Translucent felt

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been doing almost obscene amounts of dyeing this week, one batch was for my C&G course and was predominantly focussed on dyeing different animal fibres in the same dye vat (bag in my case) so you end up with a harmonious blend of colours in a range of materials. I chose to use each pair of primary colours so had 3 “vats” and the these are the results.

Each vat contained, Corriedale top, some alpaca top, silk hankies, ponge 5 silk, a piece of commercial prefelt, some merino pencil roving and a piece of hand spun White Faced Woodland.

For good measure I threw in some of my scoured Jacobs fleece too…

The colours are so lovely I kept finding myself standing in the bathroom literally watching them all dry 🙂 Needless to say I couldn’t wait to use them…
Our brief from the course was to create a piece of textured felt using the design work form previous weeks (in my case I had been working with bone micrographs).
I cut out some silk shapes that resembled the holes you see in bone when under the microscope.

And laid resists over the top that were just slightly smaller than the silk.

Then added 2 layers of the corriedale roving, pulling the tufts was lovely as I had different colours with each pull.

I even spun some of the orange/red pencil roving, my spinning is definitely improving but I’m not about to win any prizes for producing beautifully even yarn.

After felting and cutting out the resists.

I’m really pleased with how this piece turned out but it really comes to life when you hold it up to the light:

The corriedale has produced a beautiful crimp and the silks look like stained glass windows. I think this technique would make a stunning lampshade or even curtains.
Here is a closer look at the curly corriedale, this is fast becoming one of my favourite wools to work with:
Now I just need to figure out a way to hang it so it can be hung in front of a window and the frame / hanger does not cast a shadow that would detract from the design….
I also repeated the dyeing a variety of different fibres exercise. Following advice from Ruth I tried some grey and brown too (thanks Ruth). It’s still a bit monochromatic but an improvement on the last version 🙂
Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Natural Wool Colours

This week I have been a good girl (mostly) trying to catch up on my City and Guilds work, there’s been some dyeing of wools and animal fibres and using natural fibre colours. It’s very easy to overlook all the lovely browns, creams and greys that wool naturally comes in when confronted by the vast array of juicy, commercially dyed wools that are so readily available but I hope I can convince you to at least take a second look at the natural colours too….

For the current series of C&G assignments I have been using bone micrographs as my starting point and this piece was no exception. I found this photo on the Microlab Gallery and used it for inspiration. This is a piece of fossilised dinosaur bone as seen under the microscope.

Here are the fibres wetted out ready for rolling, I even used some of my hand-spun Jacob wool for drawing lines (my spinning is still a bit erratic but is getting better and I like the thick and thin effect in this painting).

And the finished piece.

I really like this piece, it is quite heavily textured and I’m finding hard not to stroke it whenever I wander past. I think it looks lonely and needs some companions, so will have to make a few more ;o)

For a related assignment we were also asked to make a piece from just white fibres with the intention of dyeing it so that the different design elements would be revealed as not all fibres accept the dye at the same rate. Here is the piece laid out, ready to be wetted out and rolled:

And before dyeing (not very inspiring!):

And after dyeing:

I’m a little disappointed with this piece, I’m glad I incorporated some vegetable fibre (igneo corn top) which does not accept the acid-fast dyes, the corn top is the only element that has provided a reasonable amount of contrast. All the wools, silks, mohair and alpaca seem to have accepted the dye fairly evenly so the changes in colour are rather subtle. The different textures are nice though. I am tempted to add some embroidery to make it more interesting…..

Where has the time gone?

Gosh, I can’t believe it has been 3 weeks since I last posted. It has been a hectic few weeks of working on my City and Guilds assignments and chasing my own tail.

Here are some of the C&G things I have been up to as part of my Artybird course.

Do you recall the “Alien Signpost” piece I started a couple of months back? After much debate (no two people had the same idea about how I should cut it or hang it) I settled on the portrait version with the “torn paper” edge along the bottom.

It is a large piece (173 x 92cm / 5’8″ x 3′) that I think would look fantastic in a stairwell (shame I live in a bungalow).

I’m really pleased with how this piece turned out even though the integral hanging sleeve is in the wrong orientation! Note to self: don’t bother with integral hanging sleeves on abstract pieces, you’re always going to want to hang it on a different edge to the one you have planned! 😉

More recently I have been working on an assignment based on John Constable’s Cloud Studies. I confess I hadn’t appreciated just how prolific a painter he was, many of them are described as sketches but still stunning in their own right. Our assignment was to prepare some pastel drawings on different coloured backgrounds and then use those colours to make felt samples.

These are my pastel sketches.

 Dark blue paper

Light blue paper

Brown paper

All these sketches were derived from the same Constable painting but each has a very different feel, I think the middle one feels like the skies are clearing after a storm and has a freshness about it, while the other 2 feel like the storm is still building.

I was also very drawn to a painting of cirrus clouds, I just love the sense of movement and direction the white lines give this sketch.

And these are the pieces interpreted into felt, firstly with Norwegian wool:

And merino:

Next time – I revert back to my childhood and use wax crayons…

Alien Invasion Part 2

I finally plucked up the courage to work on my monster “alien signpost” piece again, needle felting some details into the surface and fulling it. It spent yesterday blocked on some children’s play mats and drying in the lovely weather we have had this weekend. I blocked it face down to ensure the face was not distorted by the hanging sleeve on the back. This is what it looks like now:

When I started it my plan was to make it into a triptych and trim the edges, hence they are more untidy than ususal but now I looking at it and think I like the wavy edges with the bars of prefelt “threatening” the escape the frame.
It is still an enormous 1.9m x 1m (6′ x 3′)  despite being quite firmly fulled (I don’t want to full it any further for risk of losing the details and muting the colours).
I also quite like it in the other orientation, I especially like the wavy edge at the bottom, it reminds me of ripped paper…

If I trim it, I expect it to look something like this:

And as a triptych –
Version 1 landscape:

Triptych version 1 portrait:

Triptych version 2 landscape:

Triptych version 2 portrait:

I am racked with indecision about where to go with this piece. What do you think? Do you prefer the portrait or landscape orientation? Which of the triptychs is most aesthetically pleasing? Or should I scrap the triptych idea altogether and revel in the torn paper effect?

Busy Week

It’s been another busy week but unfortunately not in a creative way, my day job has been going more than a bit crazy. It’s been as much as I can do to make myself eat something before crashing into bed each evening. This weekend I have really thrown myself into textiles to make up for an otherwise rubbish week. It has been a very productive weekend though…

Mr TB was out on a stag night on Saturday so I put the evening to good use, watching trashy TV while applying wax to an apron I rainbow dyed with blues and greens that morning:

This is the batik pattern I have been doodling, it’s taking a surprisingly long time, 4 hours so far and I’m only half way finished…

I plan to over-dye this with a deep purple and then spray with plasti-dip spray to waterproof it so I have a felting / dyeing apron (no more soggy felter’s middle for me!).

I have finished a couple of C&G “samples” that I started last weekend, the assignment is to explore natural wools with a view to creating a wall hanging but to my mind these pieces are too large (approx 40 x 60 cm / 16 x 24″) to be samples and I like them as wall hangings in their own right:

Do you remember this piece of ice-dyed felt from a few weeks ago?

I turned it into a bag, this is the front flap: 

Inside the front flap:

I plan to do a lot of hand embroidery on this piece, mostly blanket stitch around the edges and bit of embellishment on the front flap. If I can get it finished in time I will submit it to the Yarns in the Cathedral exhibition in May.

And finally, some blue tits have been showing a lot of interest in the bird pod I hung a couple of weeks ago. I can’t decide if they are nesting in it or just stealing the cat fluff I put in it as welcome present…

Linking up to nina-marie, off the wall Friday

1 2 3 4