Life Felting

Apologies to anyone who also follows the Felting and Fiber Studio blog, this was a guest post written for their blog but I thought I would share it here too for anyone who doesn’t follow both blogs.

A year ago, I signed up for a life drawing class, not really sure what to expect but I knew I needed to expand my portfolio if I wanted to study art and design / textile design further.

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I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it, Tuesday evenings soon became the highlight of my week. Like everyone else, I was working with charcoal and pastels but a turning point came when I met a lady at an untutored life drawing session who was making collages of the model with acrylic “felt”. I cringe to call it felt, the fuzzy plastic she was cutting up bears very little resemblance to the woolly gorgeousness that we all know and love ?

The following week I turned up with a sheet of commercial needle-punch prefelt as a base and large  bag of wool tops and fabrics for felting. Sarah was my first muse and I am still working on her, she is being treated to a lot of hand-stitching that is taking weeks to complete, this was her after felting and adding some stitch around her eyes:

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And as she looks today, still lots more stitching planned, she is giving my hands something to do while sat in front of the TV in the evening:

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Chantelle and Omar were the models at the next session, this time I used some low-immersion dyed prefelts as the base and Chantelle was collaged from screen-printed prefelts I made during Ruth’s online class.

Chantelle is still at the prefelt stage and she needs a lot of work,

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but Omar’s hands are progressing nicely,

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I think the background needs work though, what do you see  when you look at the dyed background?

 

This is a line drawing on a printed photo that could be one option…

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And finally, I tried a new technique with Terry, mixing rust dyed fabric with Kap Merino. Kap merino is a very short fibre wool that is lovely to “paint” with but unfortunately it isn’t that easy to source, I bought mine from Woolknoll in Germany.

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Kap merino with cm measure

Terry is still at the very soft prefelt stage but I am happy with today’s progress and I hope to take the sander to him later this week. This is what he looked like first thing this morning…

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And after another 5 hours work on him today… I can still see areas that need fixing, it is funny how you see things looking at a photograph that you don’t see when looking at the felt ?

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Are you interested in finding a life-drawing group near you? Most further education colleges with an art department offer evening classes, these are usually quite structured and they are great way to get a grounding in traditional methods of drawing the human figure but they might not be so keen on you turning up with a large bag of wool instead of charcoal ? Alternatively, most towns have informal life drawing groups, where someone organises for a model to sit each week or month and you pay per session or series of sessions. I found Meet Up to be a great source for finding these groups (and other art and craft groups). They are typically untutored so they are much more amenable to weirdos like me turning up with armfuls of fluff and a bottle of soapy water! ?  Do check how long each pose will last before turning up with your wool though, I would find it tough to work with anything less than hour. Be prepared for lots of questions about what you are doing, I think most of the Guildford group are genuinely fascinated by what I am doing and the models say they enjoy watching me work too (they normally just have the back of easels to look at).

And finally, a shameless plug ? Registration for the very popular concertina hat class, the one with the cute snail hat tutorial, will open tomorrow please follow this link for more information and fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page if you would like to join us. Alternatively, you might like to admire the wonderful creations from previous students here.

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