This piece is large, somewhere in the 30″ length and 18-20″ width. This is the layout and I have sprinkled the cut up orange nuno felt over the base layer of green wool. I made sure that the orange bits were roughed up so they would stick down better.
Here is the piece after felting. I have pinned some larger poppies in the foreground made out of painted silk paper. I was distracted by the yellow in the direct center in the sky. I decided to add more yellow so that the one area wouldn’t stick out as much.
I needle felted some yellow across the left portion of the lower sky and a few wisps up higher. I also added some lighter/paler silk paper to the poppies as I felt they were too dark in the first try. Then I added some green locks to the foreground for foliage.
And here it is after finishing and “matting” on green fabric. Now Remembrance is ready to go the framer. Now I just have to find a new gallery to carry my work, easier said than done.
A few weeks ago I experienced the delight that is the Auckland Fun Felter’s Retreat, 2 full days of felting bliss! 🙂
We were 13 like-minded ladies at a retreat centre, tucked away in a quiet and leafy corner of west Auckland, we had the entire centre all to ourselves and were blessed with some lovely weather.
Jenny, our organiser extraordinaire, asked if anyone would be willing to teach / lead a short workshop on Saturday morning. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t had the chance to teach face to face since 2019 so jumped at the chance and then immediately panicked that I had nothing to teach this incredibly creative and experienced group (most of the members have been felting at least as long as I have!).
After several weeks mulling it over and talking to other AFF members I settled on “animal textures in felt”, I thought this would lend itself to a series of pre-prepared samples that we could discuss the potential pitfalls and then each member could incorporate one or two into their own project. This group is so experienced I couldn’t imagine any of them wanting to waste their precious felting time watching me laying out fibre over a resist.
We all arrived on Friday afternoon, settled into our rooms and started playing with our fibres in the main hall. After talking to a few members I realised not everyone would be happy for me to share some samples and tips on how to achieve different effects, they wanted a project to follow…. my heart sank, I hadn’t planned for this, how was I going to come up with a project that included, fur, scales, eyes and locks before tomorrow morning?!!
So it was that Fugly was born….
A little pod critter, with eyes, scales on his back, a lambs tail and an unfortunate ear-hair problem – for the record I would never normally recommend trying to cram so many different techniques onto one item but now he is finished I do find Fugly quite endearing 🙂
To my surprise most of the group also made pods that incorporated most or all of the techniques and we ended up with a ?gaggle, ?fright, ?laughter <insert collective noun of your choice here> of funny little monsters:
This weekend was such a success we agreed to do it all again in just 6 months time! 🙂
Where did the time go? I looked at the posting schedule and thought I have lots of time to get my post ready but here I am down to the wire,….. again.
I did manage this week to make some progress on my small picture. I started by adding some grass/stems/leaves/. Starting with a very Christmas green.
Then adding other shades
It looks ok but it’s way too short. What am I going to do with the other 2/3 of the picture? So, remembering Ruth’s advice on the last stitch project when I wasn’t very happy with it, she said “just keep adding more”, I decided I was not taking the stitches out. I would just keep going. The next batch of grass was longer.
At this point, I notice the bottom edge was starting to curl a little. This is because I was stitching into the bottom edge. I didn’t want the bottom of the stitches to show entry points on the top side of the bottom edge. I noticed some of the threads were a little loose too. To remedy this I ironed it with steam. I think it helped.
The next step is the flowers. I was originally thinking stitched flowers, then thought maybe seed needs would be good. I asked opinions at my guild social and everyone seemed to think I should do both. I probably will.
And now the Studio Progress.
The walls and floor have been painted. The place that hasn’t been painted is where the ductwork will go for the heating. It will then get drywall put over it and it will be painted. Notice one of my favourite things about this space. It has a center floor drain. The electrical box will get a cupboard built to hide it.
Yes, the floor is covered in blue speckles, for non-slip and to hide the floor repairs.
Next are the sinks, the ductwork, painting my selves, bookcase and small table. They will be boring white, once the books and wool are on them they will be colourful enough. The table gets the microwave so it will not be seen much either.
That’s it for now. I plan on doing the flowers for the next post but I am not sure what else. I am sure I will find something to keep me busy and out of too much trouble.
I have tried flour paste resist before and even wrote a tutorial about how to use the resist on silk scarves. My local group decided we wanted to try some experiments again with flour paste resists. If you are wondering how you could use this technique, it would work great for making patterns on silk fabric used in nuno felting. If you want to learn the full process, click on the link above.
Because we were going to try this in one afternoon, I had to do some prep work. It takes at least 24 hours x 2 for this process to dry. I started with hand dyed fabric and used a variety of colors and a variety of types of fabric. I started out trying to document the process but the documentation fell apart in the middle of the process. So, I can’t tell you exactly which pastes were used on which fabric. But I did figure out what works and what doesn’t work so well.
So I pinned the fabric down and applied different pastes. Instead of just using wheat flour (which I know works), I also tried potato starch, amaranth flour, corn meal, and coconut flour. I could tell after applying some of these, especially the potato starch, that some of the pastes were not going to work as wheat flour does. After you apply the paste, you let it dry and then crackle the surface. The corn meal pretty much fell off the fabric and didn’t stick at all. The only alternative flour that worked well was the amaranth flour.
After the surface of the paste resist is cracked, then paint or thickened dye is applied. I used black textile paint. You can see that I left some of the pieces unpainted, as these would be used by my group during our afternoon get together.
If it’s working, you can see on the back side of the fabric, the paint comes through the cracks on to the fabric. This example is wheat flour resist and overall, it definitely works the best. I think if I had mixed wheat flour with some of the other alternative flours, it might have worked better and still given different crackle results.
Here are some of the results of the pastes that didn’t work so well. The fabric is still useable as the results were still very organic but it was not the crackle look expected from this technique.
Here are the two that worked the best. The one on the right is from wheat flour paste and the one on the right is from amaranth flour paste. It is really interesting how different the crackles look between the two. I’m not sure what I will do with these samples yet but I’m sure eventually, they will get used in some project.
As some of you know I am moving my studio. I am not moving far, just from one end of the building to the other. I will gain some storage space, another room and a direct entrance. And importantly I will be closer to the bathroom.
I have packed 90% of my studio into boxes and they are piled up in the extra room. Consequently, I do not have a lot to work with. I did make a box with a blob of each colour of merino I have. and collected a bag of prefelts etc.
So there I was on Monday, wondering what on earth I would post about today. I was looking at my inspiration file and going through e bags of prefelt and I found this small odd-shaped one.
This is the back of it because I forgot to take a picture before adding wool to the front.
I added some sky
A blue sky is pretty much one colour. light at the bottom but not a mix of colours. The grass on the other hand is not one colour. so I mixed some up using my dog brushes.
this is the finished background. the needle is to give you an idea of the size. Jan thought it looked knife-shaped I thought it looked like a bullet train.
I want to add some flowers along the bottom. I wasn’t sure what thread to use. I hat unpicking so I grabbed a piece of fulled sweater off cut and covered it in green to try out some different threads.
the dark pink is Filtex. these are very old spools they are shiny rayon, like fake silk. the orange is 1,2 and 3 strands of embroidery thread., the blue is an embroidery cord and the green is a different kind of silk or fake silk embroidery yarn.
Here’s a picture of the back. You can see what each thread looks like a little better.
Next is doing the stitching. I think I will use the green to add a few bigger leaf shapes. the orange and blue worked well. I will try using 2 and 3 threads of the pink to see if they show up better. stitching on felt is odd. you have to make your stitch about twice as long as you want it to get it to show up the size you want. It must be because of how soft the surface is. Does anyone else also find this to be true?
For those of you who have not met Mr. Mer, here he is last year as I was working on his anatomy.
1-2 Mr. Mer 2021
Mr. Mer was underwhelmed with how I had left his basic under-structure of his fishy bits. I agreed with him that he was not quite as pike-like as I would like. The fish part of the body needed to be thicker and more muscular when compared to my photo reference. How can you fight snapping turtles with such a scrawny lower body? I still liked the vestigial knees but felt the idea had not yet coalesced into a good integration between man and fish. I will think more on this as I add bulk to his fishiness.
3 parts of the green fibre collection.
I dug through the greens I had been using, I was almost out of one of the colours I had blended and will have to blend more of it! I was using the large ball of “Olive” Corriedale as the base and adding other greens to mottle and create the colour for the under-structure. The darker top that I was blending with the olive I am pretty sure some was the Superwash I had bought from the Black lamb.
4-5 blending wool to build up Mr. Mer’s fish body and tail.
Since I needed a reasonable amount of fibre to build up his fish end I used the hand carders to partly blend the colours. (Nature tends not to have flat colours.) Although I usually hand blend small amounts for details, using the handcards or even dog brushes is easier on the hands and wrists than working with the same amount of fibre hand blending. When I take the fibre off the cards, it is still quite a long staple. For the under layer and blocking in the basic shape this will work. However, as I get closer to the final shape I tend to tear the fibre into pieces from half an inch to an inch long.
Although I started with the armature and adding shapes build-up of fibre as per Sara’s instructions I have deviated well away from her original Mer-Maid design. She tends to work by adding formed shapes, but for this one, she added a wet felted skin layer to put over her under-structure. I have had more fun using a more blended approach of both additive and subtractive sculpture. (Adding pre-formed shapes and felting them into place is a lot faster than what I tend to do with using layers and small amounts of loose fibre to sculpt into the desired shape).
You can see I have moved from legs with a tail shape Mer-Man to the beginnings of a more human-fish hybrid.
6-8 upgrading Fishy-bits underway
I like the direction but need to increase the height and a bit more width of the fish section. I am investigating the popliteal space (the area behind the knees). I like the angle of the intersection but want to raise the fish spine a bit higher.
9-10 Needs a bit more
Oh no, he is not going to like the way that tail looks, it’s a bit bear. I over fanned the armature of the tail and then added wisps of full-length staple. I added a bit to each side using a variety of needles and finally the punch tool (fake clover tool). so when I adjust the tail to the correct position the webbing should ripple like partly closing a fan.
11-12 Working on the tail
That seems a bit better so I switched back to the body again.
13 elevating the top line of the fish body
I have made both the top line higher and am investigating the angle of integrating behind the knees. Tomorrow Is Library Day for the guild and I will ask Ann what she thinks. So it’s time for Mr. Mer to get into his project bag (not that I expect to have any time to work on him tomorrow) but I am sure he will enjoy getting out of the house and Ann will like seeing how he is coming along.
14 On Library Day, Ann Checked out Mr. Mer’s Progress, she had a few suggestions.
15-17 Ann critiques him
As we got the library ready for book pick up, Mr. Mer took up position on top of a small 8 harness loom to watch for guild members wanting their requested books.
18-20 Mr. Mer is watching for Library patrons
I noticed he was having trouble bending and has to maintain a push-up to allow him to look out the window. I have to see what I can do to help him. I will start with an assessment of his ROM (Range of Motion) particularly at his waist but that will be in my next post.
I will hope you are not getting bored with the fishiness of my posts and promise to try to work on something different, but the next post will be part 2. There may be surgery involved!
I declare throwback Tuesday. I seem to have run out of time this week so I thought you might like to see this post from 2017. Jan posted some pictures in our guild group and it reminded me and I thought it was worth another look. I hope it and the links to the other 2 posts about it will give you lots of inspiration for your own work.
It’s that time of year when there are lots of Christmas fairs coming up & I need to make some festive items.
Recently, I picked up some Christmas-themed small wooden blanks (for tree decorations, or maybe gift tags) very cheaply in a charity shop. I started doodling on them with acrylic pens and found I was enjoying myself – it made me think about the recent popularity of adult colouring books. Good for mindfulness.
Some examples of the painted blanks – there was quite a variety of shapes.
I know these aren’t fibre-related but it set me off thinking about doing something similar with felt. I bought some bauble-shaped wooden blanks online and after colouring a few in (colouring in is a little addictive) …..
Some of the painted baubles
….. I decided to make a sheet of white felt, decorated with bits of vintage lace, old tatting and shadow-work embroidery, all bought in charity shops. I have a box full of old strips of hand and machine made ‘lace’, old dressing table doilies, bits of fine crochet….anything I think might felt. I thought this was an ideal opportunity to do some creative up-cycling.
As I was making the felt it struck me that I have lots of handmade felt off-cuts, test pieces and samples that I could use in a similar way. A good opportunity to recycle work and release a little studio space. To continue my recycling theme, I even used charity-shop-bought crochet cotton for the hanging strings.
These were cut from square samples I made during Fiona Duthie’s Ink + Felt class
Left, some more ink + cloth samples. Right, samples I made for my ‘hippie’ bag earlier this year
Left photo: Top left a nuno sample I made using recycled linen; the others were off-cuts from other projects
Right photo – the yellow was a coaster I made with coloured yarn; the green and pink are nuno samples, the blue is an example of paper felt with some acrylic pen
Finally, I painted some of the wooden bauble-shapes white, and married them with a broad strip of black vintage lace.
So, the chance purchase of second-hand wooden blanks led me to upcycling vintage textiles and recycling some of my own felt off-cuts and samples. I love seeking out and using second-hand materials, especially small hand made things, usually made by women, that tend to be disregarded by many people. Often they are from something that has worn out, like a pillow case, or is rarely now used, like dressing table sets or antimacassars.
I have one particular piece of embroidery on fine silk that I couldn’t bring myself to use. The work is so fine I endlessly marvel at the skills of the woman who made it. It’s so intricate and beautiful with such tiny stitches it makes me feel slightly sad. I bought it in a charity shop for £2. To me it’s a disregarded masterpiece.
Silk and embroidery (hand / finger included for scale)
The silk is starting to disintegrate and I’m really not sure what to do with it. Any suggestions?
Line Dufour has been a practicing textile artist and tapestry weaver for the last 35 years. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto Ontario and has always had her own studio. She taught weaving to adults for about twenty years, while at the same time doing art/craft shows and exhibitions. She is currently retired from teaching but continues her studio practice. At the moment, Line does not have a gallery that represents her, and if someone wants to purchase one of her pieces they contact her through her website or social media or other channels. Line’s website www.linedufour.com. You can find her cv on there as well. She is currently enrolled at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK and working on obtaining her Master’s in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking.
And now the project
Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry, Punta del Este, Uruguay 2017
Fate, Destiny and Self Determination  Le Sort, Destin, et l’auto-determination  Suerte, Destino y Auto-determinación  Los, Przeznaczenie i Wola  Das Schicksal, das Geschick und das Selbstbestimmungsrecht
 운명, 숙명 그리고 자기가 결정한 팔자. 팔자  Usud, sudbina i samoodređenje  Sorte,Destino,Auto Determinação  Öde, mål och självbestämmande  Fato, Destino e Autodeterminazione
Written by Line Dufour.
Fate is defined as a force, energy, principle, element or power that prescribes to each person a set of limits, boundaries and confines. In Islam it is called Kismet. The Greeks called Fate, Moira. Greek Mythology speaks of the three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos who supposedly controlled each person’s fate. The youngest, Clotho, is a spinner and she determines the time of birth and spins the thread of life on her distaff. Lachesis measures the length of the thread to determine the length of one’s life; the time of death is decided by Atropos, who cuts the thread. Inherent in the idea of Fate, is that one has no influence over events and outcomes. Mythology and psychology distinguish between Fate and Destiny. Destiny is considered an expanding field of possibilities alluding to our potential to influence our Fate. This makes Destiny kinetic. “The lives we construct are an inextricably woven fabric of influences, possibilities and accumulated consequences of choices made.” (James Hollis)
The development of the COVID-19 has made all of us more aware of the impact of isolation on our well being. This sense of isolation forms the underpinnings of this installation launched in 2016. Fate, Destiny and Self Determination was created as social media driven initiative to reduce the isolation artists experienced in their artistic process through co-creating the installation, providing planned hands-on events and gathering them together to exhibit their collective efforts. Inclusiveness is the weft that weaves the installation together.
Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is composed of three sections. The main tapestry woven panel (on the left) was created by Line Dufour, referencing the contemporary practice of tapestry where artist and weaver are one. The second panel on the right, was woven by visiting participants ranging from the inexperienced and amateur to the professional. This referenced traditional tapestry conventions in that many weavers work(ed) on the tapestry at the same time or at various stages and did not contribute to creating the tapestry designs.
The final section is composed of irregular shapes positioned at varying heights, between the 2 main panels, floating freely in space, as though the tapestry is pulling apart or coming together. As each shape arrives, Dufour photographs/documents it, posts it to the Facebook page for the project https://www.facebook.com/Fate-Destiny-and-Self-Determination-An-international-tapestry-project-194385150700425 as well as on Instagram@tapestryline and Twitter@tapestry_line. She also includes information about the participants such as their website if they have one, and other comments they have made about the project or about their work and/or life. Thus far, 864 shapes have been received from 43 countries, and a total of about 519 people have participated. The installation continues to expand as it accepts shapes on an ongoing basis. Part of the exhibition includes a list of all participant names. If a label cannot be displayed in the gallery, a QR code label is available so that the gallery viewer can access the web page with the names of all participants.
Each time Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is installed the shapes are never placed in the same positions, making it interactive and spontaneous, and permits the curator(s) to be part of its creation. Conversely, the curator could also invite the gallery guest to position shapes on the wall between the two panels, having them re-create the installation.
The installation welcomes invitations to be exhibited around the world, and to that effect has been exhibited in the following venues:
Craft Ontario in Toronto, Canada
The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Regis University, Denver, Colorado USA
Craft Council of British Columbia, Canada
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles as part of the American Tapestry Alliance Biennial 11
Guan Shan Yue Art Museum, Shenzen, China. 9th From Lausanne To Beijing
The Centre D’Action Culturelle de la MLC de Papineau in Québec
World Textile Art Biennial at the Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry in Punta del Este Uruguay
World of Threads, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Rosccommon County Council, Roscommon Ireland
Tuchmacher Museum, Bramsche, Germany
Tuch & Technik Textilmuseum, Neumunster, Germany
Anyone who wishes to do so, can create a shape using a textile/fibre related technique (tapestry, rug, weaving, felt, basketry, etc) or create a piece that references textiles with whatever materials they like. Any hue from the colour wheel is suggested. You can use more than one colour. There is no minimum or maximum size, but the average size is 10cm (4”) . There is no maximum on the number of pieces you can submit. A person can also weave (create) a shape of their country, state or province or any shape except not a square or rectangle. You can look at the Instagram @tapestryline page for the project to see how other people have created their shapes.
I did finish the felting part of the 3 pieces I started last time.
First the lantern cover. I am not entirely happy with the way it felted. I was hoping it would be more solid. However, there was so much non-wool fibre it ended up very soft and holey.
It will still work for this application but it wouldn’t stand up to being a scarf. It looks cool just not what I planned. Sometimes that is the way it goes.
The first one is just on the vase the second is the lights turned on and the last is with the lights on in the dark.
The first picture felted up nicely. I used the thicker mostly felted prefelt I have and it is nice and firm after felting. It shrank a little but I was able to pull it back out to 5×7. I am not sure which way up it should go is it land and sea/stormy sky?
Or is it land and sunset sky? what do you think? I haven’t decided on what I will add to the picture now. Maybe some needle felting or some stitching or both.
The next one that wasn’t wet yet in the last blog also worked out very well. I felted it onto a piece from a fulled, woven wool coat. The fabric didn’t shink but the wool attached pretty well.
The embellishments are attached but look to be floating rather than part of it. I think I may rewet it and felt it some more. The embellishment fibres are not very well attached. I like it though.
After writing this I decided the wool was well felted so I would needle felt the embellishments in rather than rewetting it. They lost some of the brightness but I still like it.
I have an experiment to show you next time and maybe if I figure it out, some idea of what I will do with these pieces.