Hand Eco Dyed Australian Merino and Silks.
I fancied a change today. No scarves today, I wanted to do something different. Something cute. Something small.
So I collected some pebbles from the garden and felted them in Christmas colours;
red with green silk,
white with red silk,
green with red silk,
white with purple silk,
purple with white silk and a touch of sparkly gold Angelina fibre.
I’ve also covered one pebble in dark blue with lighter blue silks and I think I will be embroidering a star on that one.
I think these will make lovely little stocking fillers, or Christmas table decorations.
Then I made a…
This is of an evening nature scene, 15x15cm which I will stick onto a canvas of the same size.
Here are a couple of pics of the layout and the picture itself. The first one is of the layout, mainly of merino wool, with some silk tops, a little Angelina fibre in the sky, some nepps as stars, some silk noile flowers and a little bit of silk sari for patterning in the foreground. The photo of the layout was taken in daylight and the one of the finished painting was taken in artificial light this evening, so there’s a bit of a difference with the hues.
Then, with time to spare, I got out my felting needle and a large button for sizing, and felted a little nature scene with a poppy in the front, which I stuck onto the button, after I’d attached a brooch clasp to the back. Here are a couple of photos of this. It is very cute, and only 4cm in diameter.
I thoroughly enjoyed making these different objects and I’ll make some more smaller, and different items, which I’ll be able to display for my customers at the two pre-Christmas markets that I’ll be attending.
Yesterday, along with the Poppy Scarf, I also made a couple more nuno felt scarves using a hand-dyed piece of chiffon that I cut into one thin and one wider strip. I was very industrious as I was working towards today’s Glasshouse Market stall, and the next few markets before Christmas.
Without going into the ins and outs of the whole production, here are some photos of the finished scarves.
I was fortunate enough to meet a textile artist the other day who told me where to source hemmed silk scarves in Australia.
I liked that idea because during our summer months the heat and humidity does make the wool on the edging of even my summer scarves a tad warm. Using hemmed scarves means I can still felt beautiful details and pictures onto the silk, but without ‘hemming’ with wool along the edges to prevent fraying, as I have done up until now.
Of course, I still love my tissue silk and will continue to purchase that as well, because the effect you can get on this lightweight material is gossamer fine. The hemmed silk scarves I have just obtained are slightly less open weave than the tissue silk, but when I opened the pack, I blew through one and knew that with a tad more rubbing, I could still felt it.
These scarves are gorgeous, with such a sheer lustre to them, I couldn’t wait to felt onto one.
This morning I set about another poppy scarf as I loved the effect of the original one I made recently. This one is a slightly different design but still uses fine merino wool as well as silk hankies and tops along with a little Angelina fibre to get that glow that brings light-catching properties to the matt of the wool.
Gawd, I love textile art!
I figured wispy merino would probably migrate more through the netting during felting than onto the scarf, so I used prefelt pieces ‘stuck’ down with merino rovings, and with the wool and silk details applied on top.
I was right about needing to work it harder, but I reckon the finished effect is well worth the effort. During the felting, some of the red dye from the hand-dyed wool transferred to the white silk scarf, giving it a delicate hint of palest red, which works very well with the bold reds, black and green of the poppies.
The finished scarf is gorgeous! It’s lightweight, sheer, lustrous and has a lovely tailored look with the hand hemmed edges and the felted poppies at each end have a painted effect that I love. I will definitely be felting the others in a similar way.
I reckon this will make someone a delightful Christmas present. It is one of a kind, and art in textile as well as sumptuous materials, sheer for Australian summer yet warm for winter – that’s the beauty of silk.
Today after planting out some herbs, fetching dog food, cooking a roast dinner, and testing some new chocolate moulds with cranberries in dark chocolates, I made another nuno felt scarf.
I really loved the poppy inspired scarf that I made for the art expo the other week, so I thought I would make another one only using a different flower for inspiration.
This time I went for an iris. Yesterday I hand dyed some silk tops and hankies in yummy turquoise, indigo and green so I had some additions for my network scarf (that I blogged about yesterday).
I had plenty of silk left, so I used this to embellish the iris on one end of the scarf, and used a couple of the silk hankies for ‘iris’ shapes on the other end.
Using the beautiful blues and greens silk rovings I added highlights to the borders and a few inlays along the scarf length on which I’d first laid fine cream 15 micron merino rovings.
This is the scarf half-felted:
And here’s the finished result, modelled beautifully by the lovely Jill. Thank you Jill.
Here’s a lovely lightweight scarf I have just made. I couldn’t leave the poppies until I had used the theme on at least one other item.
Changing my style slightly, although still keeping the scarf as fine as possible and using the wool mainly to ‘stick’ silk to silk, I laid one end of the scarf out showing a poppy field, and the other with three large poppy heads.
This will be on display over the weekend as well.
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.
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.
This is a quick post to show a couple of pics of a limited variety of my felting that is on display at Beerwah Library for two weeks.
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
It is lovely to have the opportunity to display my work locally. I am a member of the Glasshouse Country Arts Trail and we have several weeks available to display members’ works. Ilia Starkovsky is also displaying some of his photographic art, and Bronwyn Hill and/or Melanie Gray Augustin will also be bringing showing some of their work this fortnight.
This weekend has been very eventful!
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.
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.
I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how this turned out. Sandra really liked it too. I will definitely make more of these.
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.
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.
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:
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!
I like the tall, slender shape – 24 x 5cm – and the vase is made with glass thick enough not to break during the felting process.
This is the first attempt at covering a glass vase, so I was careful to work out the correct size for the resist, allowing for shrinkage. After measuring the height, depth and width of the vase, adding height and depth, and width and depth, then multiplying by 1.2, gave me a resist that was 12 x 34.8cm which I rounded up to 35cm.
I had a vision of natural cream at the top, with a stronger colour for the base and I wanted to add a pattern. For the pattern I chose some multicoloured yarn in oranges and green shades, and selected orange for the base colour.
The first phase included laying out the yarn on the resist, as I chose to make the vase inside out. I cut different lengths and arranged them on the resist hoping they would be so evenly spread out at the end, that it would be difficult to tell this was made on a flat resist. I then sprinkled a few wisps of mulberry silk tops to give added interest.
I layered three layers of merino wool at right angles to each other, wetted it with soapy water, rubbed through a small piece of net curtain that I laid on top of it and when it held together fairly well, I removed the net and flipped the whole thing. First of all I turned in the overhanging tops that I had laid about 2cm over the edges. This would create part of the invisible seam of the finished vase.
The flip side was a repeat of the first.
Turning over again, I repeated the process two more times with two more layers of rovings finely laid at right angles, but without needing to overlap these.
On the final layer I added a variegated orange/brown tops mix instead of orange so if anyone wants to peer down to the bottom of the vase, they can see ‘matching’ inside.
Rubbed, rolled, rubbed and rolled.
Cut off the top edge and removed resist.
Heated, threw, heated, mashed.
Began shaping, first over the end of a pool noodle, then as it shrank, over the actual vase.
Eventually it shrank to a size I was very happy with and fitted nice and snugly over the glass.
Rinse, second rinse in water with splash of vinegar. Spin dry. Reshape over vase.
Remove glass and hang out on the line to dry.
For a first at a covered vase, I am very happy with the effect.
Now I’m toying with making a similar felt covering only using blues and aquas to match a similar thread in a different colour range.
But perhaps I could stretch my creative boundaries and make a vase covering that allows more of the glass itself to show through.
More on that next time.
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Writings and Musings on Boat Life
Reflections, revelations and proposals esoteric: Themes to elucidate the depths of human potential.
Access: Transformational Energy, Guidance, Creativity, Life Purpose
A Journal of Observations
Life in West Marin seen through the eye of a needle
experiments in life, decorative felt, nuno, knit felt and mosaic
My dabbling and exploration in contact printing, natural dyeing, and soap making
murals, textiles, ceramics, screenprints, festivals, community
Fibre Art, Eco Printing, Natural Dyeing, Book Arts
I make therefore I am.
my move to countryside and planning a crafts business
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