Over the Moon

Yesterday I hit a new milestone in my endevours to become a designer-maker, I made my first Etsy sale. I’ve sold a few pieces to friends and at a craft fair but this is my first foray into online selling. What surprised me most was that the lady in question didn’t buy just one piece, she took 4 pieces of my textile art, yes FOUR!

How’s that for a big pat on the back?!! I can’t think of a more sincere way to tell someone you like their work. I’m so happy I have been bouncing around like an excited child 🙂

She sounds like a really lovely lady and is planning to hang a couple of them in her wellness room (she practices holistic therapies), which sounds wonderful.  I hope they bring her serenity and peace.

These are the pictures she selected:

One Month Into 2104

Today is the 1st of February 2014 and this seems like a good point to take stock of the goals I set at the beginning of the year. As a reminder, here they are:

  1. dedicate more time to creative activities (I have already “bought” some extra annual leave at work that should allow me to spend 1 day every 2 weeks dedicated to felt making and other creative interests)
  2. create at least 50 good quality pieces for sale
  3. find alternative sources for selling my works, including at least 2 craft fairs and improve marketing of my work
  4. complete my City and Guilds felt making course before August
  5. post at least once per week


This is where I am today:

  1. I took 2 days leave during January and did manage to dedicate both days to being creative, my biggest worry was that I would just end up doing chores, but I was good and managed to have 2 very productive days, mostly working on my City and Guilds work.
  2. I was hoping to average at least 1 good, commercially viable piece per week, this isn’t quite going to plan but I do have 4 pieces that are very nearly finished and hope to share more on those either tomorrow or Monday (I have another day off to be creative on Monday).
  3. I have been really rubbish at this one, I haven’t even posted anything new on Etsy in January. In my defence I have identified a couple of local craft fairs that I plan to visit before deciding if they are worth booking a table at but I really do need to get my act together with Etsy.
  4. This is back on track, I was about a month behind after spending all of December in Hong Kong and New Zealand but having spent every spare moment in January on my course-work I am back on schedule. If I keep this up I might even finish early!
  5. I managed to post 11 times in Jan so I think I can give myself a big tick for that one 🙂

How are you getting on with your New Year’s goals / resolutions?

Goodies from New Zealand

New Zealand beaches, especially on the west coast, are magical places, often stormy and moody and covered in jewels from the sea. My father in law lives just a couple of miles from one such beach, it is covered in literally thousands of shells and piles of drift wood of all sizes washed up by the stormy rolling sea. While it is not the most comfortable beach to walk bare-foot along it is a beach-comber’s treasure trove.

Here are a few of the pieces I collected, most of the drift wood pieces are the thickness of a biro. I am thinking of incorporating all of the pieces below into felt but these are still very much half-baked ideas.
On our way back from a weekend in Napier we stopped at a Paua (pronounced pow-a) shop. Paua is the kiwi name for abalone, I’m told a delicious shell fish but it is the iridescent quality of the inside of the shell that I am interested in. The shell is commonly used in jewellery and decorative items, I think it has potential for inclusion in felt.
This is another find from the beach, at first I thought it was a shell (it has the texture and weight of shell) but it is smooth on one side and rough on the other as if the rough side was attached to a muscle while the smooth side is more hydrodynamic, I wonder if it sealed an opening on a large mollusc of some sort? Do you recognise it / have any idea what it is? It is approx. 4 cm across and the smooth side is slightly concave. Whatever it is I love the heart shape and radiating ridges on the rough side. I see it becoming a pendant or adornment on a bag.

Happy New Year!

Apologies for the lack of posts in December, I have been travelling in Hong Kong and New Zealand but I promise to post some kiwi and HK inspired work in the next few days.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year filled with creativity and to thank those whose blogs I follow for your generous sharing of techniques and ideas, you are truly inspirational.

I don’t subscribe to setting New Year’s resolutions, most seem to fail before we even reach February, but I do think it is important to follow your dreams and that usually involves setting some goals…

Here are my goals for 2014:

  • dedicate more time to creative activities (I have already “bought” some extra annual leave at work that should allow me to spend 1 day every 2 weeks dedicated to felt making and other creative interests)
  • create at least 50 good quality pieces for sale
  • find alternative sources for selling my works, including at least 2 craft fairs and improve marketing of my work
  • complete my City and Guilds felt making course before August
  • post at least once per week
What are your goals for 2014?
Happy New Year!

shibori dyeing adventures on felt

Having used shibori to dye cotton for felting the next obvious step for me is to try shibori on a sheet of prefelt. This time I thought I would try using elastic bands to create roughly circular resists.

This is what it looked like all tied up, I think it looks like a field full of snowmen, Mr TB countered that saying it looks like haemorrhoids :o)

Pickle inspecting my haemorrhoids ;o)
I love the pleating pattern on the reverse side – will have to remember this when I next want to add some patterned texture to a piece. 

Luckily I had the foresight to check if the bound felt would fit in my steamer – It didn’t! So one of the arms was cut off leaving me with a roughly square piece and an oblong piece.

I was striving to have the circles above the bands one colour and the base felt another colour. To do this I used my favourite rainbow dyeing technique that involves putting the felt in a zip-lock bag, squirting dye where I want it and massaging the felt to make the dye spread. This gives areas of different colour intensities and if more than one colour is used, colour blending.

Here is the dye added to the bulges above the rubber bands, you can see where I have started to massage the bulges in the lower left to disperse the dye:

On the reverse side I used red dye and massaged again to distribute the dye.

I used green and blue for the other piece, here is the green all massaged through before I added blue to the base.

After fixing in the steamer and rinsing:

I should probably confess… the lovely change in colour intensity in the red/yellow piece is due to a mistake. I forgot to add acid to the soaking water but did not realise until I was rinsing the piece and watching all the lovely colours disappear down the drain. I quickly soaked the piece in a sink full of water with half a cup of vinegar and it appears to have save the band in the middle.

 These are the pieces, front and back after the bands were removed. I find it surprising just how different the 2 sides are, especially on the green/blue piece

I also did a bit of rainbow dyeing on prefelt today, these are the results, I still haven’t decided how I will use them though:

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