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Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

The last time I posted here (in January) I described my plan to take various online felting classes. With all my sales and exhibitions cancelled or on hold I thought this would be a good way to keep me focused and motivated during our 3rd pandemic lockdown. Here’s the link in case you want to look back to January’s post.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/01/21/finding-focus/

This time I’m talking about my online learning since then, including how it has led me in some unexpected directions.

I was part-way through Teri Berry’s bag making class, which was great. I made my third bag, a backpack, and am very pleased with it. I’d definitely recommend Teri’s class. The instructions were clear and comprehensive and Teri was very responsive to my many questions, thoughts and comments. I learned a lot about bag making techniques, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Corriedale Backpack with Canvas Straps

Because two of the bags I made are large, relatively thick, and have to be fulled very hard, I admit bag-making was rather harder work than I’d anticipated. I rent a studio in an old industrial building that is largely unheated so maybe mid-winter isn’t the best time to be working so much heavy, cold, wet wool, but it’s a minor point. I had to use plastic gloves for the first time as my hands became so shredded and I often went home with sleeves wet to the armpit!

I’d planned to take 3 classes over January to March but was irresistibly drawn to a 4th: a 2-session live international felt-along by Aniko Boros (Baribon.Hu) learning to make her beautiful felted tulip pendant with pebble inclusions. Having signed up I realised it was going to be difficult to find the colourful 14 micron merino wool I needed. I only had white. I’ve never dyed my own wool before but I thought, why not have a go?

I already had some acid dyes so I started off with some 21 micron merino before going on to the finer and more expensive 14 micron. Then I tried silk hankies, Corriedale tops, mohair tops, silk fabric, alpaca & nylon …. nothing was safe. I had a blast. I had no idea how much fun dying would be.

Then it snowed and I thought ‘ooh, I could try snow dying’. That turned out to be great fun too. On the right are just a few of the snow dyed fabrics.

I had several colour choices of dyed 14 micron merino by the time Aniko’s workshop came around. The workshop itself was really interesting. A clear and detailed PDF was sent in advance and turned out to be very helpful on the first day when the sound or picture dropped out occasionally. It meant I could see what I needed to do next so was able to keep up. I’m pleased with my pendant (although I still have to add a fastener) including how the dyed wool worked, and feel I’ve learned techniques I will be able to use to make my own designs. Also, it led me into the entirely unexpected joy of dyeing.

Hand dyed 14 micron merino pendant with pebbles: Aniko Boros’ workshop

In the meantime I’d started Fiona Duthie’s online class Ink + Cloth. We practiced adding ink at various stages of feltmaking with loads of potential for using these techniques in future projects.

Above are samples of adding dye / ink before felting (on silk fabric) and on prefelt

These are samples of ink added in different ways to finished nuno felt with cotton and two types of silk. I’d found an image in the V&A museum online catalogue (a fantastic resource) of an early 20th century furnishing fabric with this style of lollipop trees that I was thinking of using for the 1st quarter challenge …but that’s a story for another time.

At the end of this I decided to combine various things I’d learned: to dye my own Corriedale wool tops for a bag and maybe to decorate it with inked or dyed pieces. This is still work in progress as I am not completely happy with it. I decided to let it dry and have a think before doing the last bit of fulling. After I’d laid out the wool I dithered over whether to add silk and prefelt pieces or not as I quite liked the wool as it was. At the last minute I added all sorts of bits and pieces without properly thinking through the design. I fear it betrays its history. A colleague who saw me rinsing it at the studio casually commented it was very ‘hippie, trippy summer-of-love’ which is absolutely not the look I was going for! I will come back to it soon. I included the strap in the photo to give an idea of what it will look like finished.

Now I’m part way through another class with Fiona Duthie: Fibre + Paper. It’s a fascinating process of combining specialist paper with wool. We started by making lots of samples: paper and felt, paper relief, extreme paper relief and paper with prefelt.

Above are samples showing different amounts of paper felted into 21 micron merino wool and bottom right combines prefelt and paper. They feel lovely and there seems to be so much potential to use paper with felt in different ways.

This week I made a vessel with paper embedded into the surface. It’s not perfect: I got a bit over-confident near the end and tore some of the surface (you can just see it bottom left, between the two ribs). I’ve been interested in shell shapes for a couple of years so I shall enjoy making more 3D paper & felt shell-inspired objects.

Paper felt shell-inspired vessel

In the coming week I will be trying out adding colour and surface designs with ink and paint plus making samples with some different papers. Fiona’s classes have been really enjoyable with excellent PDFs, photos and videos and lots of class interaction.

All the online classes I’ve taken have been great fun and very inspiring. They have given me lots of new skills and techniques that I will be able to use in my work. And they have definitely achieved my other objective: they have been really helpful in keeping me learning, focussed and motivated during what could otherwise have been quite a bleak time.

Finding Focus

Finding Focus

It’s the new year and here we are in England with what I’m calling the ‘new abnormal’: all non-essential shops closed; travel only if necessary; people working from home wherever possible and, for many of us, very limited direct contact with people outside our household.

If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have liked a long stretch of time with few commitments that I could dedicate to felt-making, I’d have jumped at the chance.  Be careful what you wish for. 

Towards the end of 2020 I had several events to aim for so was able to focus on making things for those. Here are a few of my favourites: a succulent holder, nuno felt vase (with glass interior) and needle felted mince pie.

I have plenty of sales and exhibitions booked throughout 2021 but no way of knowing whether and when they will take place. I have notebooks full of ideas but feel I need to find some focus to direct my efforts and get the creative energy flowing. 

I really enjoy learning new skills and developing my felt-making in different directions. So, I decided at the turn of the year to sign up for some online workshops. I’m mostly self-taught as a felt maker but now I’m asking myself ‘why do I want to reinvent so many wheels?’.  I’ve long wanted to take Fiona Duthie’s workshop ‘Fibre + Paper’ so when I saw she was running the workshop in March 2021, I eagerly signed up.  I then find myself tapping my toes impatiently and thinking ‘I don’t want to wait ‘till March!’.

Fortunately, in February Fiona is offering another class I’d like to take ‘Ink on Cloth’.  Yep, I’m in for that too.  Still the toe-tapping: ‘what about January?’. 

The Felting and Fiber Studio to the rescue: Teri Berry was offering her bag making class starting 7 January.  Perfect! I’m in for another class.  Well, you can’t say I lack enthusiasm!

While I’m waiting for the class to begin (yep, still with the toe-tapping) I decide now is the time to retire an old friend.  One of the first things I felted for myself about 9 years ago is an iPad cover. I carry my iPad mini with me everywhere and the cover is worn out.  It has done a great job – it even outlasted the first iPad – but the corners have rubbed away and it’s looking very shabby.

I may have mentioned before (more than once) that I’m an avid charity / thrift / op shop enthusiast and have built up an impressive collection of second-hand fabric, mostly scarves and mostly silk. I have a dig around and fish out a very fine small silk chiffon scarf with leaf prints. Left – front, right – back, middle – action shot! I’ve carefully controlled the shrinkage so it fits snugly: it slides out when I want it to and not when I don’t.

I enjoyed working with the silk so decide to make some more samples.  One issue with fabric of unknown origin (and often even with fabric of know origin) is that you can’t be sure how it will felt. Here’s the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of each sample.

Some kind of velvet devore?

A woven cotton or linen?

A silk and cotton mix – I assume the background is silk and the slub lines are cotton

Definitely 100% silk (it still had the label in)

All are interesting. I chose a similar wool colour to the background silk colour as I want to focus on texture and print.  I particularly like the leaf print one and will definitely use that at some point. 

Next, my patience (!) has been rewarded and the bag class is starting.  First is an animal theme phone or glasses case.  I consult the interweb for animals that have big tongues and decide on a gecko.  I’m rather fond of geckos, though I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. 

I’m pleased with the result, although admit it looks rather more like a frog or an alien.  I was going to trim the tongue but decided to leave it as it is. I’ve taken to calling it my alien frog bag.  I made it to fit my phone but it’s actually a bit big so I’ve now added a thin green leather strap with some Chicago screws. Next time I’m invited to a ‘BYO alien frog bag’ event, I will be all prepared. 

On to the next, bigger bag, with integrated straps and internal pockets.  I have a fair quantity of nice natural grey Corriedale top and decide I’ll use that for the outside.  I’m on a roll with recycling the silk scarves so select a few with similar colours.  I’m not sure grey will be the best background so, in an unusual fit of sensibleness, decide to make some samples. 

I prefer the lighter colour behind them. The bag will be fulled very hard and I think I may completely lose the silk.  Little lightbulb moment: why not prefelt the silks with a light colour wool to help preserve some of their colour?

I prefelted some pieces of silk.  I even got a bit jazzy with the one with large spots, with fawn Corriedale and charcoal Merino.

On the left: the bag laid out with (nearly) all the surface decoration ready for wetting down. I did move things around a little afterwards but forgot to take a photo. On the right: the flap detail of the final bag

Finished bag

It’s not perfect (eg I put 2 pockets inside but they are on the front wall of the bag instead of the back and it’s a bit wider than I intended) but I do like it and will enjoy using it.

So, what next? The third bag is a backpack.  I’m wrestling with myself over whether to use wool I already have or wait for some I’ve ordered to arrive.  I have a studio full of wool but want to use a medium or coarse wool for durability and don’t have much of any colour or breed in sufficient quantity.  I made a sample yesterday of potential wool candidates but am a bit underwhelmed. There’s a black dyed Perendale batt, grey/brown Finnish top, light grey Swaledale top and natural white batt (can’t remember the breed) but I’d have to mix them and that’s a lot to have going on.

I decided too to make a paper template of the finished bag to help me work out the resist and stop making bags bigger than I intend. Ha, ha, I do hope I don’t start calling this my toilet seat backpack.  And that brings me right up to date.

All being well, I will have the backpack done to show you in my next blog spot in March, along with some makes from the Ink on Cloth workshop.

I’m enjoying the learning and Teri’s class is excellent.  The instructions are clear and detailed. She has been positive and encouraging and very quick and generous in responding to my extensive questions about clasps, straps, bag design, wool breeds….

Are you struggling to find focus, or maybe finding new ways to learn and different things to try?  I hope you’re able to do a little fibre work and I wish everyone a peaceful, happy and creative 2021.

Fun with Foils

Fun with Foils

Like many of you, I belong to some textile groups that would normally meet in person but this year have needed to find alternative ways to work together. One such group is the Farnborough Embroiderer’s Guild (EG). This EG group is quite unusual in that rather than inviting speakers to talk about their practice, we all take it in turns to teach each other new skills. Three months ago we started meeting via Zoom and I have to confess in some ways I actually prefer it! We aren’t a large group but when we meet in person I often end up only talking to the 2-3 people I am sat nearest to, on Zoom the whole group shares the same conversation which is nice and feels very inclusive. The other advantage is the lack of commute, for me, this means I get to eat before we gather and I can have a glass of wine while we play together 🙂

Last month Sue took us through a technique to create foiled pictures; I don’t know about you but I can’t resist a bit of bling! As we are approaching holiday season it also feels very appropriate to share this with you now, I think it would make some wonderful textile Christmas cards and gifts. I hope you enjoy it and feel inspired to have a go!

Although I have played with foils before it was only as decorative finishing touches never as the basis to create a whole textile picture. Even so, I still managed to make every mistake in the book but was pleased to find foils are remarkably accommodating, if you make a mistake, it can (mostly) be rectified with layering more foil over the top.

Unfortunately it did not occur to me to take photos of the process until I was half way through my picture, I apologise for the lack of photos covering the initial stages of the process. The first few photos are where I went back and reapplied the bondaweb on the beak as my initial application had not transferred completely.

This was the reference photo I used for inspiration:

Some useful tips before you start:

  • set your iron on a low to medium (1 to 2 dots) setting without steam
  • always use a sheet of baking parchment to protect your iron
  • work on an ironing board

1: Cut a piece of medium weight, iron-fusible interfacing / fabric stabiliser slightly smaller than the background fabric and iron it to the back of your fabric. We used black cotton velvet but most non-synthetic fabrics will work (synthetic fabrics are best avoided for this technique as they might melt when heat is applied).

2: Draw out your design with a pencil on the paper side of a sheet of bondaweb. If you aren’t confident drawing freehand, you can trace the design from a printed image. Cut out your design, either as one solid shape or in sections if you plan to create a stained glass effect. For the hummingbird I cut out the whole bird as a single piece.

3: Transfer the bondaweb design onto your backing fabric.

If you are using the stained glass technique you might want to transfer one piece at a time, foil it then apply the next bondaweb shape.

4: Once cooled, carefully peel off the paper backing from the bondaweb.

5: Lay a piece of foil (coloured side facing you) over the exposed bondaweb and cover this with a piece of baking parchment, using the tip or edge of your iron, apply gentle pressure to the areas where you would like that coloured foil to appear.

Allow the piece too cool before peeling back the foil backing.

Tip: you can cut out pieces of baking parchment paper to mask off areas where you do not want that particular colour to appear.

If there are areas where the bondaweb has not transferred so well, or you have already applied several layers foils and want to lay a different colour over the top you can reapply the bondaweb but cutting a shape to match the area, I did this for the edge of breast where I wanted the purple to form a solid line:

If you want a sharp edge in a specific shape, it is also possible to cut the foil to match the shape you desire:

6: Continue adding different coloured foils to your design. If using cotton velvet for the backing it is possible to build up layers of different coloured foils without applying more bondaweb.

Tip: keep the scraps of partially used foils, they can be used to overlay different colours on top of each other very pretty marbled colours.

It is possible to “draw” lines of foil using just the tip or edge of your iron, I used this technique to create the feathers on the wings:

It is not very easy to capture foils in a photo, especially the holographic ones so I shot a short video that I hope shows all the different colours more effectively:

Our group met again last night to add some embroidery to our designs, this is how far I managed to travel in the couple of hours we had together.

…and a little sneak peek of my most recent foiled “painting”.

Have you tried making foiled paintings?

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

I am slowly adding some stitching to the needle books. I did a small sheep book. It is about 2 x 3 3/4inches or 5 x 9.5 cm closed.

And a larger one,4 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches or 11 x 14 cm closed. I am not sure it’s done. I was thinking it needed another sheep down in front. I was thinking it should be a black sheep but I am not sure.

and I started my second quarter challenge.  I am not going to tell you what it is but you can guess if you want.

And here are the cute little chicks from a couple of weeks ago. They have grown a lot and no longer look alike. The chickens hardly even look at me, maybe they are sad they have reached the ugly stage. In another couple of weeks they will be pretty.

 

And here are the turkey babies. They are very interested. It was hard to get a picture I had to spook them so they ran away so I could get a picture as they came running back with curiosity. Turkeys are very funny.

 

And lastly one of my apple trees has started to bloom.

All in all, a good week. I hope yours was too.

 

Some works in progress

Some works in progress

Sorry to say I forgot it was my turn to blog today. It has been a hectic week with our last Farmers’ Market on the 12th. We make twice as much on the last day. However, I did manage to get a little felting in earlier in the week.

I use the dryer to do much of the rolling. It is an old gas dryer that is not hooked up to gas. we can’t get gas where we live.  but it is great for doing the rolling and it just needs a regular plug and not one of the big ones that electric dryers have.

I started a hat. It looks a little odd at the moment. This is its 3rd time through. I cut out the resist and then rearranged the hat and stuck it back in to make sure the 2 sides wouldn’t stick as it’s not felted enough yet.

When I put the hat in the first time I laid out this red nuno ruffle scarf. That takes longer than the 15 min the hat is rolling but I hate doing nothing while it tumbles around so I start something new and when it’s ready to go in I pull the hat out turn and flip it and roll it back up and both go in.

While that was happening I laid out a white one. I added some curls to one end. I fiddled with the picture a little trying to get the white curs against my white table to show better.

When it was ready I took out the other 2, rearranged them and all 3 went back in.

All that was on Tuesday. Having forgotten it was my day to blog I just ran over to my studio and took some pictures for you. The hat is ready to move onto handwork and shaping. The red scarf will get one more go around and the white one will have 2 more turns in the dryer.

And lastly, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian readers. I hope you had a great Turkey Day.

 

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 1

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 1

I was inspired by Antje’s post recently about creating a fabric landscape. I have had this on my list of things I wanted to do for a long time. So thanks Antje, for giving me the push to get it started. I have piles of hand dyed and commercial fabric. Many are just small pieces and scraps and I thought this would be a good way to use some of them up.

First I needed to find some inspiration. I looked through my photos of Glacier National Park and I wanted to create a landscape featuring Hidden Lake where we had hiked several years ago. Sadly, that was one of the years that we had thick smoke in the area from wildfires so my photos were not impressive. So I googled images of Hidden Lake and found one I liked to use as inspiration.

I used heavy interfacing as a backing and then started putting together my sky fabrics. In Antje’s post, she didn’t mention anything about fusing the fabric down as I would normally do so I decided to just wing it. I added threads over the top and then started stitching.

I started with light blue thread and stitching across trying to catch all the various elements down. I switched to a darker blue thread and then to two tones of orange thread. It was a little frustrating as pieces moved as I went but I just kept going.

I had less control over where each piece of fabric was and that made it less “perfect”. But that’s OK because I was trying to see if I could do a piece that was more “abstract”. (Not that I ever get too abstract.)

Then I started finding the mountain fabric colors and giving them a trial against the sky. I did put fusible on the backs of the mountains so I could iron them in place before I added the “texture” on top.

I continued to play around with a variety of fabric pieces to get the mountains the way I wanted.

Then I moved on to the green mid ground. On the left, I am trying the fabric I might use to see if it is the correct value and color. Then I cut out pieces to the correct shape for the mid ground area with trees.

I realized at that point that I would need to place the water before I attached the green as there was water on the left hand side underneath the green “fingers” of land that stretched into the lake. So this is a trial for the water.

Then I needed the reflection of the sunset in the lake. I tried a piece of cheesecloth on the left but it was a bit too pink and also too textural. I wanted the water to feel smooth against the textures of the trees and foliage. So I found a couple of pieces of hand dyed sheer silk organza and gave them a try. It’s looking better but still feels a bit dark in the reflected area. I also tried the green in the foreground. It’s looking more like a landscape but I still have a long way to go. It takes a lot of time for the trial and error of finding the right piece of fabric for each portion of the landscape not to mention the time spent stitching.

I hope you don’t get tired of seeing the process of this fabric collage as it appears there will be several posts to go before it is completed.

Sublimation printing with Dawn Dupree

Sublimation printing with Dawn Dupree

This is a guest post by Kim Winter of Flextiles.

A couple of weeks ago I went on a sublimation printing workshop with Dawn Dupree, a well-established textile printer based in south London near me. She specialises in multilayered collage, often made using sublimation printing techniques,  like those below.

Sublimation printing uses a heat press and solid ink, usually painted on paper, and only works on synthetic fabric. You put the inked paper face down on top of the fabric, sandwich it between newsprint to prevent the ink from getting on the heat press, then press it in a heat press for around 30 seconds.

The heat causes the ink to sublimate to a gas and also opens the “pores” of the fabric, allowing the gas to penetrate. As the fabric cools down, the ink returns to a solid state and becomes part of the fabric. Unlike with heat transfer printing, the colour does not sit on top of the fabric so doesn’t crack or peel off.

You can buy ready made dye papers in different colours, and you can also make your own papers by painting them with dye and leaving them to dry. The colour of the paper is usually very different to the final colour on the fabric – the fabric is much brighter! So it’s better to do some sample testing if you are after a particular colour.

You can create collages in several ways. The simplest way is to cut the dye paper into different shapes, or use stencils to create a negative outline. You can also use transfer the dye to a photocopy in the heatpress and then use the photocopy to create an image on fabric. Carol’s pieces below, based on the beautiful work by her daughter Alex, used these techniques.

You can also transfer the dye to other items, such as lace, doilies, or yarn, like Gabriela and Maritza did below.

With the heat press you can also add foil to highlight various parts. Catherine’s multilayered piece below included foiling.

I wanted to see how shibori techniques worked in the heat press. So I took a piece of Vilene and folded it in a series of knife pleats in one direction and then the other. I printed this folded piece in one colour, and then unfolded it, repleated it along different folds, and printed with another colour.

Below you can see the folded Vilene on the right after printing with two colours. The purple dye paper is on the left.

Below is after printing withe four colours:

And this if the final piece after printing with five colours:

I also tried stitching. I stitched a piece of white polyester with five rows of running stitch, pulled up the stitches into pleats and then printed it with pink dye paper.

This is what it looked like when opened up.

I removed the stitches, pressed it and restitched in different places, and printed with a second colour.

I repeated this twice more. Then I tore the piece in half and foiled one half (the piece at the bottom).

I noticed that the papers I used for printing retained a very clear image of the stitched fabric. So I used them to print on other pieces of fabric, which looked amazingly 3D.

I hope you enjoyed this post, even though it doesn’t include any felt! Please note that the post is being scheduled to publish while I am on holiday, so I may not be able to respond to comments immediately.

 

Deconstructed Screen Printing

Deconstructed Screen Printing

This is a guest post by Deb Stika, thanks Deb!

Hi, my name is Deb Stika and I’m a member of Ruth Lane’s art group. Our group meets monthly and once annually for a 2 day retreat on Bitteroot Lake in Montana. In preparation for doing deconstructed silk screening at the retreat, Ruth asked me to describe the process. We took a few photos to help you visualize what we are doing.

We set our stuff up on Ruth’s back deck so we would have plenty of room to spread out. We mixed the print paste in Ruth’s old blender.

Here’s Ruth mixing dye powder into the print paste, making sure there are no lumps! Since we have a bunch of screens, we mixed a variety of colors.

I’ve decided to use this Styrofoam packing material for my first patterned screen. (Ignore the purple color, that’s leftover paint from Ruth using it for printing on another project.) Our first deconstructed screen is orange. And a second bigger screen is created using the same packing material. We simply used the leftover print paste on the packing material and pressed it against’ the screen.

Here I am contemplating using misc. stencils on this bigger screen.

Other good textures: rubber bands, toothpicks, string, etc.

Drying screens.

Here are some of our dried screens ready for deconstructed silk
screening.

Our first pull using the string screen. And the reveal!

Another pull using the rubber band screen. And the reveal!

More reveals!

Thanks Deb for showing everyone the deconstructed screen printing process. We use these printed fabrics for backgrounds in our various fiber art. Screen printing is a fun process, give it a try. 

And to announce the winner of the drawing for First Time Felting, drum roll please…

The winner is Anna Ashton! Congratulations Anna, I will contact you to get your address so the publisher can send you your free copy of the book.

 

 

Felted Scissor Cases Continued.

Felted Scissor Cases Continued.

A while back I did a post about making scissor cases. scissor case post  I made a prototype and everyone liked them when I showed them around. I ordered more scissors and last week I made some more.

The scissors I ordered were slightly bigger so I had to redo a prototype to get the sizing right.

This worked so I made several resists and got to work. These are wet. Most of the time I find it easier to add the decorations when they are wet. The fibres stay where you put them.

scull with teeth

paisley

silk flower and prefelt leaves

locks

I took more pictures. individual and group.  I remember deliberately doing it but they are not on the camera. I did take pictures of them finished.

And here they are all felted and dry.

Both the lap and the scull need shaving. The silk will show more after shaving and the scull is a bit fuzzy and sadly I lost his funky teeth.

I like the way the nuno flower one turned out. The shorter locks on this Teeswater locks one went all fuzzy and they may get pulled or trimmed off. I don’t like them.

  

This lock one is Blue Faced Lester I think. it lost its 2 dark purple locks. I will needle felt them back on. the paisley got distorted because I used yarn and not roving. Despite that, it looks much nicer in person. the last one is a lock flower. It has more dimension in person and it like it. It’s a bit quirky. I will make some more and hopefully, they will sell at the fall shows.

 

 

 

Learning curves – Part 1

Learning curves – Part 1

In the last few months I’ve attended two felting workshops tutored by happy feltmakers who have been very generous with sharing their experiences and knowledge. The first by Jenny Pepper was titled Decorative felt Surfaces (I had no idea what this was to be), whilst the second by Clare Bullock was making nuno Travel Cloth at a workshop for our local textile group.

I have certainly experimented, I’ve gone out of my comfort zone totally but learnt a lot (and as you will read – continue to learn!).

Jenny demonstrated the laying of the felt to all giving the instruction to ‘lay the shingles thinly’ (important note to self), before she then added her decorations choosing from her vast collection of silk waste, silk fibres, silk gauze, silk carrier rods, wool locks, pieces of cut-off felt etc to name but a few.

I commenced my piece working to the maximum size possible on our tables by laying out my 3 layers. Ha…thinly has different thicknesses (note – next time I must check)! I draft very thinly compared with others, so on inspection Jenny suggested I add another two layers. Fine – five layers total not a problem….but I had forgotten the colour placing by this time!

Encouraged to try as many different decorative elements as possible – I went for it….although totally out of my comfort zone!

I came home and showed my endeavours to EPH (ever patient husband) who was quite silent. When I said I thought it was too busy (my five layers of colours didn’t help) his comment was ‘Mmmm it’s certainly not your usual style!’ Following several days of pondering I decided to mute the cracked area by picking up the colour of the silk carrier rods. To do this I blended suitable colours from my wool collection (BFL, merino & Nepalese). Using this I then needle felted it in.

 

Trying to make it secure I decided to brush the reverse side, raising the fibres, then further wet felt that area. Definitely a learning experience!

The surface pilled very badly so once dry I attacked it with a rasor and de-bobbler!

Three months later, the work measuring 380 x 420cm (15 x 16.5 ins), remains a PINOS (project in need of something), and currently hangs where I can see it every evening to ponder what I can add/do to make it acceptable in my eyes and to decide on its direction – I definitely know which two it is not! Although?

The two to the left I feel are a ‘No’. What do you think? Then come further questions – should I cut it square, or into strips? What can I do to it – apart from a very obvious one of ‘bin filing’?

My next post will be about the second class that I took, Clare Bullock was making nuno Travel Cloth at a workshop for our local textile group. Stay tuned!

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