frogs I had brought her. Mom said, “it’s an outside creature take it outside right now!” “Aw, Mom!!!”  I got the same response for grass snakes, garter snakes and black rat snakes (I did not try the snake that looked like a Mississauga rattler but without the rattle). She even rejected turtles, including the almost impossible-to-catch, soft-shelled Mud turtle!!! Look at the nose on one, it’s soo cool!!!

Mom’s birthday is coming up fast and its going to be one of those big number birthdays. This year will be her 90th! So i will have to chose her present carefully! I know frogs, snakes and turtles are out as presents. She did like the small birds at the cottage, but the chickadee I just made would be unacceptably large. The armature would make a fine robin but she still blames the robin for taking out the original railing on the path down to the lake. The robin was a bit Rubenesque and it often hopped down the skinny birch tree that had been used to create the railing. On one trip to the cottage, we realized the railing was broken and lying on the ground! Stupid robin I bet it was jumping on the railing again!! – so no, I had better not make a robin.

She would like a chickadee; they are always so fun and will yell at you if you didn’t fill up the bird feeder fast enough. The ones in my side yard get particularly annoyed with me if I’m out and haven’t topped up the feeder.  Ok, I will have to make a smaller armature at least half the size, maybe a bit smaller.

I am pleased with the armature wire gauges that I had used for Mega-chickadee and they should work for a closer to normal size bird too. The body is 20ga steel floral wire. I measured from the foot, leg, body the added the length for the neck/head. I wrapped the neck/head in black floral tape and then cut the excess off, Which I used for the shoulder/body and tail.  I used 26-gauge floral wire for the tows and extra leg supports. I was enthusiastic in the wrapping of the legs to provide lots of support for posing the little guy.

1 Mega-Chickadee and 2 smaller Chickadee armatures

I selected a short, superfine, highly crimpy fibre from a fleece I had purchased from the Wool Growers Co-Op, (possibly a Shetland). This is the same fibre I used for the mega bird legs too.  I pulled out my scary-looking Viking combs and put them to use. I drafted out a narrow sliver and wound carefully around the wire. Unfortunately, earlier this morning I was moving small plants in pots in the front garden, one of the pots broke and I broke one of my talons much lower than they normally break. OWW!! ( I trimmed the nail down and had to use the left hand as my primary winder.  (One of the few positives of my particular learning disability is my weakness for the concept of left and right, which means I have two lefts or two rights and can often use the wrong right hand to do things. Silly brain).

2 OWWW!

Ok, the left hand is not as good at photography as the right one is.  It may be because all the buttons are on the wrong side for the left fingers. Can you get a left-handed camera? My thumb should be heeled by the weekend but now I’m curious about left-handed cameras…. Focus, back to felting!!

3 legs done and the first under-layer of core wool added.

4 comparing the two new armatures

I did not use the floral tape with its waxiness to increase adhesion on the legs but the wool stayed in place well. I was starting to worry I had guessed the nose (beak) too long. I can trim the nose back if it seems too long but let’s add more wool and find out if it still looks long.

I put away the Viking combs and pulled out the hand cards. I had made a large purchase, from World of Wool, of 2kg of white core wool. The texture is soft but a bit clumpy so just pulling out of the bag to use was not drafting as well as I would like. When I did a quick couple passes with the hand cards I created a lovely soft, lofty, easy to draft out mini batt. From which I could easily pull a section to draft and wrap with.

I used a bit of Corriedale blending of the colours licorice and slate to wrap the beak.  if you can, most living things will look more realistic if you blend more than one tone or colour. In the case of black if you can make that darkness with slate and a really dark brown or green or even a bit of red you will get a much more interesting black than using the colour “out of the tube” as it were.

Then I added more of the core wool white to build up the chest back and head.

5 It’s amazing how much bigger the bird is than the armature.

6 A bit more wool to the front of the face to get a better shape and the beak now looks like the correct size.

Oh good the nose is not too big!! The head, on the other hand, does look a bit tall and large. I need a quick trip back to check my photo reference to get the shape and angles on the head.

7 Here is Mega-Chickadee, normal chickadee and extra armature.

A bit fluffy but coming along nicely. It is now time to mix up more dark charcoal, this time to add the markings on the head.

8 it’s nice to see where you are going! So, I added the eyes.

9 Still a bit too tall so worked on compacting the top of the head.

The armature is strong enough to hold a pose of the head. The legs are also supporting the body weight. This was a good choice of wire gauge.

10 posing the armature and getting the curl in the toes.

11 I think it needs a bit of a creamy tone to the under-wing and sides of the body.

12 much better.

Now that is what I basically want. The core wool does have a bit of kemp, not a lot just the odd bit that protrudes, as well as a light halo of wispiness.  The poor guy seems a bit harry. Ann sometimes Shaves her wool to expose silk fibres, it works wonderfully. I think some tiny scissors may work for my purpose.  Now, where did I put those fine embroidery scissors? Hummmm……

13   Standing on the scissors will not keep me from trying to trim up the flyaway hairs. Is this a subtle hint not to trim anymore?

 

Need for more Experiments!!

I think I should make a couple of samples of hairy surfaces and try a thin application of hair spray or fixative to see if that will keep the fuzziness contained.  I would want to do a time test to check for yellowing or other discoloration to the wool if either spay is applied.  But for now, just the very basic trim has neatened up the surface of the chickadee greatly.

14 a view of the back

Next, I am off to IKEA, well in the morning, now it’s quite late since I got distracted again while writing this blog. There are bell display bottles “BEGÅVNING – Glass dome with base 7 ” tall”. Yes that is for the morning, “Yawn” I will let you see what I find tomorrow.

 

Day 2 the “Framing”

Oh, the Excitement!! A trip to IKEA!! (OK it’s only 5 stop signs away from the house. Well, 4 stop signs on the road and 1 in thier parking lot. It is very close, but it’s been over a year since I have been there!!) I consulted the web page and notice that the cafeteria is open for take-away food. Gravadlax or Poached Salmon? Yummm. Ok grab the camera and the Chickadee and headed off to IKEA!

15 the exciting Begavnings in their natural environment!

16 they come in two sizes!

17 the options at IKEA, If I could do woodturning I would consider the glass covers and make a wooden base.

I decided on the smaller size Begavning. Now off to get lunch to bring home.

As a fabulous treat, I went to the cafeteria and found that it was indeed open and you could eat in if you were spaced apart. I sat way at the back of the dining area in a section all by myself. It felt so odd to be eating in public and so tasty!

18 what a treat!

19 I think someone wants my dry cracker. Good thing chickadees can’t open zip lock baggies!

While i was shopping I also found a wooden articulated hand, a pepper grinder and then an umbrella weighted base in AS-IS! I LOVE trips to IKEA!

I brought home the display jar and tried the chickadee in it. The photo shows more reflection than is seen in person. Yes, that is what I am looking for.

20-21 almost ready to wrap

Do I need a piece of corkscrew hazel to give a bit of height? I tried one piece but was not convinced. I think I should add a couple of sunflower seeds and let that be the narrative.

22-25 The photoshoot

Mom’s 90th Birthday is on the 08th of the 08th, I have ordered Chocolate chip cookies from Ann (her favourite) and I have the chickadee done. It will be wonderful to see her. I hope she will like the little guy. I bet she says “at least it’s not a frog” when she opens it!

PS; Don’t tell Mom what she is getting, its a surprise!! (She doesn’t read the blog!)

 

 

My Second Poker Challenge: Felting.

My Second Poker Challenge: Felting.

Last time I showed you my spinning poker challenge. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/07/26/spinning-poker-challenge/ This time it’s the felting poker challenge

In case you didn’t see it the idea is you pick a card from felting four different category card decks. With felting wool is a given.

My picks are:

Fibre: use thread or fine yarn

Colour: use cool colours

Structure/Technique: needle felting

Other: No Larger Than An Index Card ( 3inches by 5inches, 7.5cm by 12.5 cm)

This one took me a while to figure out. I kept thinking of a cold picture even though I do know cool colours doesn’t mean a cold picture. I don’t usually do needle-felt pictures I usually wet felt and then do a little needling and stitching. I am glad it’s only a small piece.

To start I cut the right size piece of prefelt for the base. I got this to try out From Monica of The Olive Sparrow. I have to say so far it is very nice to use. It’s quite thick and nice to needle into, not too hard and not too soft. Just like baby bears bed.

          

 

Next, I picked my colours for a nice scene. Most of it is merino except the two-tone green. It is corriedale.

 

Laying it out. and tacking it all down. I wanted sky and water and a clifftop.

 

The sky and sea are blending together. I went online and had a look at some sea and sky pictures. There seems to be a definite dark line where they meet but when I added it to the picture, it looked odd. I decided to pop an island in.

That looks better but it looks lonely so I added another one and greyed them out a bit to make them look a little farther away.

That is where it stands now. You will notice there are no threads or fine yarns. That will be next. I will probably add some grasses and flowers to the foreground with stitching and maybe a tiny lighthouse on the rock. I am not sure yet what I want to do.

2021 OVWSG Fiber Poker (Felting)!!

2021 OVWSG Fiber Poker (Felting)!!

Quite a few years ago, as a way to give a fun summer challenge to guild members, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners guild executive decided to make a summer poker challenge. But since we are not a card-playing-poker-guild we would do fibre poker instead. I think it was Shirley Browsky who set it up (she has her OHS master Spinner (1991) and is completing her master weaver Certificate). she made a deck of cards listing different types of fibre, different techniques, thicknesses, colours and things to includes like feathers or beads. We drew 4 cards from the deck and could re-select one if we wanted to.

1)  2014 the drawing of the cards

Even after trading in one card for another, we occasionally wound up with conflicting cards, which made the finished item extremely hard to complete. There was also a deck for weaving created. Over the years, more cards have been added to the deck and for the summer of 2020, a felting deck was created. This year, each deck was updated and divided into 4 suits; for felting, it was Fiber, Colour, Technique and Other. This greatly reduced the likelihood of getting impossible conflicts in cards. (Use only plain weave + include overshot).

Cards would be drawn at the June meeting and you would have until the September meeting to create your yarn skein, woven sample or project, or your felted item. The September meeting would be a double show and tell meeting, a sort of what I did on my summer vacation and the poker challenge completed projects.

2) This is my spinning challenge from 2014. I think it was; include Found objects, use Locks, Pigtails and it was either use more than 2 plys or over twist.

3-5) Carl ran Fiber Poker in 2017 with a spinning or weaving option. He carefully wrote down everyone’s picks.

6) This is Ann’s finished skein.

7) A particularly interesting solution to one challenge was seen for “include Locks”

I had not been participating the last few years, due to working on the library architecture migration project; we can chat about that some other day if you are curious. This year we were in lockdown and with the most massive part of the library project done. (There are still a few small manageable chunks left to do.) SO, I can have fun rather than just watching what everyone else has made (and taking pictures of course).

This year the draw with the new decks was over email. I requested a felting challenge and the email arrived of what elements I would have to include. Nothing conflicted and I could do all the elements without researching.  The problem was more what to pick?

8) 2021 my cards

OH my, so many options running through my head!! Slow down and write them down

  • Stained glass with fine yarn using a blue 2D picture with 3D wire element finishing embellishment with beads. Going from 2D to 3D is lots of fun. I have done quite a bit of that with the Guild art show for Canada’s 150th. Keep thinking.
  • Landscape with blue sky as a prominent feature. Wet felt background layout yarn for cloud edges, water ripples, with a tree or rock edges. Lay over yarn with thin wisps of wool, building back words to the backing base. Work the back dry then flip check wet and felt. Let dry enough to Add wire elements to the backing side to push out rocks/trees add edge stiffness to the piece. Add fibre and felt to attach the wire. Push stretch out 3D areas. Let fully dry and add beads. Hmm, that sounds like fun but let’s keep thinking.
  • Hedgehog, yarn for spikes, make a blueberry or blue flower. Use an armature –mouth can open, add beads for eyes. – 1.5 (14ga) aluminum, high twist 2 tone yarn may have to spin it. black beads, white, beige and light gray and brown back. Research: “There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand” Also; adult size of 6–8 inches, short legs, but hedgehogs are equipped to waddle around with the help of an about a half-inch long stubby tail for balance. They can lift their underside completely off the floor and run very quickly for short distances. domestication will have five toes on their front feet and only four on their back feet. Spines only grow to be less than an inch long but are sharp enough to provide defence. the quills, which are modified hollow hairs.  For domestication purposes, the white-bellied or four-toed hedgehog, Atelerix albiventris, was bred with the Algerian hedgehog, Atelerix algirusThe structure of their teeth, including two frontal incisors for 36 altogether, They prefer a cat food with meat or poultry listed as the main ingredient, and definitely with a high protein level. a supplementary diet including insects or mealworms. Some additional treats could be boiled egg, fruit, crickets, or vegetables.

Maybe not, i did one (with a soap inside him) recently for Glenn. (he named him Crevice)

9) Robins nest from a hanging basket at my mother inlaws’.

  • A real Birds Nest arrived from Oakville – make a bird with an armature to go in the nest. Oh, I like this idea. Let’s look at it further.

My favourite colours are blue and black. (ok my favourite colours remind you of a bruise at least it’s not one of those awful green and yellow bruises!) A blue jay is too big for the nest, research birds that are blue in the Ottawa area of Ontario. Birds I like; crows (too big), Blue Jays (too big), chickadees (well they have black but not blue), most of the birds of prey (too big).

Include Wire well that is easy. Add an armature. Didn’t Sara have proportions for a wren recently in a video? Yes. What is she using for her armature? 22ga for legs, it looks like floral wire, 32ga for toes and a pipe cleaner for the body. Hmmm, I do not think that has the strength I want and I don’t have a 32 (I checked my samples). Ok, 20ga legs and body, 26ga toes. Wrens and chickadees’ are close in size. This should work perfectly!…. I carefully watched and re-watched the first bit of the video as she is working on the armature to figure out the size. Leg measurements check, body and toe pieces I have an estimate but I left the wire longer so I could trim to size as I work. This allowed for more support wrapping on the legs, which I had wanted to add while watching the video.

Include Beads Or Sequins: birds need eyes! I have at least 2 sizes of glass beads in the small box of beads. I switched that part of my collection into a different box when I rebuild my office shelves (moved the massage and computer reference stuff out and moved wool, wax, wire and beads in. ok where on the shelf did I put it and why is it not labelled yet? (Another job, add it to the list).  I guess I should either not clean up or remember where I put things!  Ah, one little bag of the right size, perfect! Now how to attach it?

Use Thread Or Fine Yarn: do I know where my beading needle is? ….no. Will one of the long sewing needles in the giant pill bottle by the window work? Maybe… Yes, not all the beads are exactly the same size so some fit over the eye of the needle and some don’t. I pick two that fit. Now for the thread. I just got a couple of huge bobbins of industrial thread for making bags (a shop that made bags was closing so I scored white black and a green, no blue) I picked up some quilting thread that may be a bit better size and it will still be strong enough. What do I find for colours? Black, white and a different green… there seems to be a theme here that doesn’t include blue. Ok, I like black too. Black, it will be. Any other instructions? let me check. No, that’s 4 and I have them covered.

Now to watch the armature section of Sara’s wren video.

Part 1 is here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHZnSWuz7AY

Part 2 is here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnZrpAxrwcA

Sara (Sarafina Fiber Art) has a slightly different approach to felting than I seem to be developing. She is more additive and has been working on techniques and vocabulary that can be reproduced by others. She tends to wrap the armature, then makes shapes from the wool and adds them to the armature. (Thus, additive; like sculpting with clay). While I start with the armature and wrapping, I usually add loose wool and sculpt it down to what I want. (Thus more subtractive; like sculpting with stone. Just keep poking and compacting until you get the shape.) I am adding wool in sections and layers to build up muscles but I don’t tend to pre-build the muscle and add it on.

Since I had never tried to make a bird before I should probably try to follow Sara’s instructions and see how that goes… or how long that lasts before I wander off-topic and do my own thing. (I am a challenging student.)

As I said, I watched and re-watched the beginning of Sara’s video to get the armature correct. I modified her wire suggestions to increase the armature strength. For the body and legs, I selected the 18-inch long floral wire in 20ga steel (I used a magnet to pick up a part that fell off the table.)  I measured and cut the legs then added the 26ga garden wire to create the toes and trimmed the excess. I then folded the 18-inch floral wire (20ga) following Sara’s measurements twisting the wires together and attaching the body to the legs. I formed a small triangle for the body and left the rest of the wire to support the tail.

10)  Leg-wire adding the wire for the toes

11) The body added to the legs with the extra wire left for the tail

12-13)  Added black ½ inch floral tape to the beak and neck.

Ok, time to look more closely for reference photos for chickadees. Oh my, there are many chickadee types! Our local one is the black cap Chickadee. Let’s try to find shots from various directions. Why is it so hard to find a shot of the back of the head? I guess it’s hard to sneak up on a chickadee or photographers just don’t think of that as a chickadee’s best side.

Time to add fibre

First, try on the beak, it was a dark grey long-staple fibre but it just didn’t look right. Next, I tried a bit of black merino roving but I wasn’t too happy with that either. Let’s leave that a moment and look at the legs

For the legs, I selected an extremely short crimpy brown/beige fibre.   Although the baggy of fibre was unlabeled, I think it may be a bit of extremely fine Shetland. It is lightly washed and still has a bit of lanolin in it. I drafted out to about an eighth of an inch width started at the top of the leg and worked down to the toes.

14-15) Head and feet

I am still considering the black but let’s add the body and start the neck.

16-17) I anchored one end of my roving and added layers following Sara’s Instructions. It’s starting to look a bit more bird-like.

18)  I continued to follow instructions (mostly), adding a roll of wool for the chest and to build up the back.

19) I am working over a cheaper quality pool noodle.

20)  Yes, that looks a lot more bird shaped now. I don’t like that grey tonally. It’s too dark and flat. That’s ok. I have more fibre options.

21)  Blending with hand carders

My options in Corriedale are Liquorish (black), Slate (dark grey), Fog (med-light blue-grey), Grey (med-Dark Grey), White Core wool world of wool. A bit of Fog,  grey and a tiny bit of white and I had what I wanted. I again did not completely blend the fibre to a uniform colour since nature tends to be more creative than flat colours.

22)  lightening the back colour

Now it’s time to consider the tail. The Chickadee seems to have a reasonably long tail so let’s trim a bit off the leftover wire and let that support the tail. I didn’t want to fold over the ends so I used the floral tape to keep them from poking through.

23)  needs a tail

The nose was still bugging me so I took off the merino and replaced it with Slate Coriadale. Ah, much better. I then blended the slate and Licorice to get a non-flat colour for the black head markings and build up the top and sides of the beak.

24-25)  Oops, I got distracted watching the Olympics while I worked  (there was no blood shed but audio-books are safer when felting). At this point I have the wing shapes done but still need to add the feather detailing. I will leave that for later. I just have them held in place with a pin. I think I need a bit more rounding under the wings and the head and markings still need a bit more shaping. I also need to add eyes.

A pause while I go look for the box of beads. I will get back to that in a moment.

Through today I have been sitting in front of the computer (you can see the messy desk piled with wool and implements of wool torture and maybe the Mountain dew I was drinking). Just off to the right(?) is the phone which today is the bane of my felting. After someone wanting to clean my ducks, (how silly, ducks are self-cleaning. it’s the pond they wash in that would need to be washed – I don’t have a pond or ducks), multiple probably robocalls that there is no one on the line so I hang up and finally I got this one. Oh, I have chatted with their co-workers before this could be fun but it’s interrupting my felting.

Transcript: Ring!!! “Hello?” Long pause, “Is this Mrs. Glenn Martin? Noncommittally “this is Jan, Who is this?” “This is Microsoft service department about your computer.” I interrupt “which one, I have a few? If you can tell me the operating system I will know which one you want to discuss, I have some that don’t go on the internet too.” Silence……Click. She gave up much more quickly than I expected. It usually takes them longer to give up. Maybe I sounded like she had interrupted important felting?

After a bit of a search I found the small box of beads and yes I have 2 sizes of black glass beads. The bigger ones look like they will be perfect for this size bird. Now, where are the beading needles? I have a long needle that worked if I was careful selecting the bead (some had larger or smaller openings)

26) adding beads for eyes

So by bedtime, I had got this far. The eyes have been added and the felting highlight around the eye has been added. You can see the notes I took while watching Sara’s video. Unfortunately, I was partway through watching the videos when I heard her say she was working at a larger-than-life, size. Drat!!! Well, that explains why a chickadee fits in a robin’s nest!

27) still needs to have details added to the back and wings but that will have to wait until after the next library day. I promise I will show you it when I am done! I may make another which is more appropriately sized.

Have Fun and Keep Felting!!

 

Connections: An Exhibition

Connections: An Exhibition

I’ve just taken down my work from a Made in Whitstable group exhibition at a local arts centre gallery so thought I’d tell you about the felt pieces I had in the exhibition.

Made in Whitstable is a loose affiliation of artists and makers who have a close connection to the town, on the coast in SE England.

With a diverse artistic group it’s not always easy to find a title that everyone is comfortable with. ‘Connections’ seemed to offer enough room for people to work with in their various styles and mediums.

This exhibition was postponed from Easter 2020 so it was great finally to get some work out there, and to catch up (albeit at a distance and in a mask) with people I haven’t seen for a long time.

As I’ve described in previous blogs, this year I’ve been learning from online workshops. I’ve long been interested in both seed heads and shells and these have both continued to feature in my recent work. Reflecting on this, I realise they are all forms of natural protective cases and although it’s not a snappy title, I decided it was a good ‘connections’ theme for me.

This is a picture I made specifically for the exhibition.

Recycling Oyster Shells: Turnstone at the Royal Native Oyster Stores, Whitstable

These photos show the oyster shells laid out, prefelt shells in a single sheet, then cut up and laid onto a background of white Norwegian batt (lower half) and tan Perendale batt (top half). There’s a recycled silk scarf laid over the tan batt layers to give the impression of a pebbled beach in the distance.

Layout for the turnstone, using a combination of merino wool and prefelt; fully felted turnstone and a trial with two birds. I decided to go for just one. I needle felted the turnstone into place then added the eye, beak, legs and a few feather details

I also made some smaller pictures along the shell & seed pod theme

Top left: mussel shell with recycled silk sea, cotton scrim wave foam and prefelt pebbles

Top right: Oyster shell with mixed wool and yarns and fabric barnacles on a recycled silk background

Bottom left: pink shell on a recycled silk beach with cotton scrim wave foam and mixed wool and silk fibre sea

Bottom centre: paper felt shell on recycled silk background

Bottom right: Corriedale, silk and yarn background with multiple-resist circles, hand stitching and a sycamore key

I also had various 3D shapes in the exhibition.

Left – based on a eucalyptus seed pod. I made this in a wonderful workshop by Gladys Paulus in November 2019. I covered that workshop in my first blog for the Felting and Fiber Forum. Various wool batts and mohair locks.

Top right – conker made in two parts (using the stem technique I learned from Gladys). Outer made from Perendale and Norwegian batts, inner is merino wool tops

Bottom right – based on a hazelnut, also made soon after Gladys’s workshop.

Here’s a poppy seed head I made this year after Fiona Duthie’s Fibre + Paper workshop. Mulberry paper is felted into the felt surface. The paper adds structure, folds and pleats well and can be drawn on / painted. I painted this with watercolours. I had to make the top separately so stitched it on. A local craftsman made the base; the pod is held on a piece of dowel attached to the base.

This nigella seed pod is also paper felt but made side-on with pre-felted ropes and thicker wool sections (not prefelted) to allow variable shrinkage (learned from Soosie Jobson). I had a reclaimed jarrah wood and dowel stand made for this.

Another paper felt shape, inspired by shells, with pleats and nobbles made as a result of Fiona Duthie’s workshop

And finally, I included a few plant holders and some earrings.

Here’s my display area – I did put the cards (bottom right) on a small table!

My display area

There were lots of good exhibitors. Here’s a small selection: top left fused glass by Irene Southon; middle left acrylics by Josephine Harvatt; bottom left watercolours by Sarah Louise Dunn showing local sites commissioned by Whitstable Museum to illustrate a map of the town; right, prints by Linda Karlsen. Work by Irene, Josephine, Sarah and Linda (Wearartworks) can all be found on social media like Instagram and Facebook. They and other exhibitors can also be found on Made in Whitstable’s Facebook and Instagram.

The footfall was rather disappointing and I would guess that sales were down on previous years, but it was really good to get some work out on show and to see what other people had been creating.

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