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 🙂
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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…

Seedpods Workshop with Yvonne Habbe

This week I spent 3 fabulous days in Switzerland, in the beautiful Interlaken area surrounded by awe inspiring mountains, shimmering lakes and the sound of cow bells. I only wish I could have stayed longer.

This was the view from my chalet:

My reason for going was not the beautiful scenery though, I was there to attend a workshop with Yvonne Habbe. What a workshop it was too! My head is still spinning with incredible ideas that her methods have revealed.

Initially we were set the task of making a perfect sphere, these are some of our efforts:

The title of the workshop was “Seedpods” and was focussed on creating 3D forms, here are some examples of her work that sparked my desire to attend this workshop:

Amazing aren’t they?

It was a slightly unusual workshop in that we really only spent a couple of hours over the 3 days watching Yvonne demonstrate her techniques, the rest of the time was spent exploring. I am so grateful for finding myself surrounded by such a fantastic group of students, with everyone enthusiastic to share their discoveries at the end of each day. It was revealing to see all the different approaches that we took. Here are a few of our collective works:

And these are a few of my favourite pieces that I created:

The next step is to dye some of these pieces but I will save that post for another day. 🙂

These pieces are primarily sculptures but I also have a few ideas for some unusual bags that I am itching to try out…. watch this space!

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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?

Machine Embroidery

The past couple of weeks I have have been fighting an infection and been feeling pretty grotty. All my great plans for felting over the long Easter weekend went completely out the window. After 2 days of napping and watching telly I was bored and needed something to do but didn’t think I could stand up for the lengthy periods that felting requires.

I came across this stunning photo of “Aisa” by Ebru Sidar on Deviant Art several months ago and thought it was so beautiful I saved the link.

This was my inspiration for some machine embroidery.

Here it is after the initial outline sketch:

And the finished and framed piece, it was really tricky trying to get a good photo without reflections in the glass.

A close-up of the stitching

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