Fourth Quarter Challenge 2015

I’m still feeling a bit direction-less on this challenge, ambling from one idea to the next but I have at least managed to commit to making a couple of pieces of felt this week, both based on the challenge.

The first is a small hanging based on this photo of some cone flowers (rudbekia):

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My idea for this picture was to use different tones and shades to visually bring some of the flowers forward while sending others into the background.

Using the ball of ochre coloured wool in the middle of this photo I blended some different tones and shades by adding different quantities of white or black.

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And used these batts to make some prefelts:

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I confess I cheated a little – the yellow in the middle is not a tone or shade of the ochre colour, the original colour is the square 2nd from right on the bottom row.

These prefelts were cut up and arranged on a square of black commercial prefelt:

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After lots of rubbing and a little bit of rolling all the pieces are firmly attached and it is ready for some finer details to be added.

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I quite like the jolly, cartoon-like effect but think I can make the flowers look more 3-dimensional with some shading using the left over prefelts and pieces of the batts.

This weekend I also made a start on a hooded jacket, again applying the challenge instruction of using just one colour plus black and white. There’s still some way to go but here is a little taster…

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Rummaging through my stash I found some bundles of carded natural merino batts in white and dark brown, I had an idea that using batts would speed up the layout, which it did, but any time I saved in the initial lay-out was lost needle-felting more wool over the thin spots at the prefelt stage. 🙁

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I attached a hood to my favourite dress resist. Masking tape is great for making temporary changes to resists. You can see where I have permanently altered this resist to add sleeves using duct tape.

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Laying out the wool with some lovely Wensleydale locks for extra texture and some white mulberry silk for a little bit of sheen.

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Starting to layout the front sections:

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With a little luck I hope to post the finished jacket next time.

On a High

Today I received a most heart-warming message from a lady who purchased a book cover on Etsy, it’s always lovely to hear about where my pieces find their forever-homes and how they are being used but this message in particular left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. After saying how much she loved the book cover she explained how she bought it as a gift for a friend, who had just become a celebrant, so she could use it in her ceremonies. The idea that my book cover could play a part in some of the most significant events of so many lives fills me with joy. 🙂

This is the book cover:

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I am still working on the hat tutorial but as a little diversion I allowed myself to start a new felt hanging over the weekend. I used a piece of rainbow dyed prefelt for the base and laid out various resists in a flower pattern.

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Before covering with rings of kap merino that echoed the colours of the base.

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Then some layers of different shades of green and brown for the top layers. I’m rather pleased with how the colours of the kap merino have migrated through the browns to show their colours more subtly on the surface.

After removing most of the resists.

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Next time…. the finished hanging 🙂

Lichen #2 and some machine embroidery

As promised here are some photos of the second lichen on bark piece, this one took much longer than the first to complete and I  think that was largely due to the number of resists that needed cutting and placing (more than 40 in total) but, at last, it is finished.

I have spent most of today working through my UFO (UnFinished Objects) box in preparation for the Sonning exhibition on Sunday. This has almost exclusively involved machine embroidery.

And this piece was inspired by some sunset photos I took in North Devon a few weeks ago:

I plan to use it to cover a ring binder, hence the embroidery design is only on the right hand side.
And I made some leaves to turn the silk flowers into brooches:
I have also been working on a new bag that I think is rather exciting but more on that next time… 🙂

A Productive Week

Not sure what happened to me this week but it’s like someone put amphetamines in my coffee. Last week I could barely motivate myself to cook for myself and only managed to produce one piece of felt. This week I have turned into a felting whirling dervish… Here are a few of the things I have started / finished so far this week:

I dyed the lacy scarf I made on Sunday but after looking at it for a couple of days decided I wasn’t that happy with it so put it back in the dye bath.

Much better!
It now makes me think of autumnal leaves falling into a river.

Some felt cuffs using a similar technique to the scarf, there is an adult and 2 child sizes, I think you can just see where I have cut some slits in the adult one, I hope the cuts will open up to make a lacy effect with a little felting persuasion.

A little felt pod made using an adaptation of the lacy felt technique to create the loops you can see in the second picture.

A felt vase made from some shibori dyed prefelt, this is still very much a WIP but I hope the top will look like a 5-petal flower when it’s finished.

A Halloween-inspired bag, still quite a long way to go on this one but I think you can make out that it will be a pumpkin… one day!

I started this “coral” piece before I went on my hols but it takes so long to needle-felt each strip into place that I only just got as far as wet felting it this week. It is currently drying and waiting to be fixed to some stretcher bars.

These 2 pieces were started at Dagmar Binder’s class in September. The pale blue piece was an uninspiring, flat multi-layered disc that I have been looking at for weeks trying to decide what to do with it. I finally picked it up and started playing with it this week, folding it this way and that and this shape was born. An hour of stitching later and it is now drying in it’s new form. Given that I was ready to throw it on the reject / recycling pile a few days ago I’m rather pleased with how it turned out.

The dark blue piece below is a sewer’s bowl, the raised ring around the outside is a perfect pin cushion, while the bowl will prevent your reels of thread, beads etc. from rolling away. It was inspired by photos of a coral polyps:

A nuno felt scarf (would you believe, dyed the silk, felted and finished this week, including a rolled hem).

I also felted this cotton scrim and embroidered bowl, even after using CMC to stiffen it I wasn’t that happy that it would keep its shape so opted to felt it.

And finally another piece from Fiona Duthie’s surface design class. I think this might be come a book cover…

As if all this wasn’t enough I have also scoured and dyed a Shetland fleece, all the beautiful colours are busy drying over my bathtub. More on those in another post.

I think I have earned myself a glass of wine 🙂 Hope you are having lots of fun in your felting adventures too 🙂

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Weaving by the Sea and Some Lichen

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I have just returned from 2 wonderful weeks in northern Spain. The first week was spent with Tim Johnson on a (“basket”) weaving course, aptly named weaving by the sea. I put basket in quotes as that was probably the one thing I didn’t make. I went with the intention of learning Tim’s methods so I could interpret his methods into textiles and mixed media pieces. The 7 and 9 stand braiding was really interesting but is very slow, I expect I will make some fabric bowls using it but don’t expect it to be commercially viable to make these professionally.

The second half of the week was spent on freeform or chaos weaving which I loved and can see myself using some of the willow stored in my garden to make some mixed media sculptures. Tim was an amazing teacher, he is incredibly knowledgeable and keen to share what he knows. His fine art background brought a different flavour and an unexpected freedom to what we made under his tutelage, he was very keen that we move away from making functional objects and experiment with different forms.
Here are a couple of photos I took during the course but more can be found (including a few of me ;o/) by following the weaving by the sea link above.

Mr TB joined me for the second week which we spent touring northern Spain and walking in the Catalonian National Park, Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, according to Wikipedia this translates to “The winding streams and lakes of St. Maurice”. We certainly followed a stream for most of our trip so this seems quite apt. The views in the park were absolutely stunning and so varied. In the space of just 7 km (about 4 miles) we found ourselves walking through woodland, along the banks of a stream, across pastures, sitting by a huge serene lake and always with mountains providing a majestic backdrop.


Even with all this beauty on such a grand scale, it was some lichen growing on a tree trunk that caught my creative attention and this is what I have been working on since we returned.

I like the lichens and the tassely bits but think I might repeat this piece with the bark represented using strips of cut-away resist.


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