Sunday, April 20, 2014

Surface design - Week 1

Where Week 1 equals Week 3. That is to say the course is in its third week but I am merrily fininshing up the assignments from week one. I blame the initial delay on the fact that the tailend of snowboarding season coincided with week one. As to the other week. well ........ let's just join in a chorus of this song!

I took a 2 day workshop with the fabulous Fiona Duthie here in Nelson in 2012. The first day was Surface design & dying. The second day was more dying and a project. I loved that class but it was A Lot of surface design to fit into that first day. So I was excited to see this course offered online. I liked the notion that I could work at a snails my own pace and spend more time with each technique. I also opted to buy Fiona's fibre kit - despite the bulging stash in my studio. You can never have tooooo much fibre right?

Light application of silk fibre on merino roving.

Both fibres were in the kit. I got more than 50% shrinkage on this piece because I underweighed the fibre. It's a mere 5 gr compared to 8 - 10 in all the other pieces.

Full layer of silk on merino batt

The merino batt was rust short fibre merino from the kit. On top I used a space dyed silk top roving from my stash.

The effect came out quite well but I lost the sheen of the silk. I use room temperature water to felt so it wasn't about the heat. Maybe the soap I use is too harsh? Dr. Bonner's pure castile soap. Organic and rose scented. My hands and my senses love this stuff but maybe the silk not so much?



Full layer of mohair on merino batt

Both fibres were in the kit. The mohair retained it lovely sheen as well as the crimp. The hand of this piece is very soft and pliable.


Exotic fibres on Merino

The background fibre is pink merino roving(kit). On top we have white Yak fibre (kit) dark brown Qiviuk and light brown baby Camel (both from my stash.

The Qiviuk btw cost $14.50 for .01 of a gram. You read that right, point zero one of a gram compared to about $12 for 28 grams of baby Camel fibre.

I would have prefered sharper edges but overall I like the effect. The softness of the camel fibre is amazing.



The next exercise was shadowing. I made three samples in the end.

In this first one all the fibres were from the kit. The B&W are coarser fibres, Icelandic I believe. The coloured fibres were all fine merino rovings. The black fibre came through the front so strongly that until I shaved the piece you could barely see the colours. The white also came through but the effect is much more muted.


I decided to make another piece using the circle design from the exotic fibre exercise to see if I could obtain a sample that would really showcase the light and dark from behind effect.





So here we have the second try at shadowing. All the fibres were in the kit but this time I used grey on the shadow side as well.

Because I hadn't liked the rough edges of this pattern on the exotic fibres piece I chose to first needle the backing fibres to water soluble stabilizer. This is a favourite technique of mine for controlling fibre migration. In addition to creating a bit of a prefelt, the stabilizer has a momentary gluing effect just before it disolves entirely. For this reason I placed the needled piece stabilizer side up before adding the rust merino batt.


I like the result a lot as a visual but still felt that the shadowing effect was not featured as I would like. The black is again predominant with the grey barely making an entrance.

So being behind already I decided to carry on working with the shadow technique.

'Cuz late is late right?




So this time rather use the stabilizer I decided to just make needled prefelt from the black, white and grey and then cut out my shapes with scissors. I am lucky to own a felt-o-matic so this is another techniqe I often employ to control fibre migration.

As you can see from the reverse this should have worked out great.


On the front though the black migrated in some very unexpected ways giving a muddy disjointed circle. The grey stripe made more of an impact and you do get the overall effect of light and dark better under this yellow merino.

At this point Fiona posted Week 3's schedule. And I realized I must move out of the land of shadows and on to the last 3 assignments of week 1!





This is nuno quilting. All of the fabrics (kit) were cotton with fairly tight weaves. The two yellow bits at the bottom were a bit recalcitrant but in the end they did felt in rather nicely.


The fine merino roving is very willing to move through fabric.






This a sample of fabric manipulaton. There are 2 weights of silk - they weren't labelled in the kit so I'm not sure of the mome.

This worked like a dream. Very fun.







The sample above worked so well and so easily that I threw caution and time to the wind and attempted rosettes. I watched the video through twice but could not catch the trick for pleating the fabric just so to acheive petals. I also felt that the centres needed reinforcment. I pulled some wisps of short fibre merino from colours in my stash for the centres. The silk for the flowers came from the kit but all the other silks were stash volunteers. Part way through I dispaired of every getting the flowers to stick but in the end we all managed even if we did look a bit ragged. Its hard to see in the photo but all the leaves used the pleating technnique from the previous sample - I just chose not to lift them up. At the bottom is 4 layers of various silk laid flat on top of each other. The merino pulled them in so tight they look like one sheet.

And last -- though certainly not least - we have the fabric transfer piece. Which, sadly, I'm not very happy with. Irony, you are my shadow.

I've had to stop at the prefelt stage. Some of the transfers, which don't shrink,, are just too large for the amount of shinking that has happened already. The photo of the person in a field under the rainbow is just losing it's power - Here's another piece begging to be redone.

The concept of the piece and the colours are just what I wanted. The background was a piece of prefelt I dyed with Fiona 2 years ago. I used some tonally resonant wisps of short fibre merino from my stash as stitching.



So there you have it. Week One Done!!


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Water babies abound!

Wow! We had a fabulous afternoon. I'll let the pictures speak fo rthemselves.






Happy felters


Below is the concept and samples I made for this workshop.


Felt united day at last!


My ball brausers and I are getting ready for a fun filled afternoon at the Nelson Women's Centre. Today we will wet felt our water themed pictures using my water soluble fusing technique to achieve control and clarity.

At our first workshop four weeks ago we faced the biggest hurdle....... A blank white paper! Ideas from textiles (ok. Laura's dress :-D) the interwebs, coloring books took shape in a small 7x7" square. We then blew those up 140% using a copier.

Two weeks ago we traced our enlarged designs onto the water soluble stabilizer and began needlefelting them.


Today we wet felt them. But here is a sneak preview of the first completed piece.

Bubbles by Marie

"It's Marie, from the felting workshop. I'm sending you the picture of my "piece of art". I wet felted it on my own, so I'm pretty sure it's not perfect at all, but I like it. Thank you again for teeching me, I will make plenty for my future children."

Can't wait to see what other scrumptious treats the day brings.

Roll on #Felt United!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Watch this space

I'm just heading out to the Nelson Women's Centre to do the first of three workshops leading up to Felt United on October 5. This years theme is water. Today is design day. Can't wait to see what emerges.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

It's A Peace Felt Day!

I was so fortunate to be paired with Patricia Knight as her giving partner in the Peace Felt exchange. Patricia is a highly skilled and very talented needlefelter. You should take the time to look at her work here and here.

I'm lucky enough to look at it here..... fitting to have this wonderful ethereal rose beneath theTree of Life.

עץ חיים היא



Saturday, September 22, 2012

My day yesterday (and a bit of today too)

On international Peace Day felters around the world take part in Marie Spaulding's PeaceFelt vision. We register. We each have a receiving partner and a giving partner. On International Peace Day we felt. And then we mail our own work off and wait for the postman to deliver someone else's.

Below is my offering for my receiving partner. Mostly completed on the day. Small snafu with the words disappearing - saved with embroidery.


Concept from my sketch book.

8 am Adjust and blow up the pattern




And here we are.


May Peace Rise Like The Sun.

שהשלום יזרח כשמש


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

René Makes My Day

I went in to Ludlow searching for a way to frame up the small piece I brought over for my Auntie Dot. I had with me the piece, a lovely bit of hand died boiled wool I bought in Calgary and just a vague idea of how I wanted it to look.

I couldn't spot a framer's so I popped into The Valentyne Dawes Gallery hoping that someone who sold art could direct me.


There we met René.



He loved my work. Soooo good for the ego! Next thing I knew there he was rooting through the shop's framing supplies.


My Auntie was thrilled!

And would he take proper payment. Heck as like! Barely let me cover the cost of the frame.


Made my day!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Class 3 Raises Their Teepee

This class of 9 & 10 year old kids raised their teepee in reverent silence.



What a privilege it was to work them.