a life of fibre

Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Book Review

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Andrea Hunter is a well known felt maker who specialises in felt paintings which owe much to fine art techniques. For those interested in picture making Andrea has written a book ‘Creating Felt Pictures’

If you’re looking for a book that teaches lots of felt making techniques then I’ll state right now, this isn’t the book for you. It is very specifically aimed at those  interested in felt pictures and not other forms of felt making.

However this is a great book for taking you through all the elements to consider with picture making. Andrea begins by extolling the virtues of collecting images through photographs and sketches before beginning work, how she sets up her workspace, what wools she uses and basic feltmaking skills.

There’s information on how to create lines with wool, setting out a basic structure for your picture, how Andrea uses pre-felt for definition and tips on persepective. It also covers; proportions, focal points, 3D illusion, balance and how to scale pictures up if you wish to work larger.

After the drawing elements above Andrea then covers painting with wool in which she discusses how to blend colours, different ways of layering fibres for effect and light and shadow.  If you had a bad experience with art as a child don’t let these terms frighten you. Andrea discusses them in a very clear way and walks through how they affect her work and what you need to consider, it’s all very straightforward. There’s even a section on hand dyeing and presenting work.

If you like creating felt pictures I’d recommend this book

New books

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

We spent a week in St.Ives at Easter and sallied forth into the bookshop at the Tate. Big mistake, unless book purchasing is how you like to spend your holiday money. When it comes to patterns I’m a sucker and so had to purchase Print and Pattern 2.

After all, when you have the first one it needs a second to keep it company. I find patterns so inspiring and love to see how other people use colour. If you’ve never taken a look at the website then I urge you to do so now, you won’t be sorry.

The next book I’d considered buying before but hadn’t actually seen a copy just descriptions of it.

As this is a book for inspiration rather than technical descriptions I wasn’t sure about it. Having seen it I decided to buy it. It’s very interesting to see how one artist translates skies into art. They’re based on sunsets, sunrises, storms and moonscapes. With each picture of the finished art is the photo of the sky that inspired it.

When I was studying feltmaking there was a student taking an in depth look at bricks and once you begin to really look at a subject it’s amazing how much there is to see. I would love to find the time to focus on one subject myself but not only is time short, I also have so many ideas of things I want to make jostling for space in my head that I’m not sure I want to restrict myself. Perhaps the notion that I’d be restricting myself is erroneous, perhaps it’d force me to be creative in a new way and give focus to my work. Hmm.

Fibre books

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

I have two fibre books and thought I would share my thoughts on each with you. Actually, I have three. When my Mum in law died I inherited a book on British breeds and their wools, published in the 1970s by the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB). It was very interesting and so I was pleased when I discovered that the BWMB had a new book available.

The book begins with background information on: the history of wool, role of the BWMB and classifications. Beginning with the breeds producing fine wool it works it’s way through each breed showing clear pictures of the sheep and the fleece. It gives brief information on origins, characteristics, location and main uses. It also covers: handle, colour, fleece weight, staple length and micron range.

I love this book, it’s so easy to use, very simply and dearly laid out. If you’re interested in using British wool, buy one now, you won’t regret it. If you’d like even more detailed information on the sheep you’ll find a quick search on the internet will usually bring up a sheep breeders society with a wealth of information and photos.

I’d also heard good things about the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook so decided to obtain a copy of this too.

Not only does it cover sheep but it has information on goats, alpacas, llamas, vicunas, camels, bison, musk oxen, yaks, dog, wolf, cat and rabbits. In all, it covers more than 200 fibres. It begins with background information, explanations of systems for measuring fibres, wool allergies and the marketplace.

It covers much the same information as the other book but has a more detail on breed backgrounds and uses for other sheep products e.g. cheese. This has been written by spinners and contains information on fleece preparation, dyeing, spinning and uses in knitting, crochet and weaving.  Not being felters, it doesn’t cover this aspect but is none the less very interesting. For each breed there is a picture of  raw wool, clean wool, spun wool and  woven wool.

This doesn’t only cover British sheep and has several breeds I’d never even heard of before. I’ve used a number of the other fibres but didn’t know a great deal about the animals and so have found this very useful.  I think it’s a great book but if I had to have only one, it’d be the first one. Perhaps I’ll change my mind if I begin spinning. Fortunately, I don’t have to choose 🙂




Book Review

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Today’s book is actually more of a booklet – The Felt Industry by Peter Walter

It’s an A5 booklet packed full of information on the felt industry. This is not a book for those looking for instruction on how to make felt or those looking for design inspiration. Rather, it’s a book for those interested in knowing a little more about where felt came from, how it was made – all the processes it goes through from fleece to fibre to cloth, where the mills were in the UK and some of the many products it’s been used for.

It’s not an in depth look but it’s jolly useful in explaining quite a lot about felt in a short space so definitely one I’ll be keeping. I’m sure people who come to my workshops and are new to felting will find it very interesting too.

Book Review

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

I’ve got quite a collection of felt making books and was thinking perhaps it would be useful for you and me to review them. Who knows perhaps I don’t need them all.

Todays book – Uniquely Felt by Christine White

If anyone asks me to recommend a book then this is the one which comes to mind. If you want only one then this is the one. Why? Well, because in each chapter it shows you a different technique with good photos and clear instructions. It also has featured artists and information on why fibres felt, equipment required and projects to try.

Downsides? – just one. This is an American book and there is a little confusion over terminology. In Britain we buy fibres in either batts or tops. In America a top is called a roving. In Britain a roving is tops which have been drafted into pencil thin continuous strands prior to twisting. So if you’re an American your basic fibres are bought in rovings and if you’re British your basic fibres are bought in tops. Got it?

I don’t think we have to make felt as others do, each to their own, but it’s really useful to know different ways of working and to figure out which works best for you. Am I keeping this book – you bet I am.