a life of fibre

Potfest August 7th, 2017

On Saturday we visited Potfest in Penrith auction mart, 130 potters all in one place for my perusal. Well, obviously it wasn’t just for me but I liked to pretend. Actually it was really nice visiting a show where I wasn’t exhibiting, there was something other than wool and I had time to look around.

Ceramics definitely inspire some of my pots so I was happy to saunter round and be inspired whilst hubby and daughter made their own rounds.Here are a few of the pictures I took – enjoy

These lovely little birds are by Barbara Chadwick Ceramics. The patterns are created by naked Raku firing – naked I think because there’s no colour.

I like lacy pottery and was delighted by Snail Pottery (good name) with lace in all colours. It was this blue which really caught my attention although I could have chosen pink, green, turquoise, white….. Perhaps it was the wave like shapes on the top edge which sat so happily with the colour.

I just adore the colours in this raku fired pot by the Old Brewery Pottery in Keighley and was even more delghted to realise they’re local!

Sad to say I’m not enamoured of the shapes of these last two pots but I really really liked the decoration. They’re by Jose Maria Mariscal

These are mostly white and therefore a surprise that I think these were my favourites of the day, perhaps it’s all that white work I’ve been doing recently. There were subtle greens and yellows at the top but the camera has lost them. They were created by Gill of The Other Pottery.

It’s Art in the Pen at Skipton this coming weekend, I’m hoping to go so who knows what I’ll have to show you next week.

Hmm…. July 27th, 2017

I stopped working on this second white pot a week ago, it has a nuno lace interior and cut throughs to devore on the top. I can’t say I’m thrilled with the overall shape, it’s maybe a little bit flat for me, and it does have creases round the side.

The question I’m pondering and have been pondering for the last week, is whether to continue felting, reshape it and eradicate the creases or whether to sitch on it, as is, and make the creases a feature. It is all going to be about texture, perhaps it would be better to smooth it out and the texture be all about the stitching?

I thought perhaps you might have an opinion but you know what, this little chat has helped me enormously, I think I need to rework it! Even if I smother it with stitches I just don’t think I’m going to love the shape. Isn’t it funny how writing about it here has actually clarified it for me?  Thanks for chatting, I’ll go and make a start.

Dyeing to ….. July 14th, 2017

Dyeing to use this BFl fleece that I’ve been dyeing up but it’s destined for Adelaide Walker. 🙁

Textured white pot July 10th, 2017

Just a quick catch up to show you the white pot now it’s finished and dry.

Sadly I didn’t manage to get a picture of the textured interior and this one is definitely going to be stitched into so keep an eye out for the next post.

Work in progress July 3rd, 2017

After the success of the last pots I wanted to make more but this time I’ve chosen to work in white to tie in with my work for Metaphor. Metaphor is the textile group to which I belong and we’re currently focussing on white work.

The inside is a layer of lace with four fine layers of wool over it. Then I’ve put some devore on top, the resist as you see, then I covered the whole with two more layers of wool. I’ve used a mixture of BFL, Swaledale and Shetland.

Cutting it open seemed to take quite a while. What I should be left with is some circular islands with the textured devore between. I will be stitching into the pot and thought that would make an interesting base to begin with, although I’m not sure quite yet exactly what form the stitching will take. Perhaps I’ll decide after the next post when I hope to show you the dry pot.

 

Woodland pots 3 June 17th, 2017

You may remember these pots from an earlier post or two. This is part of the work I’ve created for the misummer night’s dream theme we were working to at Metaphor.

I was extremely pleased with them at the time but I did wonder whether or not to stitch into them. It seemed an impossible decision with opinion divided on the question. in the end I did the only sensible thing and walked away returning some time later to decide that actually I’d give it a go.

Once I’d started I couldn’t stop!

Do you love it? I do, it makes me so happy and my heart sing.

Just looking at them again now makes me want to do more.

I was worried about boring you so I haven’t even added all the 17 photos here but they are all in an album on my facebook page for those who’d care to take a look. Oh, go on then, just one more 🙂

 

Experimenting with oil based ink May 27th, 2017

Our local region of the IFA (International Feltmakers Association) is collaborating with Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills to produce a felt exhibition inspired by the mill or it’s contents. It’s a great place to visit with lots to see, I urge you to go and if it’s wool you like then next Saturday 3rd June is Leeds Wool Festival. 

As part of the industrial past of Leeds there are some printing presses and the conservators said they could use one of them to print onto our felt if desired and they proved it by running a test piece on commercially produced felt using oil based ink.

I was keen to see if we could print onto pre felt (part made felt) and fabric and then continue to felt. Would the print survive the felting process? would we still be able to read the words after or would they be too distorted? Taking along some prefelt and fabric to the mill the experiment began.

The picture below shoes print on pre felt prior to further felting

and after

The ink began to disappear almost as soon as I began working on the prefelt, by the end all you could see is these few faint dark marks and then only if you look hard enough. It’s probably because pre felt is very soft and airy and is anything but smooth to print upon. The fibres aren’t locked together properly and therefore there’s insufficient ‘surface’ for the ink to hold onto.

Next up was print onto silk chiffon which I doubled up and got two prints for the price of one.

On cotton muslin with freshly loaded type and then again without reloading the ink.

and on silk

I laid Merino fibres out, placed the fabrics on top and nuno felted in the usual way. Once the fibres were through the felt was subjected to very hot soapy water and lots of pounding and I’m very pleased with how it worked out.

In all instances you can see see and read the print, even on the cotton muslin which is now quite textured, I had feared they would be too distorted or the letters too squashed together to read but they worked out well. Even the faintest print on the silk chiffon

and the silk worked very well which you’d expect as it’s a smooth fabric.

Now to work out how this might fit in my final piece.

Catching up again May 17th, 2017

Have you missed me? I’ve missed being here but life has been a little full these past few weeks. For a start, we managed a whole week long holiday in Scotland and the weather gods were so kind to us. From six in the morning until nine at night it was blue skies and sunshine!! The thermals we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, the waterproofs we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, we even had times in just t-shirts as temperatures soared to 18 degrees. Mind you, it was a little on the breezy side but we didn’t mind that at all.

Don’t you wish you could bottle up your holiday and bring a little back? It was blue skies, blue sea, blue lochs, the higher hills still brown and the vivid yellow of full flowering gorse. If a child had painted the scene it would have looked something similar I’m sure, so bright and primary coloured as it was.

I don’t know about you but if I go on a beach I generally need to paddle and yes that does include January too. Scotland in April is pretty cold I have to say, the sea was like liquid ice and our feet quickly became bright red with the cold. Very refreshing.

After our screams had died away and we’d regained the use of our feet we went exploring and found the most magnificent rust.

Wouldn’t it have been marvellous to bring these home, better still I should just move there. We were there before the midges too so not a single bite between us. I won’t bore you with lots of holiday snaps but it was wonderful to have nothing that had to be done and nowhere that we had to be. Lunchtimes sitting in the sun with a drink, early morning walks before the wind got up and fantastic sunsets. Below is the view from our cottage as the sun began to go down.

And the one below is the sunset from the back of the cottage.

They’re not brilliant as they were taken on my phone but you get the idea, an all round fab holiday. I love Scotland even when it rains all week, which it did on a previous holiday, and would love to move there but I find the thought of the midges off putting as I do tend to be seen as a particularly tasty morsel by them and am pursued ruthlessly. Happily, holidays come round every year.

 

 

British wool book covers April 28th, 2017

Piles of Masham, Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland wool turned into five smashing book covers.

We included lace, natural and synthetic fabrics and dyed Teeswater curls onto the fibre. At the pre felt stage we stopped and stitched into it before continuing to felt.

In the photo above you can see the broken lines of navy stitch which were put in at the pre felt stage and have sunk into the background as opposed to the cross stitch which was done after felting was completed and which floats on the surface.

Again, the pale pink stitches done at the pre felt stage have become part of the background whilst the stitching added later stands proud. I love the layering and effects that can be achieved by stitching at two stages in the felting process.

Beautiful, hard wearing British wool note books. Another successful day 🙂

 

Whitework tree book cover April 7th, 2017

There are some things which you really really enjoy making and this book cover was one of them. Inspiration came from a magazine cover.

I began by stitching into some crystal organza to create a tree shape. The thread used was wool yarn and I used a split stitch.

The little twinkles in the shot above are not water droplets but small pieces of glitter on the fabric. I laid out two layers of Blue Faced Leicester wool, placed the fabric on top and then felted it together.

 

To embellish I chose a simple lazy daisy stitch in cream and white embroidery thread.

In addition to the stitch I added small glass beads for that extra twinkle and finished the edge with blanket stitch

I love using crystal organza as it adds so much texture to the finished felt and using white on white wool means you only see the texture and twinkle added, it hasn’t obscured anything. It’s amazing what a diference even simple stitch can make to the finish.

If you feel inspired to make your own book cover why not come along to my workshop on Thursday 27th April, it’s one of my favourite workshops to teach and a fun one to experience. You really don’t need to be brilliant at sewing as even running stitch is really effective when combined with the nuno felt.