Hats with Judit Pocs

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy… After 9 happy years working for Eli Lilly and Company I handed in my notice, it was a  very difficult decision, the people I work with are so wonderful I am already grieving at the thought of not seeing them every day. I hope we will stay in touch but I know how difficult it is to maintain friendships if you don’t meet up regularly.

Now I am finding that it is very true what they say about job hunting be a full time occupation in itself but at least I am in the fortunate position of being able to be selective about which opportunities I apply for.

Last week was spent in sunny Devon, attending 2, two-day workshops with the very talented Judit Pocs, a felt-maker from Hungary.  The first workshop was in Tiverton, making hats. I have attended a hat making workshop with Judit before and she was so generous with the variety of styles and techniques that she taught in that first workshop, I wasn’t expecting to learn any new techniques, I was approaching this workshop as a fun activity vacation. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The whole group managed to finish at least one hat in the 2 days, most of us had at least started a second, even if, like mine it wasn’t finished before we had to leave the community centre.

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A selection of the hats we made, the white, blue and red one to the right of centre was also a bag!
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The texture on this hat was from a beautiful devore silk fabric
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Claire’s hat – she and I used a similar technique to create silk ruffles

The next few photos are of the “cat hat” I made first, I’m very happy with how the sequins in the ears and the silk over the felt “bumps” turned out.

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In the last couple of hours I made use of one of my screen-printed prefelts to make a “boxy” hat.

This was the prefelt before laying out the hat:IMG_6125

And the (nearly) finished hat, it just needs a couple of stitches to hold the felt ring in place:

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As with the other printed prefelts, the finer details of the print, such as the orange circles from the bubble wrap, disappeared but the rest of this print was so bold it has held up well to fulling.

Judit also ran a bag workshop after the hat workshop, more on that soon!

Parrot-Eating Sea Monster

This week I have been working on a commission piece for this very handsome young man. His name is Ki and he is a Senegal parrot.

His mommy (Ceci) wants to treat him to a new bed / hidey-hole and was taken with the idea of my cat / parrot eating fishes:

But being an artist herself (link here), Ceci and I have been having lots of fun creating a sea monster loosely based on Ki’s beautiful colours, this is a sketch detailing some of the ideas we came up with.

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The sea monster will have marble eyes on stalks, pectoral fins for Ki to snuggle under, a perch inside and a tongue “ramp”. This is proving to be a very unusual project! 🙂

I cut a resist based on the original cat-eating fish resist and adjusted the size to better fit Ki

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Then started with laying out the mouth / lips – Ceci said she would like the mouth to be green inside, once the “mouth flap” is folded back to give it strength to support Ki, the lips will be orange on the outside and green on the inside.

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Then I started laying out the internal layers of wool, Ceci expressed an liking for blue-green colours over the top, by using some hand dyed green wool for the inner layers I hope the green will migrate and blend with the very vivid blue I have for the top layers, giving a subtle, mottled green tinge to the finished cave.

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Then adding a darker layer of green and a brighter orange – this will form one of the middle layers.Notice how the mouth / opening is angled downwards to make it easier for Ki to climb inside.

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Then finally a couple of layers of sapphire blue and some more orange. I love this shade of blue and think it really “sings”next to the orange 🙂

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Then adding some pectoral fins on each side and the middle layer for the tail fin

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Then I made a series of felt balls in marbled yellow-orange colour and laid out the darker green for the tail fin.

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The felt balls were covered with blue wool to secure them (some of the blue wool will be cut away later to reveal the yellow underneath) and added some blue stripes to the tail fin.

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Tomorrow I start making lots of spikes and of course the eyes on stalks!

For those of you reading by email, this is the link to the web page: blog post

Q1 Challenge for 2016 – Part 2

The Chain Hat is progressing although it has been a little bit argumentative; I have had to resort to stitching more of the links together than I had initially planned.

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I started a new hat yesterday that also fits into the resist theme, this one was inspired by the phrase “fiery red-head” and will hopefully look like an inferno on the wearer’s head when it is finished. It is still a work in progress but here it is before cutting in the flame shapes.

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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 🙂

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