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Inspiration Photos

Inspiration Photos

I’ve still not decided on a photo to work from for Ruth’s Fauvism Challenge. I’ve looked through lots of my landscape ones, and have narrowed it down to a couple, and I planned on making the background this week. Then we had the boiler changed, a 1 day job which still hasn’t been finished a week later, so apart from the mess everywhere taking up my tables, I can only have the hot water on if I have the heating on too! It was really sunny on Saturday and Sunday so I thought I’d take some inspiration photos in the garden instead. I know nearly everyone hates dandelions, but I like them. And Galina does too, so at least one other person will like my photos! I loved these two growing close together like pom-poms:

I took this one on the Saturday after I’d been doing some tidying up in the garden, when I zoomed in, I saw how filthy it was!

I don’t know how many different types of actual Dandelions there are, but it’s amazing how different they look at different stages of growth:

And they look different during the day, depending how open they are:

I was surprised to see some tulips blooming this year. The last couple of years they just grew leaves, so I thought they were too old, I’d probably had them in the same tubs for 10 years, so I tipped them out onto a compost heap, where 4 of them decided they liked it! It looks like the sun is lighting them up, but I took these two when it was shady, it’s just their colouring:

This one is blurred, but I liked the shapes:

I took this when it was sunny:

One flower I have masses of is wild geraniums, they grow everywhere. They look nice, but strangle everything else, and smell like a cat has been marking its territory 🙁

I know it’s not felt or fibre, but I hope these photos give some inspiration to some of you 🙂

Inspiration, etc.

Inspiration, etc.

Usually, I find inspiration in nature or another artists work.  But recently I saw an ad in a department store flyer for a bedspread that caught my eye.   I kept going back to it until I finally I cut the picture out and laid it on my work table.

It stayed there for a while and I kept asking myself what about it that kept drawing me back to it.  I didn’t need a bedspread, but there was something about the colors and design I found intriguing. The design looked as if the colors were painted with a brush and there were uneven lines like paint dripping down the wall.

I was in the process of trying to come up with a design for a book cover and thought I’d use the design elements I liked in the ad for that.

I measured meticulously for the the book cover allowing for fold over sides, shrinkage, straps, etc.  With my template finished, I laid out my design.  I really wanted to emulate that brush feel, so I even used a comb to separate the fibers.  For the paint squiggles, I used mohair yarn I had dyed.

white cover layoutHowever, once it was done I realized I couldn’t use it for the cover.  I would distort the design to cut the straps.  So, plan B — a pillow.  I had a pillow form that would work just fine.   The felted piece was a little too large so I wet it and threw it in the dryer.  Perfect. But now I needed a back.

The white wool I used was more of a light cream color, so I didn’t want to make a white back.  I had enough dark blue.  Again, I wanted to try to recreate that brush stroke.   I made a smaller template and proceeded to lay out the second side.

side by sideSince the finished piece was the right size, I didn’t have to put it in the dryer.  Consequently, it is smoother than the white side which is fine.  I sewed the pieces together and now I have a reversible pillow with two different textures and looks!

pillow front

 

pillow back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brush stroke design wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The felting process tightened up all my careful combing, but I learned a lot and will try again.

I really liked the dark blue color and  wanted to dye some new thick and thin yarn I purchased to use on another project.

Of course, even though I have a variety of thick and thin yarns this dark blue wasn’t one of them.  I found this new Ashland Bay yarn and just love the texture and novelty of the twist.

undyed thick and shinThe Midnight Blue acid dye on my shelf was just what I wanted.  I thought.  Next to the dark blue it looks purple.  The silk cocoons I threw into the dye pot turned a light purple and the wool batting is a medium purple.  It’s a good thing I like purple as well.

midnight blueNow back to the drawing board!

 

 

 

 

 

Threads and Yarns

Threads and Yarns

Around this time last year I was still doing the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. I struggled with it, and didn’t always enjoy it, but I did like what I produced when I used some felt offcuts from a piece I’d made with natural wools for placemats and coasters. I used my own handspun thread to sew the stitches. This is one I made using chain stitch, and this is one using cretan stitch. I hadn’t used my threads in a while, but recently I’ve been inspired by my flickr-friend, Marchi Wierson, a sculptural fibre artist who uses a variety of techniques in her work, such as wet felting and crochet, and loves working with natural wools and fibres. Her recent vessel commission and some gorgeous natural fibre yarns had me rummaging through my wools and fibres and getting my spindles out to spin more thread and yarn. I decided to use three shades of Shetland Wool.

shetlandI pulled off some of the tops from each shade.

tops

Then I looked through my embellishment fibres for some I thought would make a nice match. I chose Soybean top, viscose top and flax.

fibresI added some of each fibre to the Shetland tops.

fibreThen I blended them by hand.

blend
I got a couple of my spindles out, this is one I made and painted a few years ago.

spindleI made a small amount of thread, though even a small amount of wool and fibres goes a long way when spinning thread. This is it wound around the spindle.

threadThen I blended up some more Shetland and fibres and spun a thicker yarn. I will probably use the yarn in a wet felting project, though I have used them for needlefelting before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo have a look at Marchi’s photostream if you have time, her work is amazing and inspiring 🙂

You might have noticed a few changes to the site recently. We’ve been updating it and adding more photos to the galleries. We’ve also added a new page for Fabrics, and Ann’s ever popular Cat Cave ‘how to’ is now listed on the Wet Felting Tutorials page.

Road Trip Inspiration

Road Trip Inspiration

On my way home from Washington, I was working in my studio journal and thinking about all the inspiration you can get from a road trip. Even when the scenery isn’t all that exciting, there is always something that peaks my interest.

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These were my notes on what was popping into my brain as we were driving along. Luckily, my husband likes to drive and will drive for most of the trip. One of the things I really noticed when driving over to Washington this past 18 months for stitch class was the change in seasons. Since we were going once a quarter, we got a different perspective every time we drove over. The difference in the colors is amazing. Even in winter, there are a variety of colors because many of the deciduous trees have different colored branches ranging from red, orange, yellow to gray and white.

Another thing I noticed this trip was the different shapes of road signs. We had just been working on geometric patterns in our machine stitched books and I thought it might be fun to use the road signs shapes to create a design.

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Here’s a not so good photo of us driving along. You can see a bridge coming up. The bridge connecting bits reminded me of the insertion stitches we did for binding small books. I need to get a better photo of the different bridge shapes because I thought it would be really cool to make a piece with insertion stitches based on the shapes in the bridges.

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I then started noticing other geometrical elements such as the supports for power lines and   telephone poles. I never pay much attention to those things but they have some interesting shapes. You can also find many types of circles as you drive along such as rolls of hay stacked together, tires, hub caps and farming irrigation devices. When the vents on the car start intriguing you, you know you’ve lost it! 🙂

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So next time you’re on a road trip, take along a notebook and jot down what you see that you might could use for inspiration in your work. The more you look, the more you see.

Colour

Colour

I was looking through my photo albums and flickr photostream for some colour inspiration. I ended up with a large folder of photos and thought I’d share a few here:

This was an experimental piece using lots of layers and lots of pieces of prefelt, yarns, curls and coils. It eventually became a placemat and coaster set.

This is a close up of a very early piece of felt I made when I had a limited amount of colours.

This was part of the layout for a piece of felt for a notebook cover

Trying out new colour blends. I usually blend my own colours and add in other fibres that I like, but when I saw some colourful blends on World of Wool’s site, I thought I’d give them a go. They’re really nice and I re-order. I made two purses from this piece.

A very texturey needlefelted piece, made from hand dyed alpaca, coarse wools and wool locks.

Another piece using prefelts and coils. One thing I learned from my first piece was to add all the ‘extras’ equally over the piece for equal shrinkage. This was a placemat and coaster set for my girlfriend.

An experimental texture piece using lots of different fibres like silk, silk carrier rods, dyed scrim, dyed locks, bamboo tops, silk scraps.

Do you have an inspiration folder? Do you ever look back over old work and rework ideas?

Giveaway Winner and some Texture photos

Giveaway Winner and some Texture photos

The winner of the notebook giveaway is….. Mattie! 🙂 

Thanks to everyone who joined in and left nice comments.

Textures

I’ve been working on a project about using ‘other’ fibres in felting and noticed that ‘texture’ has been a common theme lately. I thought I’d post some photos showing different textures from wet felted pieces I’ve made. This first piece is green organza which was used as a base:

This is the top, strips of organza over blocks of coloured Merino:

This is another organza base, a slightly stiffer gold:

This is a piece of cerise organza:

This is a close up of silk in textured nuno felting:

This is a blue-green piece of textured felt, made with lots of layers and inclusions and felted mostly in the washing machine:
 
And lastly, this is a piece of texture felt using reds, pinks, oranges and yellow shades:
 

Do you have any photos of textural felt? How do you like to create it? Do you like to add to your felt to create texture with stitch or other fabrics and fibres? I’d love to see photos of your work 🙂

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