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:

The Beach – Wet felting

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.

The Beach – prefelts

After months of pondering, collecting images of sunsets and finally sketching ideas in watercolour I have finally started laying out the fibres for this painting. My new drum carder arrived last week so I have been itching to use it, this felt picture is the perfect foil for my new toy. 🙂

I have decided to tackle this picture as a mosaic of prefelts with inlay for the silhouettes and Kapiti Island. The mosaic technique should give a clean straight line for the horizon although I will actually use 3 strips for the background, the yellow one will be cut in half length-ways and stitched either side of the blue prefelt.

The prefelts were constructed from 2 layers of yellow or blue fibres followed by batts of mixed fibres from the drum carder.

Here is the roving all laid out ready to felt.

And the prefelts all stitched together.

Hopefully I will get to spend a few hours tomorrow adding wisps of roving to the base to bled the blue band and the lower half togeher and making the prefelts for the silhouettes.

Fourth Quarter Challenge

As some of you may know, the ladies of Felting and Fibre Studio post a felting challenge each quarter. For this quarter the challenge is to create something with an autumn theme. I am definitely inspired by the colours of the trees at the moment, just driving to work I want to say ooh and ahh at all the beautiful colours. I am so lucky to have a drive that takes me through deciduous woodlands and along tree lined roads.

I have to admit that I am not at all inspired by Zed’s suggestion that autumn evokes thoughts of damp and decay! Yuck!! I will stick to the lovely autumnal colours of the trees 🙂

Here is my autumn leaf-inspired shawl. It is constructed from rainbow dyed cotton scrim with a thin layer of merino top laid out in different colours with streaks of yellow bamboo fibre as an accent colour and to give some sheen. To this I added about 40 leaf shapes cut out of prefelt and embellished with yarns that I needle-felted to represent the veins on the leaves.

On the reverse I laid out a similar pattern of merino tops and bamboo fibre but without the leaves that took soooo long to cut out and needle-felt with their wool veins.

All of this was wet felted together and I love the result. The yellow bamboo has worked really well and adding a thin layer of wool to both sides of the cotton scrim gives it a lovely soft and warm feel while being thin enough to still drape beautifully.

Is it perverse of me to like the reverse side (without the leaves) better than the front?!!

Little Germs

Those of you from the UK may remember an NHS campaign during the last flu outbreak:

This got me thinking, what if I could make a tissue holder / dispenser in the form of a germ? I  know it’s silly but this idea of brightly coloured “germs” dispensing the tissues that will be their demise still amuses me :o)

Germs have a “bad rap” for being nasty but they’re not all bad and some of them can be funny too – take this little guy…

I decided to use a resist method to create my germ and decorate it with shapes cut from prefelts in contrasting colours. I ended up making 2 resists, one oblong, that will be just large enough to take a packet of tissues and the second the same as the first but with semi-circles on the ends to give it more of bacillus (a type of bacteria) shape.

Green seemed like the obvious choice of colour, after all snot is green… Red or purple for the spots? I had some scraps of red prefelt after cutting lots of leaf shapes for a shawl I have been working on, so red it was.

The smaller resist has definitely worked best, the second resist is more suited to a glasses case, it is just too long for a packet of tissues.

I might try adding appendages to the next one… perhaps a curly flagellum? or some spikes or bumps over the surface?

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