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Fourth Quarter Challenge Or How Felt Doesn’t Like To Be Rushed

Fourth Quarter Challenge Or How Felt Doesn’t Like To Be Rushed

I was in a bit of a hurry to come up with something to post about today. I decided I would go ahead and try out another glass cover in the style of a 60’s artist. Last quarter, I created a similar piece based on Mark Rothko. 


Photo Courtesy of 1stDibs

I searched for artists painting in the 1960’s and found this photo of Stanley Bate’s Year of the Dragon. This looked interesting and I thought it would work in felt.

I kept the photo handy during layout and the first layer was all about values. I wanted to use the black and white prefelt to achieve the correct values once covered with a variety of colors. I laid out the prefelt on each side of a rectangular resist. And this is where the rushing felt problem really began. The two types of prefelt were different thicknesses. I should have done a light layer of fiber underneath the prefelt first but didn’t think of that until later.

I wet down the prefelt and then covered with a variety of yellow to red colors with pops of blue. I made this layer pretty thin. Also, not thinking ahead and trying to get done in a hurry.

I started felting and noticed several areas that were already developing holes. Sigh… So I did add more wool on to the thin areas and moved forward. But the hole problem continued and finally, I just ignored the holes and moved forward with fulling.

The shrinkage was totally different than the Mark Rothko inspired piece due to the use of prefelt. I had thought that perhaps the prefelt would add an interesting textural aspect but it just seemed to develop weak spots between the various pieces. More sighing…

And here’s the result. I ended up not getting enough shrinkage around to fit over the jar I used last time. Instead, I used a large tea tin. If you enlarge the photo, you might be able to see some holes.

I turned it inside out and decided I might like that side better than the original outside. It even looks more sixties to me. You can definitely see the holes here. I guess I can make the holes a design feature and turn it into a light.

How many years have I been making felt? A long time. Do I still try to rush things sometimes? Of course. Will I ever learn? Doubtful. Perhaps it’s just human nature or the world we now live in, that causes me to be hurried when I really should take my time. How about you? Do you get in a hurry sometimes when creating? I’m not sure why I do it when I am rarely satisfied with felt that has been rushed. Taking a deep breath and slowing down.


4th Quarter Challenge 2018

4th Quarter Challenge 2018

The theme of this year’s challenge has been Surface Design. So far, we’ve had Mixed Media, Nuno Felting, and Beneath the Surface. I was torn between a couple of ideas, but went with the one I had when the 4 of us discussed the theme for this year: something about rolling and twisting fibres. So my challenge is: Twists, Tubes and Yarns. I made a post not too long ago with some pieces I made with wool twists and tubes, and there is a video at the bottom which shows how to make the tubes using a kebab skewer. This is a pile of softly twisted wool I made:

To make the twists, I take small amounts of wool and fibres and while holding one end, roll the fibres across a surface, a piece of bubble-wrap is good. I then hold the other end, and twist again. You can ‘set’ the twist by spraying with a little water too. I made this piece about 10 years ago, it’s still one of my favourites:

You can make blends of wool in different colours, or blend fibres in. This piece is made with twists of wool and plastic fibre:

And, this piece is made with twists made with wool and commercial novelty yarns:

The wool tubes, or ‘kebabs’ are something I love to make, just making a pile of them feels creative and is really relaxing. I first made them accidentally when I realised a kebab skewer was great for poking into my little hand carders to pick up trapped fibres, and they’d come out easily if I rolled it around. I ended up with some funky/random tubes.

Like the wool twists, the wool tubes can be made of just wool, or wool blended with fibres, threads etc. Have a look at this post for some ideas:
This is one of my fave pieces, probably because it had very little planning/thinking involved, I just grabbed a couple of colours of Merino and a handful of already made tubes:

Handmade yarns can be made from anything you can twist (try organza or plastic bags if you haven’t already!) and can be used in many ways. This piece is made with wool and some old threads and unravellings from fabric, from a previous challenge:

This is a wet felted piece I made using some of my earliest attempts at making hand made yarn on a drop spindle:

I tried out some other early yarn that I made on two pieces, one was wet felted:

And the other was needle felted:

It’s great for weaving with:

Or, if you want something a bit more adventurous, how about needling it onto a vessel (scroll down)

So, there’s just a few ideas, if you’ve tried some or all of these before, step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and maybe even use some of this years previous challenges for inspiration or in combination!

4th Quarter Challenge

4th Quarter Challenge

I thought I’d finally get a chance to do some felting this week, so gave the 4th quarter challenge on Suprematist Art some thought. I know it’s basically just positioning pieces of various shapes and/or sizes, but I thought the description from the Art Story site about how the simple shapes “also encouraged many Suprematists to emphasize the surface texture of the paint on canvas, this texture being another essential quality of the medium of painting”. I know it’s hard to see that texture through old photos of old paintings on a flat screen, but it sounded like an interesting angle to explore. I’d originally planned to do my base/backgrounds with wool tops, but remembered some thick white prefelt, so used that for my base. I started out with a quite simple layout of shapes cut from commercial prefelt and handmade fibre paper:

I used a few more pieces on the next one. I had to concentrate to not have ‘neat’ or regular angles!

Another thing which intrigued me about one of the key ideas of Suprematim was the ‘Zero degree’ of painting which Art Story described as ‘the point beyond which the medium could not go without ceasing to be art.’ I might be wrong, but I thought Kazimir Malevich’s White on White was a good example of the way I understood that. So, I had a go at my interpretation, though not quite so minimalist! I built up a piece using mostly the same white prefelt as the base, and some white fibre paper. It’s a long time since I made it, but I think it is bamboo. And I think the cream square in the bottom left is tussah silk paper:

The last piece is a complilation of white and grey prefelt shapes, and white and ‘black’ bamboo paper shapes:

As I was putting the last piece back onto a piece of cardboard to take downstairs, I noticed the light had changed and was picking up the textures of the prefelt/paper layers, so I took a few photos of theose. Suprematist 1:

Suprematist 2:

I love this one, I think it’s the most interesting of all of them, Suprematist 3:

And lastly, Suprematist 4

I completely underestimated how long actually constructing the pieces would take, so never did get a chance to felt them, so I’ll show the results next time.

My First Attempt at Land Art – 4th Quarter Challenge

My First Attempt at Land Art – 4th Quarter Challenge

I was planning on posting an update about my appliqued caricatures but then Zed posted her 4th quarter challenge. I have always been inspired by nature and have done a few rock cairns but nothing very exciting. So I was excited by the challenge and my mind was full of ideas. But then when I was walking the dogs, I noticed the ever present Tamarack pine needles that appear on our driveway in the autumn. Perhaps  I could use those as a basis for land art. Then, since it was a nice day, I needed to finish up filling the cracks in the driveway. To do this, I needed to blow all the pine needles off the driveway. So I donned the backpack blower and started.


As I was blowing off one driveway, I started pushing the pine needles together and then started shaping it into a tree shape. Once I got as far as the photo above, I turned off the blower and got a small whisk broom.


And I made this tree. I stood on top of the picnic table to get the photo. The tree is about 25 feet tall. I wish I could have gotten up on the roof to take a better shot but I don’t do heights and I would have fallen off and landed in the hospital or something.


It was fun shaping the tree and drawing with the pine needles.


It didn’t take me very long and since I knew I was just going to blow it off the driveway, I didn’t stress about how it looked.


As you can see, there are still pine needles on the ground in between branches and I didn’t worry about getting them all aligned.


So, this is my first attempt at land art. It has now been blown off the driveway and is only in digital form at this point. If it was just me, I would have left it on the driveway for a while and taken photos of it as it disintegrated. But hubby was having none of that! I know this has little to do with fiber unless you count pine needles as fiber. But it was fun and I really enjoyed my first foray into land art. Thanks for the challenge Zed!

Fourth Quarter Studio Challenge – Autumn Scarf

Fourth Quarter Studio Challenge – Autumn Scarf

When Zed announced the 4th quarter challenge, I had already done some eco-printing on a couple of felt scarves. So I thought that this one would be the perfect project for the challenge. I wasn’t really happy with the results of the eco-printing and the scarf needed something more. So I took my mobius scarf which just happens to be a challenge piece from the “twisted” challenge and did some free motion machine stitching on it.

Natural Dyed, Free Motion Machine Stitched Felt ScarfI decided to use a variety of types of leaves and four different colored threads. Two of the threads were multi-colored threads and the others were red and orange to add a bit more color to the scarf.

Close Up - Free Motion StitchingI stitched aspen leaves, maple leaves and several other leaves that I had previously studied in my sketchbook.

Free Motion StitchingI always like to be able to refer to a photo or a sketch while I am free motion stitching.

More StitchingIt takes a bit of practice, but I love to stitch on felt.

Fall Leaves - Free Motion StitchingI’m not sure I “love” this scarf but I guess it looks better.

Free Motion Machine Stitched LeavesI think the orange and red thread is a bit bright. I might have liked it better if I just used the tan/brown thread. And then it would have been monochromatic too!

Free Motion Stitching on FeltBut it is finished and is my entry for Zed’s challenge.

Natural Dyed Felt Scarf with Free Motion Machine StitchingNow to see if I really wear it. I guess I’ll at least wear it for our cold autumn that we’re having here in Montana.

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