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Poppies – two felt ‘paintings’

With only 2 sleeps to go to the Art Exhibition at Beerwah Community Hall, my dining area and kitchen look as if there’s been an invasion of the Arty Crafty Brigade!

Not sure that I had enough to display at the exhibition, and spotting a couple of 30x30cm deep canvases locally, then finding some lovely mottled dark grey/black quilting material, I had an idea to make a couple of poppy felt art works.  I have been inspired by stunning poppies on felt dresses by Oprisan Alina who makes beautiful vibrant and incredible works.  Rather than copy what she was doing, which I do not like to do, I took my love of the vibrancy and delicateness of poppies and translated them into my own design.

As you know if you’ve been following my blog, when I do a felt painting, I usually make the whole thing out of wool. However, as I had found the background already, I decided to make the poppies as separate items and stick them to the covered canvases.  Thankfully my handyman neighbour had an industrial staple gun so helped me with the covering.

I won’t even go into my drama on Saturday when I spent five hours felting one of the poppies with some ‘merino wool’ from Spotlight (bought on the spur of the moment in case I didn’t have enough red wool) that is apparently good for needle and wet felting.  After turning the kitchen blue with my swearing and trying all the felting tricks in the book I eventually gave in to the fact that what I was trying to felt may have looked like and felt like red wool rovings must actually be synthetic.

It was originally going to be four petals, two behind separated by a resist.  However, after the felting farce, I got my big sharp scissors and cut the back two off.  These were made solely out of the Spotlight ‘wool’, whereas the top two petals had a large quantity of my other real wool rovings that had been hand dyed in different shades of red, so they had pretty much felted how I wanted them.

Non-felting 'merino' wool from back two petals with finished 2-petal poppy using my wool

Non-felting ‘merino’ wool from back two petals with finished 2-petal poppy using my wool

Leaves and petals all contain high amounts of silk tops and hankies and I liked how they turned out. The second lot of poppies had one flat and one side on flower that opened to see inside.  I sewed in some nice black beads for detail and worked on the layout.

For the buds I used a thicker felt and then fluffed out the felt with a needle to give the fuzzy effect that real buds have.  Actually it was only after researching a good poppy photo, that I discovered how many different varieties of poppy there are, all with different stamen arrangements.

I have finished sticking it all down with good quality fabric glue and have just taken some pics.  Here they are.  Now I’ve got to find some wire and get them ready to hang.

Diptyche of poppies.  Wet felted with beading.

Diptyche of poppies. Wet felted with beading.

Detail of beading inside the smaller poppy.

Detail of beading inside the smaller poppy.

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More felt in the library

Thanks to Beerwah Library, I have some of my felted work in the display cabinet.  I originally left two shelves empty for other artists from the Glasshouse Country Arts Trail to exhibit.  As only one was needed, I went over to the library yesterday and filled up the bottom shelf as well as topping up the original case display.

Here are photos of it now from the front and back of the case.

Display of felt in the library glass cabinet from inside the library

Display of felt in the library glass cabinet from inside the library

Display of felt at the library, taken from the front.

Display of felt at the library, taken from the front.

I am very grateful of the opportunity to show my work at the library, it is a great service they provide and it is always a treat to see other people’s’ displays both in the glass cabinet and on the walls.

Creative shopping

When I was in Aldi the other day, I found a couple of pasta drying racks, that look like mug holders with longer, thinner wooden hanging posts.  I bought two of them and have used one of them here to display a few of my summer scarves.  It allows you to see how transparent they are, where the tissue silk has not been felted.

Black jewellery holder

Black jewellery holder

I also bought a tree-shaped stand that looks like it is for jewellery.  It was a christmas red, but I sprayed it yesterday with some matt black.

I’ll use it in my market stall to hang some of my felt jewellery off.

Don’t you love it when you find things that you can re-use in a different way to how they were intended?  Creative shopping at its best lol.

Felting workshops for kids over the holidays

While I was at the library I was approached by on of the coordinators who asked if I would like to run some felting workshops for kids over the Christmas holidays.  Of course I said a big fat “Yes!”.  So now I’m working on a couple of ideas to present for the library to choose from.

This will also be something I can use at other events, where simple felting experience workshops can be presented.

Meditation idea for felt mobile

In the meantime, when I was meditating the other day, I had an image pop into my head of an idea for a felt mobile, that I’m going to experiment with this weekend.  When its completed, I’ll post a pic of it.

Felt making and Arts Trail

This weekend has been very eventful!

Arts Trail – Open Studio

The Glasshouse Country Arts Trail has an open studio few days coinciding with school holidays – from Saturday just gone until Wednesday.

As last time I was fortunate enough to be able to share Sandra Price’s studio which is in her home on the main tourist route from Glasshouse Township to Beerwah.  It was a very pleasant weekend and we actually spent Saturday making conversation more than making art as it has been such a long time since we saw each other.  But it was very rewarding as conversation flowed with cups of tea and a tad too much chocolate…

I managed to complete my rose as a brooch by stitching the clasp onto the back, so it is now more than a pretty felt flower, but can be worn as well.

Sunday was more productive for both of us. Sandra worked on her elephant painting which was a development fascinating to watch as she brought beautiful Mma Tembo to life using a monchrome palette.  I am eager to see it finished.

While Sandy painted, I felted.  Because I was feeling quite tired this weekend, I couldn’t face a large project that would require lots of physical work, so I made two smaller pieces.

Miniature country scene

The first was a little country scene that I was going to use as an insert for one of those pre-made cards that has a frame cut into the front so you can put a painting behind.  I went a bit made with the wool layout though and the whole painting turned out too large for the card.  As luck would have it, Sandy happened to have the perfectly sized embroidery hoop which she suggested as a frame, so I attached the ‘painting’ to some cotton fabric and stretched it into the hoop.  Some of the corners sit just over the edge of the hoop but I rather like the effect.

Country scene 'round' felt painting 15cm

Country scene ’round’ felt painting 15cm

I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how this turned out.  Sandra really liked it too.  I will definitely make more of these.

Blue glass vase cover

The other smallish project I gave myself was covering the second of two tall slender glass vases I bought the other day.  If you read my recent post, you’ll have seen the first one which I covered in cream/orange.

This time I wanted to experiment with a completely different look.  I went for a covering in totally different colours, and laid in such a way that a lot of the glass would show through.

Colour palette of merino wool

Colour palette of merino wool

I chose dark blue, turquoise, lime green and cream as my palette.

I also used blobs of silk noile for details, and some ever gorgeous and lustrous silk tops.

Blue vase silk used

Silk noile and tops

 

The resist for this pattern was the same as for the last vase, as I knew it would give me a perfect fit.

I’ve never made anything 3D that is open weave before, so this was guess work, but I’ve got a couple of pics of the layout front and back, that I’ll show you.

As you can see, I’ve arranged the wool in such a way that it snakes up the vase.  I had no idea if this would work, or if it would end up all crumpled down the bottom of the vase like some old woman’s stocking, but I couldn’t resist giving it a go!

Here are the layouts, front and back:

Blue vase layout - front

Blue vase layout – front

Blue vase layout - back

Blue vase layout – back

As you can see, I made the base fairly solid, and also had a rim at the top, with the rest of the wool winding around the resist.  I varied the pattern using silk noile and silk tops.

As it wasn’t a large piece, it didn’t take a lot of work, but I was glad that it shrank to a size that it perfectly fits the vase.

Here is the finished result:

 

So while I made only two small pieces over the weekend, both were new territory for me, and it’s always good to stretch your creative boundaries!

 

Aside

Arts Trail and Library Exhibits!

I’m a bit excited and also a bit spread out in Beerwah this week!

The latest Glasshouse Country Arts Trail is on to coincide with the school holidays and I am exhibiting with fellow Arts Trail member, Sandra Price at her studio this weekend until Wednesday.

At the same time, I am displaying some of my felt at the local library for a couple of weeks in the glass cabinets at the front of the library.  I will also have my Mt. Coonowrin wall hanging displayed there, as an example of the variety of uses of wet felting.

If you aren’t in the area but would like to visit the library, the address is:

Beerwah Library, 25 Peachester Road, Beerwah Qld 4519. Phone for opening hours: 1300 542 727

I must say, it’s heart warming to have these opportunities of sharing what I love with my local community.

 

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?

Our first open studios has arrived – this weekend: 22nd/23rd June!

Here’s some more information on the Open Studios for our Glasshouse Country Arts Trail, which opens this weekend.  I’ve included a link to the blog page below for those interested. 🙂

As a member of this trail, I will have my felt art available for show.  From next weekend (it runs over four weekends), I will be giving demonstrations on how to make art at the studio.

Our first open studios has arrived – this weekend: 22nd/23rd June!.

 

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