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.
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
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)
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:
I’ve had a very productive day today, done some dyeing, tried my hand at fabric paper lamination (will cover these in another post) and made quite a bit of progress on “the Beach” too. I have laid out all the top for wet felting, I’m afraid I forgot to take a picture before wetting out but here it is before adding the silhouettes:
And after adding the silhouettes and wet felting to within an inch of it’s life…
It has to be a certain size (40 x 67 cm) to fit on the stretcher bars without losing any elements of the painting so I have been rolling this piece all afternoon, I even had help from Mr TB when my shoulders were too sore to carry on, but I think it is finally there. No more wet felting at least although I am planning some needle felting to help define the silhouettes better.