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.
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. Here’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.
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.
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
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?