Continuing Slow Stitching

I am still stitching away on my landscape piece. I had the background mountains stitched down the last time I showed it to you.

I then got the middle distance hills stitched down. This fabric was a bit harder to stitch as it wasn’t as felted and tended to fray. But I persevered.

Then I got the two pieces in the foreground stitched down so all of the landscape is now in place. Now to decide what to add.

First I tested the moon. I didn’t want to cut the fabric if I wasn’t going to use it so I pinned it into a sort of circle. You’ll just have to imagine it being really round. Then I tried some wispy clouds. Then since our challenge this quarter is to add twists and yarn, I decided to try out a tree using up some recycled yarn. I have a whole bunch of yarn that was from old knitted things that people didn’t want anymore. It is very kinky from being knitted but I like the look for representing an old, gnarly tree. Guess which one I chose?

If you have been following this blog for long, your probably guessed tree. And yes, I decided on adding a tree to the foreground. The left is the start of the tree and the right is where I am now. The curled up thread  in the middle is only partially stitched down and will follow up into the branches once stitched. I have a bunch more to go on this tree and need to add in some darker values I think after looking at these photos. I will keep you up to date on how the stitching is going.

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I’ve got rainbows on my mind

First of all, happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this in the US! I hope you had a nice celebration.

Today I’m sharing some rainbow-y fibre I created, plus a “throwback” item that I hope you’ll like.

Being an indie dyer means I get to play with dyes fairly regularly, but it had been some time since I adventured into the world of saturated rainbows. I think it was the grey London Autumn that got me inspired, I just needed to get a colour fix. Off to the dye pot I went.

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One of the things I’ve been a little obsessed with lately is how yarns look when they’re in skein format – I love it when colours look cohesive and have a certain progression to them when displayed, so I went for a red “bottom” that would change as the eyes look up. Hopefully you’ll see that this was done consciously.

I knit this into a hat (complete with a pompom) that I think looks very cheery. It’s going to be a Christmas present so I hope the recipient likes it.

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I hope you’re not fed up with bright colours yet…

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Although not technically a rainbow, this wool top came out super bright and happy (to my eyes at least). If you’ve ever dyed wool top or roving you’ll know it can be an adventure to control where the colours go. This is superwash wool (it doesn’t felt) so it wasn’t as difficult to get “right” as non-superwash fibres, but I’m still perfecting my methods. Suggestions are welcome!

This being the Felting and Fiber Studio, there should be some felting, so here is a little Piglet I made a couple of years ago and gifted to a friend. I really loved creating this little guy and think he came out really well. I got to see the sculpture again a few days ago at a friend’s house.

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Have you done any hand dyeing or needle felting lately? Share your experiences with me in the comment sections.

Posted in Dyeing, felt art, Guest Writer, Knitting, Made From Felt, Needle Felting, sculptural felt, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

More Well Being Pieces

We got the boxes of embellishments and fabric strips out at the Well Being centre yesterday:

Cath started with some handspun yarn, dyed BFL and undyed wool locks (it’s upside down because I took it from my side of the table!):

Then she added some fabric strips, I think they were all silk:

Action shot:

This is it finished, but still wet:

I made some new wool tubes on the kebab sticks for my piece. The photos didn’t turn out as good this week, and I was a bit distracted as we had a couple of people in to learn about the group. I wrapped the wool around first then wrapped different fibres around:

It was felted at this stage:

I don’t know if you can actually tell from this photo, but I fulled it a bit more to shrink/thicken it:

This is the piece dried. It was getting late when I took the photos, so unfortunately not many came out. I used ‘budget filling’ on the 4th tube along on the bottom, I liked how different that one looked to the others:

This is the only close up which wasn’t blurred:

I also didn’t get photos of my piece from last week, sorry. Cath did, but my phone wouldn’t download the pics! Hopefully I’ll have them next week 🙂

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More Bits

This week I did a few things. I put hang tags and price stickers on all the dryer balls, bags, soap and ruffle neck scarves that go to the Log Farm for sale. At shows I usually just use signs when I have groups of things that are all the same price. I delivered those and almost immediately got a call from the Museum store saying they needed more soap and dryer balls.  Yesterday I made up the dryer balls and popped them into the washer today.

I would show you what they look like done but my dryer died. Thats a job for tomorrow now.

I did however get some soap felted.

The other thing I got started on Friday(I think) was some slippers for samples for a class I have on Dec 1. I didn’t have a sample of the ear template style.

I only got as far as laying out.

They will also be a sample of Finnish wool. We use Corriedale for the class. Its a good felter without being to fine like merino and it comes in lots of colours. People seem to want colour. This will show them what another kind of wool felts up like.

That was my week. I hope you managed some felting done too.

 

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Three Dimensional Encaustic

At our November art group meeting, Paula kindly showed us how to make three-dimensional encaustic bowls. Although this isn’t technically fiber, these are made with paper pulp to make a paper clay and I thought you all might like to see the process.

This bird is one of Paula’s creations that was in our recent show in September. The bird is made the same way that we made our bowls.

Paula already had our bowls made and ready out of paper clay so that we could do the “fun part”, adding encaustic wax.

Here’s Sally making another set of paper clay with a mixture of plaster and the paper pulp stuff that forms the base of the clay. The clay is worked into a ball and then flattened with a rolling pin to the desired thickness. Then you need something to mold it over to make a bowl shape. Sally and I created a 3D creature to try later. I made the fish and Sally shaped a bird.

Here’s Paula covering a dish with aluminum foil so that a paper clay bowl can be shaped over this surface and left to dry.

But we already had our bowls ready to go thanks to Paula so the next step is to add layers of encaustic wax with a brush. In between layers of wax, a heat gun is used to fuse the wax to the paper clay surface.

 

Once there are at least two layers of wax, you can start adding texture. This was really amazing to me how this worked. A sharp tool was used to scratch a pattern into the surface of the wax and then using a slightly cooled brush with wax,  the cooler wax was brushed over the surface and it built up over the incised line. Drips from the edges can also be added by allowing hotter wax to run down the inside or outside of the bowl’s surface. Look at those textures, now I know you all love texture. 🙂

Of course, you don’t have to add texture if you want a smoother surface. The next step was to add color with pan pastels and powdered pigments. In between layers of color, the wax needs to be fused again with the heat gun so that it will adhere to the wax. I found this to be the most difficult part as there is a fine line between fusing and melting the wax completely.

These two are Paula’s bowls. I love the depth that she achieves with different layers of color.

This is Sally’s bowl. Aren’t the leaves in the center an interesting accent?

This is Deb’s finished bowl. You really can’t see the depth of color in this photo but it looks like an ancient artifact.

Here’s my finished bowl. Can you guess the inspiration? I don’t have a photo of Louise’s finished bowl because she didn’t finish hers. She wasn’t really happy with the colors but I know that she will end up creating a wonderful bowl. Hopefully, I will get a photo of it later.

Have you tried a different media or craft lately? Do you think it gives you more creative ideas when you try something new? We had great fun learning about 3D encaustic and thank you Paula for all your help!

 

Posted in 3D, Mixed Media | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Noody-what?

I am often asked what inspires the pieces I make, the truth is inspiration can strike anywhere, sometimes it is the materials themselves, the pattern on a piece of sari silk or the tassels on a charity-shop scarf for example. Nature is another great source, the textures of a patch of lichen or orange-crimson autumnal leaves against a bright blue sky. Memories from holidays or previous careers such as watching cells growing in a petri dish from my days as a “lab rat”.

As some of you may know, I used to SCUBA dive a lot and frequently draw inspiration for my felting from the underwater world, for my new collection I couldn’t resist the gloriously colourful world of nudiranchs (pronounced noo-dee-branks). I confess I have been slightly obsessed with these little sea slugs for more than 20 years but the usual response when I try to describe them to non-divers is, “noody-what?” Their name means naked gills in latin and refers to the fern-like gill structures you can often see sprouting from their backs.

I love them because they are so outrageously colourful  and don’t seem to care who sees them strutting their stuff in the magical aquatic world. I can’t think of a better muse to create a fabulously colourful set of wearable art, deep down, who wouldn’t want to be a nudibranch? 🙂 If you google “nudibranch photos” you will get a taste of their fantastically beautiful world and the colours will be much less washed out than those in my photos.

 

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The Pink Dorid nudibranch was my muse for this hat and gloves set.

Now I just need to find a human who is as exuberant and fun-loving as a nudibranch to wear them…. 😉

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Well Being Centre

I think I’ve posted a couple of photos from the Well-Being centre once or twice before, but definitely not for a while, so I thought I’d take some to share today. There were only two of us in the class, so it’s easy to see the room better. This is from the window end looking towards the door, a massive sink is on the right:

I took these photos on my phone so they’re not the best quality, but the colours are a lot better. This is from the window end again, we usually have the equipment on the side table and if we get a lot of supplies out, we put them on the grey benches under the window.

Since there was just the two of us, we put it all on the side table:

The room is used by lots of different craft groups, there are supplies and examples of work all around:

Cath was making a coaster with lots of natural wools:

She’s trying to sneak some Gotland locks while I’m taking the photo!

Action shot:

I was working on a black and purple piece with lots of undyed fibres:

As usual we ended up chatting loads and I didn’t get any more photos, but I’ll try to remember to show the finished pieces next time 🙂

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments