2nd quarter challenge started

I finally pieced a picture for my second quarter challenge piece. If you remember is it seascape this quarter. this is the picture I chose.

I found it on the internet, where you find everything. It should be ok as I aske for free to use pictures.

I started with a piece of prefelt a little bigger than a piece of paper, with the idea it would shrink to an to be the size of a piece of paper. And for a change I have a piece the right size.  It is a mazing what some planning can do for you. You would think I would learn.

Next I layered some more prefelt to make the basic shapes  in the picture. the mottled piece at the front was dyed by a friend.

That is v

That looks very boring and flat so now it has to be brought to life. I added some silk hanky scraps to the water to give it some depth and movement.

Then I added the surf using throwsters waste.

And lastly I added some foliage and flowers

Now it is all ready for wetting down, I plan to add the wooden path to the beach later. I am not sure I have the right colour for the wool. what colour is that anyway?

That is as far I am now. more next time.

Posted in Challenges, Design, felt art, Prefelt, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 3

I have already shown two felt shapes I created with fiber layout and differential shrinkage. The last one is what I’m calling a “bonnet” shape.

I started again with the same circle template and Blue Face Leicester wool. The center is laid out radially but a smaller circumference was used. Then a circle of wool was added at the ends of the radial wool. Then another layer of radial wool was laid out. I used two layers of wool laid out in this manner. This one reminds me of making a ruffled scarf except it’s a circle.

Here is the wool after it is wet down. This one was felted in the same manner as the “bowl” that I showed you last week. I forgot to take the photos of the felting and fulling process. But I always worked along the length of the fibers to shrink the felt in the direction that the fiber was laid out.

Here is the “bonnet” after it’s finished. The photo on the right shows how I used a rubber band to hold the edge in place while it was drying.

And here are all three pieces. These are made with the same type and amount of wool, felted and fulled in the same way but because of the directional fiber layout and differential shrinkage, different shapes were achieved. I can see how these techniques would be very effective when you are creating felt where you want shrinkage to occur differently and you don’t want even shrinkage.

I’m not sure why I never really thought about this before but it makes perfect sense. I hope it helps some of you when you are trying to create a specific shape with felt.

Posted in 3D, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

‘Waiting for the Surf’ – a seascape from inspiration to completion

Waiting for the Surf - small image

Last year we visited St Agnes, in Cornwall, on a day when there was a cloudless blue sky and a sea breeze.  So for my seascape inspiration I chose two photos of St Agnes beach and a photo of Annie’s ‘Flowers on Coverack Beach’.

inspiration photos - small image

I planned to make the sea the main focus with some pink flowers in the foreground.

I have a square white frame, 50x50cm (approx 20″sq) that I wanted to use, so to ensure that my seascape would fit well, I made a paper template to put under the bubble-wrap as a guide for the layout of wool fibres (photo below left).

I made two fine layers of white merino wool fibres then topped them with a third fine layer of pale blue wool fibres to make a base (photo below right).

template and first 3 layers - smalll image

The fourth layer (photo below left) was just bands of solid colour then I added a fifth (partial) layer of wisps of wool fibres (photo below right) to give the impression of waves and some thinly spread yellow wool blend to look like sand with a length of fancy yarn for the water’s edge…

fourth and fifth partial layer - small image

… and the frilly edges of scrap white felt made the surf (the photo below is after felting).

close up sea - small image

I was just getting out some pink fibres to make the flowers when my son saw the work-in-progress.  I told him it wasn’t finished yet and that I was about to add flowers.  He went a bit quiet – he’s not a flower person – then he suggested that I should just stick a surfboard, upright, in the sand.  Why didn’t I think of that?

I made some yellow pre-felt then cut a surfboard shape from it.  I wetted down the sea and sand before placing the pre-felt on it.

the surfboard pre-felt - small image

After felting, when the seascape was dry, I added the stripes to the surfboard. Each stripe is just a large stitch of single ply cotton knitting yarn.

The felt that shows behind the white mount measures 38x38cm (approx 15″sq).

I’m glad that the days are long now because it makes photography easier. The seascape frame is deep so it stood, unaided, on my garden table … and the light was perfect!

seascape in frame - small image

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Iridescent Butterfly

I was hunting around in my craft drawers a few weeks ago, and came across a stack of butterflies I’d made years ago from fusible film – it’s the sheet version of ‘Angelina’ fibre. I’d inked up a butterfly rubber stamp, laid the sheet over the top, covered with baking paper and ironed it. The sheets are iridescent and change colour where heat is applied, and also become ‘3D’ and mould to the shape/texture they are on when the heat is applied. This is one of the other butterflies I found:

It’s hard to capture all the different colours as they are really shiny, but you can see the texture clearer in this close up:

Most people have probably heard of the ‘butterfly bush’, Buddleja, and how invasive it is. I don’t know if it has the same association with railway lines in other parts of the world as it does here, but it always reminds me of days out to the Sefton Coast, seeing miles of Buddleja alongside the tracks. I had an (odd) idea about recreating the view from the dusty train window of a bright coloured butterfly fluttering around the Buddleja flowers. I wanted to use a piece of synthetic chiffon fabric over the top, which would ‘recreate’ the obscured view I’d get because of the combination of bright sun and dirty windows, and also it’d secure the butterfly. There wasn’t a piece big enough at the well being centre, so I made do with a piece of cotton gauze. It didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped, but it wasn’t a disaster either!:

I even joked with one of the class members that I could pretend I’d meant the gauze to represent a butterfly net! The butterfly kept its shape right until the final rinse, I must have been a bit heavy handed and the slight extra shrinkage crumpled it 😦

Here’s a close up of the irridescence:

I still have quite a few butterflies, so I’ll hopefully think of another way of incorporating them into felt. Have you used Angelina fibres or fusible film in felting?

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Another Great Nuno felt Class

I had another wonderful group of ladies learning to make Nuno felt. I had 5 in the class.

Here everyone is laying out their base wool on the silk blanks I had dyed for the class

Ruth has been talking about layout effecting shrinkage. Some of these ladies are laying their wool along the scarf to get a shorter but wider scarf and the others are laying the wool across the scarf to get a longer but narrower scarf.

After the base is laid down they get to add the embellishments, more wool, curls or silk fibres, hankies or throwsters waste.

Then after much rubbing and rolling and some scrunching and throwing everyone had a lovely finished scarf. the first 2 below put very thin layers so the silk would show through to the wool side.

Everyone seemed really pleased with what they had done and the magic of making nuno felt. I am always amazed at how different everyone pieces are and the surprise when it really works.

Posted in Classes, Nuno Felting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 2

Last week I showed you how I made  a cone shape from a flat circle of felt. I also made a shape that is similar to a bowl without using a resist. The shape is created from the fiber layout and directional shrinkage.

I started with a circle template so that my layout would be the same size as the cone shape I made last week. The center of the fiber layout was done radially. So the fiber was pointing from the center outward. Then on the outside of the radially laid fiber, I laid a ring of fiber. I again did two layers of fiber both done in the same way. The fiber is Blue Face Leicester.

I wet down the wool with cold, soapy water and then began rubbing. I rubbed in the direction of the wool fiber. So the center was like rubbing along the hours of the clock. The photo in the middle shows rubbing at one o’clock. I worked my way around the circle rubbing in this manner. Then I rubbed around the outside edge rubbing along the circumference of the circle. This one did not form the shape as easily as the cone did.

I found a glass vase that was the right size sphere to work on. I was careful with my rubbing since the vase was glass. You can see in the photo on the left that the edges are pleated to conform around the vase. I had to rub and rub and rub to get those pleats to flatten out and to shrink the outside edge. In the right photo, the direction of my left hand is the direction in which I rubbed.  I also put the felt wrapped vase on the side and rubbed against the ridged rubber mat. Once the felt was shrinking, I added hot water and continued in the same manner. Next time, I would make the outside ring of fiber a bit wider. I think that would have helped in getting the correct shape.

And here’s the finished bowl. I dried it on the glass vase to keep the shape. It is fulled very hard and holds its shape easily.

Next week I will show you the “bonnet” shape I created. Do you use fiber layout to create a specific shrinkage/shape? I would love to hear what you have done. Join us on our free forum and post about it.

 

 

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Making a raven (and the mistakes in the process)

Around December of last year, I was asked by a friend and customer to make a life size sculpture of a raven. I’d never done one before, so it was an exciting challenge to accept.

My husband, a professional painter and sculptor, helped me create a template. I then created the core with needle felting foam rectangles, which I cut and glued to size. I then covered the foam with wool.

Feathers were another challenge for me, I researched quite a bit online to see how other people were making them and tried a technique whereby you add wool top to fusible interfacing, add a wire in the middle and steam iron everything together, but the interfacing was just too white and showed through. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of these, they would have looked very nice in a differently coloured bird. This part stumped me and took ages to resolve.

I left the feathers conundrum to simmer in the back of my head and moved to raven feet. I made mine out of wire that I covered with pipe cleaners and then wool.

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Although the feet looked nice enough, they were not too lifelike. As it turns out, the wire was also not too sturdy for something this big, since it became clear it was too soft to hold the raven’s body at the angle I wanted. The poor thing stood too much like a duck!

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It became clear I needed to replace the feet, so I did some surgery: I cut the original wire out, then added a sturdier one and repaired the cut site with more wool and felting. I had an idea to use polymer clay on the feet at first because I thought it would look more lifelike but it was an absolute fail: clay, once hardened, has obviously no yield and therefore can’t be posed, which can be a problem depending on the surface you’re placing your sculpted animal on. Back to wool it was.

Enter a magic technique I had never tried before: wax.
Adding wax to wool makes it look less like fibre and more like a proper part of animal anatomy. See below:

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You can see by one of the pictures above that I got the feathers to work eventually. After much musing I cut felt sheets to size and put the sewing machine to work to add the central stem you normally see in real feathers. Some of them still had wire in them for structure.

Because I really love how the feet looked after adding the wax, I couldn’t wait to play with this new-to-me material on another part of the corvid: the eyelids.

Here’s an image of my raven without eyelids. The poor thing looks too startled and weird to be real.

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Now behold, with eyelids!

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What a difference. I wonder how I made it without using wax on sculptures this long.

After making more longer feathers for the tail, my corvid was ready to be unveiled. Photographing black wool is notoriously difficult so I apologise for not having more professional-looking pictures to show, but I believe these show you the end result well enough.

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This chap has been named Huginn (old Norwegian for “thought”) after one of Odin’s ravens. I think it suits him.

I felt sorry to send Huginn to his forever home. After spending so much time (5 months!) working on him on and off, I really built a connection with this character. I’m glad he’s receiving much love and will even have a custom-built dome to keep him protected against the elements…

Let me know what you think of him in the comments, and if you’ve any questions about the making process I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading.

Posted in felt art, Guest Writer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments