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Posts tagged ‘accessories’

One Day Felting Workshop – for beginners

During the first Open Studio weekend I made a small piece of felt to demonstrate the wet felting technique for four lovely ladies who had come along to Sandra Price’s studio where I was fortunate enough to show my felt art alongside her beautiful and colourful artwork.

Last week, Sandy let me know that a couple of these ladies were interested in making a nuno felt scarf, so I surprised myself by being very proactive and organised a workshop for Saturday the 3rd of August.

I have all the information at my other website, including what you receive in your Funtastic Felt Pack which you use during the workshop and which you also get to take home so you are all set to make another piece of felt if you wish.

Places are very limited, so if you would like to come along, please visit the following link  and follow the prompts.  One Day Felting Workshop

If you can’t make the 3rd August but would love to learn to make a beautiful lightweight nuno felt scarf, contact me and I’ll put you into another workshop.

Alternatively, if you and 2 or 3 friends would like to learn to make a scarf on a different date, contact me and we can work out a day that suits everyone. 🙂

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Polymer and Felt jewellery

Spirals phone caseSince I discovered polymer clay to make a couple of buttons and beads for felting projects a while ago, it’s been calling to me quietly from my craft box.

I’ve been wanting to have another play with polymer clay and have been waiting for the right time and a touch of inspiration.

Like felting, polymer clay has got great potential in terms of colour mixing and versatility of design.

Last night after my friend left to go home to Brisbane, I took out my polymer clay in a selection of colours and a piece of maroon felt that I’ve been using lately to cover books with. I love the colours in that piece so much, I wanted to put it to more good use.

Taking three colours – red, purple and yellow, I blended the polymer clay in my hands, then rolled it out several times until I had a lovely marbelled effect.  I cut out a couple of different shapes, moulded one on a teapot lid to give a curve resembling an open shell, and rolled the other to create a semi-closed shell. To give definition to where I would place some felt on the open shell design, I cut out a thin strip which I stuck into a ring, making a little scroll that I stuck over the join.

Then I baked them.

I anticipated the end result with glee as I waited for the kitchen timer to ding so I could take the pieces out of the oven to cool.

Eventually they were cold enough to touch and I set about putting the pieces together, with some of the maroon hand made felt and a couple of freshwater pearls to give a focal point.

I realised at that point I need to be a tad more refined when I’m creating the initial shape, and if I want a smoother surface, I’m going to have to pay more attention to detail.  But you have to remember, this is only the second time I’ve made anything out of polymer clay, and while the finished products to a trained eye will most likely look fairly ‘rustic’, I regard this as a successful experiment.

To draw my critical eye from the slight imperfections on the surface, and not having any polymer gloss in my possession, I did what any self-respecting impatient artist would do and reached for a bottle of clear nail varnish.

Several coats later, I had a gloss finish to those babies that would give epoxy resin a run for its money.  The glossy surface really sets off the matt of the felt too.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my two pieces of polymer and felt jewellery.  It’s a definite outlet for more creativity, and a lovely way to mix media.

Here are some photos of the finished two necklaces.

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New felty things – but not scarves!

Here’s a quick catch up on my latest felt creations.

Green orange bowl I finished the little green/maroon bowl by adding the circle I’d cut out to make the hole of the bowl. I needle felted a piece of wine coloured chiffon with some silk rovings and finished it off with a few red and orange coral beads. The photo doesn’t do the colours justice really – the silk that looks blue in the photo is really a greeny grey and blends with the bowl’s colours.

After struggling to like the tall green vase, my son upturned it and stuck it on his head.

“It’s a hat.”

I reluctantly had to agree it is a hat.  I so wanted it to be a vase.

Donning the thing on my head, I had to admit it does look Dr Seussy, and pretty damn funtastic!

So hat it is.

Open Studio Weekend 2

Despite it being a wet wintry weekend, Sandra and I enjoyed another shared studio experience.  While I think the weather put a lot of people from coming out so we only had a handful of visitors over the two days, we were very creative.

Sandra’s painting

On Saturday Sandra worked on a calla lily:

Sandra’s Calla Lily

Yesterday, she painted two in a series of three intuitive paintings, plus several beautiful bright birds and trees on small canvases.  I love how Sandy can change style according to what she’s painting, so she has a variety of work that can be appreciated by many. Sandy drying her artHere’s Sandra drying one of her intuitive paintings.  Let’s face it, with the cool and damp weather, rather than sit around watching paint dry, you’ve gotta love technology and a handy hair dryer. Don’t you love the colours she’s using?

You can read more about Sandy’s painting at her blog: Hearts Landscapes.

Aannsha’s Felting

On Saturday I made a small ‘earthenware’ coloured round bowl about 13cm in diameter.  I used a muted pale blue with maroon wool and a splash of orange wool, then accentuated it with maroon sari silk threads and mulberry hand-dyed silk rovings. I then created a cobweb scarf using pale blue and pinks, a nice combination that I haven’t tried before. I was happy with how I laid out the wool rovings as the resulting scarf had a good structure that was semi-translucent and having small holes across the work which is a mark of cobweb felt.

Felt 'earthenware' vase and pinkblue scarf

My felt bowl and scarf in front of Sandra’s painting

The experimental vase that looks like an upturned hat!

On the Sunday I gave myself a large project, wanting to experiment with a vase/vessel using a flat resist. The two round bowls I’ve made so far have been made using a circular resist.

Vessel making is a new avenue for me in felting, so when I decided to make a taller vessel, more like a vase, I wasn’t sure how to start.  I went for a flat resist and threw myself into the project giving myself permission to like any outcome however outlandish, as this was an Experiment.  It was actually a very big project and in order for the ‘vase’ to be sturdy enough to support its own weight, I had to work it very hard.  So this baby took all day to create!

I started with bright green, followed by a muted, earthy blue and did four layers alternating these colours one for each layer.  When I got to the decorative layer I went mad with orange, lime green, maroon sari silk, brown alpaca and red/grey silk hankies. When I finished laying out the top layer, it looked like something the dog had thrown up on to be honest.  But I was out on a limb and determined to see it through.

Decorative top layer of vessel - aka dog's dinner

Decorative top layer of vessel – aka dog’s dinner

At first, it wanted to become a handbag and I struggled to go beyond a hesitant decision to stop at that point, knowing that a bag would be a good outcome.  But no.  I wanted a vase or a vessel of some kind and that was what I was determined to make. I worked on it some more until I had gone beyond the handbag stiffness, and knew at that point I was on the other side.  Where the vessel resided.

We stopped for lunch and had a salad.

Once more into the fray dear friend.

Occasionally I surfaced over the green brown thing it was becoming, to look enviously at Sandra who was producing beautiful work after beautiful work – she really is industrious!  I noticed that she too though was questioning her own colour choices and was surprised at how her own intuitive paintings were developing.

Eventually, when it was way past cup of tea time, we both stopped.  Sandra was all out of paintings, and I had finally mastered the beast!

The final result was totally different to what I’d pictured when I started, and certainly a world away from a handbag, but quirky though it is, I love it.  It’s a vessel that could be an upturned hat, as my son proved when I brought it home, but I reckon it works.

In my attempt to flatten the bottom and create an even oval base, I used a plastic bowl that was shorter than the vessel.  By the time I’d pushed the base into shape, I noticed I’d inadvertently pushed down the sides, creating deep wrinkles.  Wow, that was a great accidental serendipity!  I turned the top over by about four centimetres to  contrast the lovely lime inside with the now muted and gorgeous autumn shades of the outside.

Stepping back, I noticed the brown alpaca fleece fuzzing out in places, that adds interest. It stands about 20cm  tall and 18cm wide. Here are some pictures showing the process and finished vessel.

What would you use it for?

Did Sandy and I morph artistic styles? (Cue Twilight Zone music)

One thing Sandra and I noticed was that we’d both apparently switched colouring styles.  Most of my paintings and felt carry bold, warm colours, while usually Sandra’s work tends towards blues and pastel tones – well some, not all of her work.  This weekend though, I was favouring earthy colouring and using muddy browns and blues for the top layers of my work, while Sandra found herself painting in bright vibrant hues.

We’re both intuitive by nature and as we worked, both occasionally uttering, “Wow, this is an odd choice of colour for my work”, we also both came to a vague conclusion that we were possibly somehow ‘tapping into’ each others’ brains and morphing our artistic palettes!  There’s no proof of that of course, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. So, that was our weekend.  I am looking forward to next weekend when Open Studio weekend 3 gets underway.  What will we create next?

Technicolour Dream Felt Glasses Case!

I took the square of felt I made at the open studio on Sunday and turned it into the most beautiful Technicolour Dream Felt Glasses Case I’ve made ever!  Well, I think so.

Instead of folding it with two creases to make a traditional case shape with flap, the pattern of the material suggested more of an ice cream cone shape.

Using a multi-shaded cotton thread in greens and aquas, I used a running stitch to sew it together.  First of all I secured the inner fold with ‘invisible’ sewing – I love felt as it is very forgiving and you can hide stitches in the thickness and multi-colouring. I didn’t sew all the way to the top of the case, but left about 2.5cm open so you can see the inner fold as well.  I reinforced the top stitch a few times so it’s strong enough for wear and tear… off and on, in and out … I use my specs a lot!

I continued the running stitch to the top of the front flap, and finished it off as a spiral, bringing the stitching together with the circles theme of the silk and wool inlays.

Now I can’t wait to go out and show it off!  (What a poser!)

Conflicted but creative

I’ve had quite a time this weekend.   On the one hand, after seeing my business mentor I feel very conflicted, but on the other hand I’m feeling fulfilled at being creatively productive.

Here’s my dilemma

I’m in my fifties and I know that in order to have a better quality of life further on down the track and looking towards retirement age, I need to put into place some sensible strategies now in order to create more passive income later.  I like the internet and social media (can’t you tell from reading this blog?) and so am looking at using my website to sell more of my creations as well as e-books and e-courses.

In my past, I’ve produced guided relaxation cds and these sell well in a couple of reputable businesses in the city and have done for years, and I also have sound bytes on my current (old) website so people can listen to them and decide via the internet instead of going physically shopping.

Also in my past – although to be honest it seems more like a past life – I’ve run workshops (creative expression, relaxation, meditation) and love working with people and seeing a transformation through the process.

So long-term, creating internet-friendly books and courses to assist people to do this and also free themselves to be more creative, is a concept that sits well with me.

Trouble is, my conflict comes because I’m a bit of a short-term pleasure girl.

I also have a good excuse to continue this tendency:  I have markets coming up and I want to create more silk and felt jewellery, scarves and accessories to sell.  Not only for the money.  I just love making things.  But, I can’t do two things at once given my time constraints and fluffy personality that’s not as organised as I could be if I’m really honest with myself.  (I could do with one of those chaise long psychiatrist couches at this point).

If I don’t get these e-books etc completed I can’t put them on my website for sale and I haven’t advanced any further towards my long-term goals.

Do you ever find yourself conflicted with “should do” vs “creativity now”?

Anyway, this whole dilemma has left me feeling a tad irritated.

So, have I been working on completing my other e-things this fine dry Australian autumn weekend?

No.  And anyone who knows me would add: “of course not”.

This is what I’ve been doing since my meeting with my truly lovely and genuine mentor at the end of last week.  I got out my half-finished book –

and before we go any further, I know I can finish a book because I have a completed contemporary romance on Amazon Kindle and those people who have read it from there and my hard copy at home have said it’s a page turner! (For anyone interested, it’s here).

– and I sat down with my e-book paperwork folder, shuffled the paper around, wrote some ideas up on my whiteboard and loaded Kingston Office App on my phone. It’s a free app that I discovered that will enable me to use my smart phone as a word processor.

See, I’m a bit stubborn when I have to decide doing what I want and doing what I should.  Always have been.  But that’s a whole topic for another day lol.

The solution to my dilemma

The long and the short of it is that after a brief sojourn into my e-book, I have come to a solution of sorts.  What I’ve decided to do is spend the next couple of weeks making felt toward the Mother’s Day markets and when I get on the plane to the UK in the middle of May for a three week trip, I’ll use my flying time wisely and complete my e-book using my new Kingston Office App (which will save me from taking my laptop and which I’ve also linked to Dropbox which is also a free program that means I can transfer my files from my phone to my home pc).

Please Gawd help there not to be any good in-flight movies showing…

This weekend’s creativity

I’m happy after doing what I really wanted to do: hand-dying, sewing, cutting, beading, stringing and completing a couple of new accessories.  I’ve made more jewellery and dyed wool and silk and a lovely open weave scarf a friend brought me back from Thailand, and also tried my hand at covering a Galaxy phone case with a beautiful piece of blue/green felt.

I managed to spill a bowl of raspberry dye all over the kitchen counter top, but after a few expletives and a lot of  bleach (sorry environment), the kitchen actually looks a lot cleaner than it did before.

So yeah, I even got some housework done!

I won’t bore you any more with details, but will leave you with a gallery of various pics of this weekend’s handiwork.

(more…)

My soggy balls wouldn’t dry!

Before I share my story about my soggy balls, let me just go back to Sunday’s local craft market.  It turned out to be a lovely sunny day – amazing considering we’ve had weeks of rain and are all growing webbed feet!

I had the chance to display my new jewellery on a makeshift stand made up of a plastic stand covered with a piece of un-dyed pre-felt batting, which created a light background that framed the felt jewellery nicely.

After the previous market, I didn’t have a huge amount of stock left, so I brought a couple of my paintings for display at the other end of the table.

Stall at local market

Here is a close up of the jewellery which I think looks cute lined up in three columns of colour.

First display of jewellery

While I was at the market, I started another earrings and necklace set.  I had time to roll and stitch pieces of felt and later that afternoon, I added the beading to the earrings, plaited three colours of embroider’s cotton to make a necklace and finished the set.  I love the colour combination.

New blue felt necklace and earring set.

As you can see, I’ve put the necklace together slightly differently this time, with a loop of beading that I’ve attached to the main necklace with two jump rings.

So what about my soggy balls?

Well, as I said above, it’s been raining for gawd knows how long and things seem to take so long to dry.  I made a few little felt balls in cream and also blended amber shades, which will be the basis for some new jewellery.

Even though I made these balls two days ago, and put them to dry in the kitchen on an upturned sieve so they would get reasonable air circulation, when I came home from work today eager to get going on the next lot of jewellery, I couldn’t.  I was also concerned that if I left the balls to dry too much longer they’d end up getting that mildewy smell that damp towels get when they haven’t dried quickly. Yuk! I definitely didn’t want that!

After briefly considering using the hairdryer, I decided against that because it would take too long, so I went for an easier way.  I’d nuke ’em.

After three minutes in the microwave the little balls were dry and after a couple of minutes longer, the larger balls were light and perky.

If you’re going to do something like this, I’d recommend checking them regularly because you don’t want them to dry too soon and catch fire.  That could turn out nasty.

After that, I had to do some housework – the bane of every creative person’s life I reckon.  Or maybe just mine, lol, I don’t know.  So another day has been ‘wasted’.  Tomorrow though, after a couple of morning appointments, I get to play – to be creative.

Let’s see what my creative juices put together tomorrow.  For now though, I’ll leave you with a photo of my little balls when they were still wet.  Can you spot the one that’s going to be a little cube?

Little felt balls

My lounge is a mess, but I’ve made some great jewellery!

Lounge and studio

As you can see, my lounge has been transformed – no not trashed – into my crafting studio today.

I’ve had a great afternoon making more felt jewellery.  I really liked the turquoise wearable art set that I talked about yesterday, so I got all my bits and pieces out of the crafty kind and set about making some more wearable art sets.

I began with the green felt cuff and designed a necklace and set of earrings to match.  I’m new at making jewellery and am still taking my time to bend the wire carefully so the earrings match each other. This means the project is taking longer than I’d like, because I’ve got a craft market tomorrow and really want more pieces than I have left.  However, I was so pleased with how the green set turned out, I am glad I took my time.

Rushing something so I can see the finished result and start the next thing is a tendency of mine, but felting and creating generally is a great teacher of working methodically.  Especially if you’re making two of a kind like earrings, you can’t rush the job because you might well end up with two mis-matched earrings and that would be frustrating.

So, I was very patient and acted my age instead of my shoe size, taking my time and not forcing the birth of my new felt babies.

Here’s the green set, which I think goes very nicely with the green cuff/bracelet.

Green felt wearable art set

 

 

I then turned to the maroon cuff with a view to making a set with that.  The turquoise and green necklaces were made using pre-bought ribbon and thread pre-strung onto clasps.  I had to undo the clasps and thread the felt and beading onto them.  Easier said than done I’ll tell ya.  The felt roll was okay because it had a big central hole, as were the two large glass beads on either side.  But threading the smaller glass onto the green thread proved to be tricky.  Each time I tried to thread a tiny glass bead onto the thread, it frayed.

To fix this, I got some sticky tape and wound it round the end so some stuck out over the end, which I  cut into a point.  That pointy end acted like a needle and made it easier to thread the glass seed beads onto.

Then I just had to re-attached the clasp and hey presto!  One more necklace.

However, when it came to making the maroon necklace, I didn’t have a coloured ribbon/thread necklace as a base.  I used some tiger tail instead and threaded the whole thing on there.  However, I couldn’t leave the tiger tail exposed, so I threaded tiny glass seed beads all the way up to the clasp, which I added and fixed with crimps.

Considering this is a new creative avenue for me, I’m surprised at how easily I managed to put it together.  I’m hoping it’s not beginner’s luck.

Anyhow, here’s a pic of the finished maroon necklace.

Maroon felt necklace

When it came to making the maroon earrings, I wanted to try something a little different.  So I added a little dangly red bead at the bottom – a new technique which gave a cool finish – and I think looks lovely.  The addition of freshwater pearls to the necklace and earrings give a nice richness to them, and ties them in with the handmade button on the bracelet.

While the photos don’t really do the work justice, (it’s raining here and inside’s a bit dark) I think you can see them clearly enough.  Here are a few more photos, showing the maroon earrings and a few extra angles.

 

Set of felt jewellery / accessories

After making the three cuff/bracelets, I got all fired up to make some other, smaller felt items.Turquoise set

Loving the blend of blues in the turquoise felt cuff, I used the same piece of felt to cut out smaller pieces that I rolled up and stitched together with embroider’s cotton, then added glass seed beads.

The larger felt roll was turned into a necklace – I used a pre-bought turquoise necklace and also added extra blue beads that I kept in place with crimps.

The smaller felt rolls were teamed up with some lovely larger blue beads and turned into a pair of earrings.

This is my first ‘official’ set of jewellery/accessories but I am stoked at how they’ve turned out.  They really look pretty sitting together as a set.  I’m very inspired to make some more.

YouTube was a great help in working out how to actually put the jewellery pieces together to make something that looked wearable.

I’ll be busy again with some accessories and jewellery sets this Saturday, for Sunday’s local craft market.

 

OMG I love making stuff!

In Search of Happiness II

In Search of Happiness II – second in watercolour series

Since I made a commitment to myself recently to get more creative, I’ve been making at least one little thing each day.

Often at night I would just zone out in front of the TV, too tired to do anything but not quite ready to go to bed to sleep to wake up and do the treadmill all over again.

However as I said, I recently decided not to compromise myself any more.  Instead of slogging my guts out trying to make more money so I can relax and get more creative I had a bit of a Eureka moment where I realised I was doing life cart-before-the-horseish.

So for the last few days (yeah it was a very recent aha moment), I have been focusing on creativity first and trusting the moolah will roll in along the way anyway.  Sure, I’m still doing my regular part-time job.  I’m not stupid and not about to unrealistically step way out of my comfort zone to become a starving artist.

Instead, I’m opting for a daily dose of creativity.  Arting for art’s sake.  Because really, that’s much more aligned with my core self.  I’ve done the responsible thing for years at the expense of my own inner happiness and sometimes health.  Not any more.  Opening my eyes a bit more widely as I come through my mid-life transition is showing me very clearly that my soul – my creative essence – will create or I will suffer the consequences.

As they say, you can’t follow two masters.

So I’m balancing my life differently.  I guess on the outside people who know me wouldn’t think I was doing anything differently except being more productive in the creative department.  But I know.  Deep down, I know that I’m valuing myself more.  I’m prioritising my values better.  I’m listening to my inner ‘master’ – the one who knows me best.  My core self.  I’ve ignored it’s heart-yearning for too long and now I’m just going to follow my passion.

“Do what you love and the money will follow”

I so get that saying now.   Certainly in the “do what you love” sense.

I was starting to feel deep down to my core that my life was becoming a tad on the meaningless side.  Too many shades of grey were seeping across my multi-coloured inner texture.  How long can a soul suspend their true identity before they lose themselves?  I guess it depends on the soul.

All I know is that I reached a turning point recently.  One of those make your mind up moments of the make or break kind.

I realised I wanted to spend another fifty plus years having a more fulfilled and fun life than in my first fifty odd years.  But I had to make some real changes.

And so I have.

Now I get to play each day.  I play with colour.  I play with texture.  I create for the fun of it.  And I share it with you, here.

Now I have three cuffs – Green, Maroon, Blue. Blue, green and maroon cuff bracelets

To make each, I cut 4cm strips from pieces of felt I had made previously. The felt pieces are all made of Australian merino wool with silk rovings.  Then I hand embroidered them with glass beads and finished with hand-made buttons.  I made the maroon one last night.

Two of the buttons are of mother-of-pearl with glass beads added as I sewed them on. The red button was made by gluing red glass beads and a freshwater pearl to a larger button. Button holes and edging are blanket stitched in embroider’s cotton.

Maroon cuff stripHere’s the other side of the maroon cuff showing a lovely cushioned patch of black wool that I made by twisting a thick piece of roving into a closed circle and adding before felting. The red heart-shaped bead was sewn on when dry.

Wall hanging on CoonowrinHere’s my wall hanging in my consultation room. This morning I decided that I’d rather see it hanging up than lying on a bench gathering dust, or in a box having its ‘dharma’ (or reason of being) wasted.  I found a nice straight stick in my garden that I think adds to the rustic feel of the painting and threaded it through the tabs on the backing fabric.

Then I hung it from a hook using green dimensional wool.

I took the photos at night, so the colours aren’t accurate; the lime green wall looks more like avocado in this pic!

 

Time to be creative!

After I did that, I re-organised my felt pieces and realise how little I’ve got left after last market.  I’ve certainly got a lot of creating to do before the next market.  What a good thing I’ve decided to create something each day!

Wall hanging in my consultation room

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