I tried another experiment with dimensional felting with prefelt. You can see my other experiments here and here. This one I decided to use an already made prefelt and then just cut it to fit the shape.
I started with the resist shape shown above. I covered the resist with a thin layer of red wool. I laid the wool so that it wrapped around the long edge of the resist.
I then cut out the prefelt to fit the resist shape. I think I would have preferred making the prefelt over the same shaped resist as the edges and curves had to be cut more than I wanted and there were more edges to deal with when felting. Next time, I also would make the center prefelt shape a bit shorter and the end pieces longer.
I then rubbed and rubbed to get the red and the brown wool to felt together and to felt the edges down carefully. I then cut out the resist along the red edge and finished felting and fulling.
And here’s he final shape that I ended up with. The colors in the above photos are more true than the in process photos. It is definitely red as opposed to orange. These experiments have been a fun learning process. I have found the most important thing to remember is to make the prefelt thick, perhaps 3-4 times thicker than the underlying support wool layer. Now to figure out some more shapes that will be interesting to try.
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.
This is a busy season for me, made more so by adding a few surprise fleeces found while making the emergency anti-raccoon-garage-repair. OK add two storage bins of large, vary fine, crimpy fleeces and another bin of smaller bags of assorted fleeces. Since you endured all the skirting, washing, spin-drying of the fleeces leading up to the surprise it’s a Shetland, let us not chat about that. Instead let us instead enjoy a momentary paws, take a breath and look back on the opportunities of acquisition so far this year.
Although we have a couple of yarn stores with some felting supplies in Ottawa such Wabi Sabi on wellington, they don’t carry everything I’m looking for. We are very fortunate in Eastern Ontario and western Quebec there have been a number of shopping-worthy festivals of fiber within a drive able distances of Ottawa. It’s convenient to shop on line but it’s not the same as seeing something rite in front of you, being able to touch it and ask questions of the vendor about what you are looking for.
February brings the Chesterville Spin In, in chesterville, south of Ottawa by 82km and about 53 minutes away. There were vendors with fiber and felting needles. I was not the only one felting at a spin in!
2 Chesterville Spin In
March saw us in Peterborough, for the the Fibre Arts Festival & Sale organized by the Peterborough weavers guild, which is 267km or 3h 11m to get there. http://www.ptbo-hwsg.com/events/fibrefest-2016/ . There were 4 vendors selling felting supplies.
3 Peterborough, Fibre Arts Festival & Sale
March is also the start of demo season (3 days Deming at the Farm show).
4 Ottawa Valley Farm show
May sent us off to Picton for the Prince Edward County FibreFest, that’s 261km and 2h 33m away. I picked up more base felt for pictures and of course more needles and fiber. We drove back along old highway 2 which was longer but much more scenic. We even stopped at a Blacksmith forge for Glenn.
5-6 Picton, Prince Edward County FibreFest
June had a few more demos which had a lot people stopping to talk to me who were interested in Felting.
7-9 Felt at Demos
August was Twist festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec it’s 91.9km and takes 1h 9m to drive there. There were the two main Supply vendors I see regularly at fiberfestivals; Olive Sparrow and FiberCraft. There were lots of booths witch had a bit of felting supplies, or were selling felted items. There was a sculptural Artist working in felt who was very impressive. She also treated wool like a Watercolour! I had a most enjoyable chat with her and got a few more ideas to work with. https://festivaltwist.org/en/textile-market/tinnalaine/
10-14 Twist festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec
If you make it to Twist don’t forget to look for the restaurant “La Toquade”. (http://toquade.ca/coordonnes/ ) We always stop for the “Club Sandwich au Confit der Canard” (the comfy duck sandwich….yummmm.) If you have room the “Crème Brulee a la vanille” is also exquisite!
15 Club Sandwich au Confit der Canard – apricot raisin bread, apple, celery, onion, duck , bacon and herb mayonnaise
In September there is Fiberfest in Almont, sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. This is the one I wanted to tell you about. You may have notice I enjoy taking pictures. A number of years ago I shared the ones I took at Fiberfest with the Museum, which has led to a request for me to take more pictures for them! The photos are used on their web site, in publicity and to document what booth displays looked like. In 2018 I took about 600 shots. In 2019 there were 1,051 photos. Don’t Panic!! I will not show you all of them!! But keep an eye out for Ann McElroy she was one of the venders there!
16-22 Fiberfest in Almont
Each year there are the same numbers of vender spots. This year they added more outside venders and kept the very popular alpacas. The guild displays were in the area before you enter the arena. Participants included; Out of the box (a Fine arts Group), Knitters, smawlkers and embroidery guilds were there as well as West Carlton fiber guild and the OVWSG. When you entered the arena you found the 101 venders booths. There were a few double booths but that still is a lot of venders!
23-27 Outside Fiberfest
Upstairs (there was an elevator) were workshops starting on Thursday and running through to Sunday. This is becoming a trend with quite a few of the fiberfestivals. Check the websites well in advance and see if they have something interesting offered. Workshops can cut down on the time for shopping but time for learning may be even more important!
When I snuck upstairs to take a few shots I found there were 2 Felting workshops under way as well as a rug hooking workshop just finished up. Wendo was teaching her 3-D needle felted tulips. There was also a wet felted bowl workshop using a resist nearby. I didn’t catch the name of the teacher sorry!
28-31 Two of the workshops upstairs at Fiberfest
This year I had a notebook in which I had written each booth number, the company and contact name. I photographed my reference page info then continued photographing the booth so I would be able to sort them more quickly and make it easier for Michael, the Museum Curator and his hard working crew to find shots they wanted. This worked very well except there were a few booths that had not set up on Friday night when I started taking shots or had draped there booth with covers before I could get a shot. So returning early Saturday morning I started to photograph as many booths as I could see without peeking under sheets or intruding into their space. I brought the monopod (it’s an extending tripod but with only one leg) so I could zoom in close and not worry as much about my hands shaking. I diched the monopod as soon as the customers started to come in and shop.
32-36 Ann’s page and a few of her shots
I took Saturday night going through and renaming shots so I could tell which booths had been missed or booths I only had a couple shots of. I drew a quick map of the venders in my note book circling each booth I had to go back to. I also noted how many shots I had at each booth so far. So back for more photos including the cute alpacas in front of the arena.
The Museum had requested time laps shots, which I had taken last year but were not the best since I have to take shots through the safety net or the hockey glass. They were hoping for hourly shots but nether my camera or my phone is connected to the internet so I couldn’t help with that. I did focus on booth documentation, vinyets trying for at least one from each booth (usually more) and some Happy shopping shots. I even documented the food vendor! They had some very interesting sandwiches and veggie arrangements, highly photogenic and the ones we tried were very tasty.
37-40 Food at Fiberfest
My husband /trusty porter of stuff, Glenn joined me. There was a handy bench and a few chairs beside the museum table. This seemed to be the husbands/spouse drop off location, which occasionally had a resting-from-shopping wife/spouse. Glenn accompanies me to most fiber activates to make sure I don’t lift anything that winds me up in bed for a day or two. He usually brings a book and takes care of my acquisitions while I keep looking, photographing and shopping. He has also been spotted sound asleep at all the fiber festivals we attend. Oh well, I didn’t catch him snoring and he did carry my shopping to the car.
41-42 Spousal snoozing area and my shopping acquisitions
We stopped for British fish and chips in Stitsville and saw an awesome sunset. It may inspire some abstract felting picture in the future.
43-47 Sunset in Stitsville
The Monday after Almonte was the first OVWSG meeting since the summer (so lots of library work). Tuesday was the West Carlton Guild meeting and I was able to burn off 2 DVD’s of Photos to be passed on to the museum. Then back to fleece washing and this week it’s been more fleece and car doctor appointments and a car spa day (she got her undercoat spray done). While my kea Sole was getting her various treatments I took the Lendrum Rook spinning wheel and spun in both waiting rooms. I was working at the giant Shetland fleece I just washed. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture of me)
Next is a fiber festival is in Kempville this coming weekend I have not attended before. The following weekend is the big demo for the Carp fair. Then I suspect the workshop schedule for the guild will be ready for me to turn it into a catalogue! Which means the Guild Show is almost here!!! And somewhere in there I want to get to doing a bit more felting!! I saw another sheep face I would like to try!!
I hope you are as fortunate as we are lately in Ottawa to have so many opportunities not too far away to buy supplies and like Ann sell you creations at all these fiber related festivals.
I was very tempted by some green/blue locks but it wasn’t in the budget.
Here is about half of it covering my large laptop.
I started pulling the locks on Monday at the guild social. It fun to do. so satisfying to see the piles grow.
I will use these ones to make some curly lock pins like these. The 2 greens need more locks yet.
Lastly my 3rd quarter challenge……..I changed my mind from what I showed you before, the futuristic domes on a faraway planet. It just wasn’t working for me. So, I am starting again with a new idea. Here’s the start.
Exiting isn’t it…..LOL. I hope I can show you some progress next time. Have you thought of something t make for this Challenge? I found it harder than I thought it would be.
I originally created this still life of a vase of flowers in 2016 for a quarterly challenge. The plan was to create dimensional flowers in a still life but I didn’t pay enough attention to the overall design/composition and the vase didn’t turn out very well.
Here’s the original. The vase was dead center and the surrounding negative space feels the same and uninteresting. The black vase is too stark. I did go ahead and frame the piece and try to sell it but no luck. The piece was really big at 24″ x 30″ so I had plenty of room to cut it down and recreate the piece.
What I did first was to create a different vase. I used some upholstery fabric that I had on hand and cut out a new shape that filled more of the space on the bottom. I then cropped it down with some paper croppers so that I could find the best composition. I had a canvas that I could use so I knew the size that I needed. The new canvas is 16″ x 20″.
I then decided that the vase would look better with some dimension added. So I stuffed it and hand stitched it to the surface. I had to be careful not too over stuff the bottom or left side since they would be stretched around the canvas.
I needed some shadowing on the bottom and left side of the vase. I originally thought I would use black tulle to create the shadows but it was way too dark and had too much contrast. I didn’t have any gray tulle so I decided to use a combination of purple and yellow tulle to give a lighter shadow which tended toward purple. I used matte medium to glue down the tulle to the vase. My original plan was to fuse it down to the vase but when I attempted to iron the upholstery fabric I found that it was some type of polyester and it melted. Oops. I cut out a second vase and used matte medium.
After I stretched the piece around the canvas and stapled it in place. I trimmed off the excess felt. I then decided the piece had “holes” that needed filling. I forgot to take a photo before I started adding other elements. I needed some darker values and luckily had some really dark maroon/purple felt that I was able to fashion into flowers. I hand stitched the flowers together and ended up adding a few more flower buds as well that aren’t shown in these photos. Then I wanted to add some more leaves. I tried some yellow green felt leaves (left photo) but I thought that it needed something darker. I didn’t have any darker green felt so I decided to use some green tulle. The torn tulle gave a different texture too. In the right photo, I was trying the tulle out and just pinned it in place in bunches. I felt the bunches were too over the top so I ended up tearing the tulle into “leaves” and then stitching them down in layers. I also added a few lighter green pieces of tulle under the dark tulle to give a bit more contrast.
I am much happier with the final result compared to the original. The negative spaces (background) are different sizes and give more interest. The center of interest is not right in the dead center of the piece. So the overall composition has definitely been improved.
And the piece has lots of fun texture and dimension. I plan on putting this piece into an exhibition in October. Hopefully, with these changes, it will find a new home. I think that I will just add a backing but not frame it. I like being able to see the colors go around the canvas and the flowers/greenery that reaches off the edge of the piece.
Have you recreated a piece that you weren’t happy with? We would love to hear your story about it over on the forum.
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.
Here are some of our dried screens ready for deconstructed silk
Our first pull using the string screen. And the reveal!
Another pull using the rubber band screen. And the reveal!
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.
Life is still trying to keep me from accomplishing my goals by offering other options to the one I thought I was going to be doing.
Earlier this summer I was gifted with a fleece at the Guild demo at the wool growers Co-Op in Carlton place Ontario. It was a horrible day for weather and we retreated to the storage part of the sorting building. Just down the hallway from us was where the volunteer sheep were waiting to participate in sheering demonstrations throughout the day.
Shearing Volunteers 1
Icelandic looking sheep “CCWG Mascot” from the Wool Growers Co-0p Demo. 2
This is the producer of the fleece after shot. 3-4
They said the amount of fleece they have in stock at this point in the year was down from other years. 5
The demo team is across from all this wool! It had been raining very heavily with strong wind gusts so we moved inside the sorting building. 6
The demo team 7-10
The co-op sorts all the eastern wool from Canada and sells it all over the world. A lot goes to china. But some gets set aside for hand spinners. Most of it is soft and crimpy but sometimes it’s lustrous and not quite as soft. The Icelandic-like one I want to work on is soft but the half fleece I got was one of the latter ones.
I wanted to work on the big Icelandic-like fleece next but it’s too big to skirt at home (I no longer skirt on the grass it’s too hard to get up from and it would be embarrassing to have to ask passing strangers to extract me from the little bit of front lawn I still have). So I went to the guild and put a sheet over 2 of their folding tables. They are 5’ long table and once I had the fleece spread out it took most of the table space. Here are views first from the sheep side (inside) of the fleece. You can see a few second cuts on the whiter part. Then the view from the outside of the fleece.
Inside side of the fleece (guild library in the background) 11-12
Outside of the fleece 13
Close up of the tog 14
Colour variations within the fleece, outside of the fleece 15
The very large fleece skirted and wrapped in a sheet waiting for washing. 17
So one more practice washing fleece before the main event! So let’s do the little half fleece I bought from the wool growers co-op at Twist fibre festival.
The half fleece is not what you would call small so off to the dollar store to get more of those handy bucket and then on to Walmart to see if they had any of the really big buckets I saw last summer. Walmart has kept the price the same but made the bucket smaller… Drat. After 3 Dollaramas I found 5 more white or light beige strainer buckets. Back home to start the processe.
The process 18-20
I had forgotten I had the turquoise bucket. It was upside down underneath a large pot of raspberries. The grey one was also a Walmart bucket but I found it second hand this spring and the blue bucket is this year’s Walmart bucket (unfortunately smaller).
I divided the fleece, from cleanest to areas of less careful personal sheep hygiene. Starting with the cleanest and working my way to the less appealing but still-worth-trying bucket the fleece goes into the soapy water, then rinse and repeat. The First strainer only needed one rinse. (I gave up on the hot water idea and found out-of-the-hose is cleaning the fleece fine just as long as I soak it a bit longer.)
Hummm. There is more wool here than I thought. Another drying rack would help immensely! Off to Ikea to see if they still have the grey one I’m using now. Really this isn’t as silly as it sounds I did a quick check on the computer and Ikea is only at the other end of my street. (4 stop signs away!) They have a similar one which will work. It’s now called a “MULIG” Drying rack, indoor/outdoor, white $24.99 Canadian. I like the grey one a bit better but they are the same height and work well for fleece I better write a product review for that!
Ikea images of “MULIG” Drying rack, indoor/outdoor
My neighbour wandered by the fence and I explained what I was up to. He looked amused and a bit skeptical. (the water was pretty dirty) he also mentioned one of the extremely Rubenesque raccoons from the neighbour behind him had been frightened over the fence and climbed into our garage…. “GLENN!! We need to fix the garage door now!” Our Garage is sinking. Some previous owner paved the inside of the garage and right over the sill plates, leaving the 2×4 uprights sticking out of the asphalt. So my sill plates are long gone to dirt and thus my garage is decoratively sinking with a lovely spinal twist since the rafters were not spaced correctly when originally built. Oh and the roof leaks so there is a big silver tarp to stop that happening. Really it’s on the list of things to do but our contractor hurt his back after I hurt mine so I can’t fix his so the garage is awaiting help.
Everything has moved and the door is being inspected, measured and a first pass is made with the cutter 21
If we shorten the door the door will close and no more overweight under-wanted raccoons will consider my garage as a possible winter vacation spot. Our neighbour lent Glenn a grinder/cutter thing and we had to move everything out of the way (that would be the fleece washing I had been doing… plus the dogs litter boxes (the rest of us knew they were really flower boxes) and a couple rain barrels.) Oh well, Raccoon eviction takes priority over fleece. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been the skunk that is somewhere around here wanting our garage.
Glenn removing part of the garage door so it will close and keep the raccoon out 22
Well that is impressively disgusting looking water! 23-26
Drying Fleece at the guild 27
If you are a member of the Ottawa Valley weavers and spinners guild face book group page, you may have watch the video I made to show just how much more exciting it is to watch fleece dry rather than watching paint. (I had been working on the library for 2 full days in a row on a long weekend and I was getting a bit odd. OK, odder then usually odd). My fleece is assisted in its drying by listening to Rammstein and fan noise.
Today’s forecast is cloudy with showers. And if the last set of dark ominous clouds that rolled past are any suggestion of what might be coming I may not start the Icelandic today but leave it for tomorrow and hope to not get a second free rinsing. Although rain water is said to be very good for rinsing fleeces.
Update: i was able to get the Icelandic like fleece washed, i used all my plastic straining buckets and all the big bins to soak them in. i divided the fleece up into colour sections then i used the temperature of water from the hose and left it to soak longer than i had with the hot water fleeces.
unwrapping sheet that holds the giant fleece after skirting, then dividing the fleece up by colour.
earlier this summer while looking for good second hand baskets at a one of the thrift stores i spotted and pounced on an camping/RV hand washing machine. (think giant salad spinner for jeans) it has a switch on the bottom to ether hold wanter in while you wash or you can turn the switch and it will drain the water out a hose that is stored in a little door-ed area near the bottom of the spinner. it works much better on Fleece than it would on close im sure.
the Deluxe salad spinner that thot it was a hand washing machine, (i tracked it down on line its called a Laundry pod and costs about 100.00. mine said 9.99.)
washing and spin drying the fleece
part way through the fleece washing Glenn wandered out and started moving around blacksmithing equipment on the patio (adjacent to the fleece washing. he had a small project to finish and an eviction to make. the sulpherus smoke from starting up the forge helped knock out the squatters who were eventually knocked down and added to the forge at the end of his project. unfortunately some of my fleece now has that fresh black smith smell.
the soon to be evicted (there in the roof above Glenn’s forge, most did not survive the Coal start up smoke. the few remaining did not survive the forge.)
Final outcome: what started out looking defiantly like an Icelandic or Icelandic cross fleece Pre-Wash (we pulled at the long stringy bits that looked like tog and it separated just like tog and left shorter stuff ) Post-washing seems to have been a humongous Shetland fleece. i must have washed out the Icelandic! Or maybe i over spun dried it?
OK change of plan, i now have the fiber to spin the warp for my blanket so i will keep collecting more tog to make the tufts! but that will take a while so i will have to show you that Much latter!
So far I am failing at my third-quarter challenge. I hade a couple of ideas and then changed my mind then picked something else and even did a layout but nope, I am not feeling it. It was another planet sort of thing. I have another idea but we will see.
This was the other planet one. The white domes are paper.
I wanted to remind people that World Wide Spin in Public Day is coming up, September 21, 2019. Are you Planning to spin with friends or by yourself? Or at a shop or other event? If you have been thinking about trying spinning this would be a great day to do it. I will be at the farmers market with my spindle. Here is a facebook group. There are lots of posts about places to participate. facebook.com/groups/wwsipday/
It was an honor to hear that my publisher Quarto Creates was reworking The Complete Photo Guide to Felting into a new book called First Time Felting.
This book is for beginners and concentrates on needle felting techniques but also shows the basics of wet felting and nuno felting. The book is available now.
I am happy to announce that Quarto Creates is providing one free copy of the book as a give away prize here. All you need to do is comment below and you will be entered into a drawing for the book. So please spread the word and share this post to get the word out about this new book.
Drawing now closed
And the new look? Did you notice that we changed up the look of our website a little? Thanks to Ann and Jan for the new header photo and we’ve changed the background to create a cleaner look. What do you think?
Don’t forget that registration is open now for my online classes. Please check out the online classes in the menu and register today!
Since my last post (which only seems like 10 days ago) I have not stopped. Over a hot drink I decided to evaluate the supporting evidence of said busy-ness. Firstly, and with a smile on my face, I have to admit that I have been to France for a week. Why? I have been on Grammie duties with our 13 month grandson (our youngest – by 2 weeks!). He was a delight but then I’m a proud grandparent. On arrival back home I then had one week to prepare for our group’s annual textile exhibition (held 26 Aug). This means not only finding the resulting artefacts from the group’s various workshops but also actually completing them.
I know I’m not alone with having UFOs. In my case I manage to carve out special time for workshops then with the day finished I set my incomplete project aside promising myself to finish it but life just gets in the way! So still weighing up the evidence of my busy-ness I realised that in the last 6 weeks I had attended two workshops. Decisions, decisions….which to complete for the exhibition? Oh I nearly forgot each year the group has a challenge, this year it was butons….so I was also busy creating those.
Here is the evidence (you’ll have to imagine my very cute, happy, smiley, cuddly grandson though)….
My first workshop with Ailish Henderson (ailishhenderson.com) was titled ‘Stitched collage portraits’, with instructions to bring a photo of ourselves. I have never enjoyed being in front of the camera so that was the last thing I intended doing but instead took photos of our lovely 2.5yr old Raffles – a Cockerpoo, or as I like to say a Cockerpoopoo because his mum was a Cockerpoo and his dad a Poodle! But I digress.
It was suggested that we create a painting first then play with paper, fabric and other media to create a collage that we would then stitch to add the ‘character’.
Collage completed and stitching just commenced but sadly Raffles’ portrait remains a UFO.
Collectively there were some amazing pictures from our group.
My stitching buddy decided the portrait of Raffles was a good escape and decided to do her dog Izzy too. It is a great likeness….I’m sure Raffles recognised Izzy – his girlfriend!
I submitted both portraits anonymously as ‘Work in Progress’ to the exhibition….A visitor who knows our family later approached me and asked if that was Raffles in the exhibition….woohoo!
My second and latest workshop was with Justine Warner (Pearllovespaisley.co.uk). We were to create moorland layered landscapes, for which I had bought a card of a favourite local view just a few miles from home.
Justine clearly explained and demonstrated the process which was to use layers of recycled fabrics, yarns, scraps, threads etc to create our chosen landscape.
Justine is actually known as the ‘tie lady’ because she uses old ties in her pictures combined with many other fabrics (look closely and you can see the ties in her work above). Starting with a calico/cotton square approx 40 x 40 cm, strips (about 3cm) of torn or cut fabric are laid from the top down to replicate the furthest away layer – in most cases the sky.
Once the farthest layer is complete the idea is to continue forward tackling each layer in turn until the forground is reached. Each layer has multiples of fabrics and stitching, stitching and yet more stitching.
Rummaging through Justine’s huge stash of fabrics that were piled on the floor was certainly great fun.
With all the stitching and constant changing of threads I had only reached the base layer of the foreground by the end of the workshop. However having finally got the hang of the method I made a promise to myself to finish this piece.
But before then….sorting, packing, travelling and much cuddling was next on the agenda!
Home and back to my project (with only days to go) I continued stitching the sky and hills adding layer upon layer of different coloured lines.
I remembered that Justine had suggested every piece should have some ‘bling’, so using some glittery netting and sparkling fabric, that is just what I did to highlight the areas bathed in sunshine (not easy to photograph). I then used some felting wools to create the variegation in tree colours and machine embroidered over the top.
With the trees complete the barn was the next, but to make sure I got the perspective right I scanned the original card and increased the size to match my picture then traced the barn and overlayed it.
But this threw up a dilemma – it seemed too dominant….so do I ignore the literal and use artistic license? After a lot of humming and harring……YES. Following this decision I simply concentrated on creating the small stone barn by staining some grey/white textured fabric with tea (Yorkshire Tea of course!) and appliqueing it with glue (stitching would be too much) to the scene.
Then it was on to the foreground to try and create a sense of depth using colour (different fabrics are trapped under netting), machine stitching and finally hand stitching.
My interpretation of the Swaledale picture – I am pleased with the finished result but it took maaaannnny hours to complete. I think Justine might argue that I had been too literal and could afford to make it less precise, but that is the perfectionist in me!
Yes, it made it to the exhibition (just) complete with temporary hanging device….Pheu!….but our dining room had fabric scraps, threads, wools, yarns etc absolutely everywhere!!!! EPH (Ever Patient Husband) was definitely that, fortunately he’s artistic too, so understands!
My picture in it’s raw cut state 40x40cm awaiting framing. On the left photographed during a bright day indoors with artificial light, on the right actually outside in the daylight (on the same background! Can anyone guide me to a better colour rendition solution?), similarly below. Although the mount is totally the wrong size it shows how it enhances the picture.
So I have evidenced my ‘busy-ness’ to you all – what have you achieved recently?