Cushion two

I know I promised this a couple of days ago but I seem to be stuck in a time warp where the days just speed past in a couple of hours. For this lovely deep purple colour I knew I wanted something serene and friendly to show the positive side of the sun and so this is what I produced.

The title is ‘Warmth of the sun’. It’s much larger than the other cushion being 26″ square with a 28″ cushion pad inside (don’t you just hate those floppy empty corners on cushions?)

The cut edge has been encased in felt and the fastening makes use of an old button. Again, the rug yarn was dyed at the same time as the blanket so is a perfect match.

I loved doing the curly bits on the end of each flame shape. It took a long time as after carding the fibres I needle felted them into position before wet felting. The blankets wouldn’t felt as I wished and you can therefore see through to the cushion pad beyond. I didn’t want any white to show so I made orange covers for each pad before inserting so that it ties in with the colours on the front.

My favourite shot. I had hoped to do some more creative photos but the cushions had to be delivered for the exhibition and the sky was dark with rain so these are the best I managed. Perhaps I’ll get more when the exhibition opens, I’ll let you know.

Cushion One

Ages ago, more than a year, I did a little bit of dyeing. I had a wool blanket which I boil washed 4 times but it wouldn’t felt so I cut it in half and tried again. With more room in the washer I thought perhaps that might help it to felt but all to no avail. However I decided to dye it as I’m sure I’d have a use for it. This gorgeous dyed blanket then sat in the cupboard for so long I thought I’d never get inspiration.

Thank goodness for exhibitions, they make you cast around for materials that can be used with your ideas and work within the theme.The theme is the dying of the sun, lots of use for reds, oranges and yellows. “They’d look perfect on turquoise and purple” I told myself. Judge for yourself.

Needle felted and then wet felted to make it more secure – it is a cushion after all. It’s envelope style which doesn’t always require any other fastening but on this occasion I felt it did. The other benefit of envelope style being it requires only 2 seams and no zips.

You can see I sealed the cut edge of the cushion by enclosing it in wool and wet felting it. The button is hand made from fimo and the yarn is some of the rug yarn which I rescued from a skip and dyed at the same time as the blanket so it’s a perfect match. It’s very simple but I’m pleased with this.

I surprised myself by how easy I found the drawing in needle felting, drawing is something I usually avoid but perhaps I shouldn’t. The title for this one is ‘Risen’. Tomorrow, the purple cushion.



This is a small piece that I made for next week’s exhibition.

The idea, in case it’s not obvious, was to show a phoenix rising from a dying fire. It’s a Merino wool wet felted background onto which I’ve needle felted and then lightly wet felted for a second time. I’m not one for drawing but the beauty of needle felting an item like this is the ability to remove anything which isn’t right, or that you don’t like and then have another go.I’ve really enjoyed treating them as fluid line drawings, maybe I’m finding a liking for needle felting after all!

Upcoming exhibition

I thought you might like to see one or two things which will be displayed at The Dying of the Sun exhibition next week. This first taster is from Mich and is titled “Sundown”

But these next ones show my favourite from Mich – Old Nick’s little helpers.

I love the creativity.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with Felt United the international day of felt.


Another project started

I seem to have got fire birds / Phoenix on the brain. If you read my earlier post you know that I’m creating a 3D model of a phoenix but this time I’ve decided to have a go at a felt line drawing. Both projects require needle felting techniques which wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t set off my repetitive strain injury. It just means that I have to work on them in stages rather than one go. Not that much of a hardship is it?

The background is a hand dyed wool blanket and this is my basic outline. There’s still quite a bit of work to do thickening and firming up lines plus adding details but you can see where I’m going with it. The original intention was to do a front on double winged bird but I discovered part way in that I’d placed it too near the edge of the fabric and had to turn it into a profile drawing instead.



It might not seem like I’m doing much feltmaking at the moment but there is work going on. I have a new workshop in the autumn which I’m trying to work out. I also have two exhibitions in October for which I need to create work. The first is for The Dying of the Sun based around the Felt United theme of flames and the second is Ilkley Art Trail.

I’ve begun carding fibres ready for work on The Dying of The Sun. So far, I haven’t decided what I’d like to do for Ilkley Art Trail but here, I’m not limited by a theme. So much choice. Under consideration is; work based solely on colour and work based on stylised trees. Could be a mixture of course but I find it easier to work on one exhibition at a time to help keep me focused and on track for delivering projects.


Flames are very much on my mind at the moment. This year, the theme for Felt United is flames and Tracy Markey and I are arranging an exhibition around flames and the sun to coincide with the day. So it’s no surprise that when I came across this remnant from a previous project in my cupboard, I immediately thought phoenix.

The basic bird shape is good but obviously the colouration is completely wrong for a phoneix. So my first move was to transform it with flame.

I find it much easier to concentrate on shape when I’m not distracted by colour or pattern. Now the bird is a uniform  colour I can see the changes I’d like to make to the shape with the most change being in the tail area. This is as far as I’ve got so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to see morre but I will show you as soon as I do it.

We have a website!

Tracy has been very busy and created a website for the exhibition. Please go and check it out. We’ve already had interest from a number of people including felt makers in America and Canada. As people confirm their involvement we hope to put a list of who is involved and where they’re from.

This whole idea was insired by Felt United and we really hope that lots of you will want to join in.

We’d also like people to submit teaser photos of their work in progress with a full photographic reveal in October. This is going to be good. Note to self – go make some felt

Exhibition opportunity

Some of you may have heard of Felt United and this year is the 4th anniversary of this international felt event. Good friend Tracy Markey and I decided we should do something to celebrate and so can offer you the opportunity to be involved with a felt exhibition in Perthshire in October.

The dying of the sun – a meditation on fire

To celebrate the fourth annual International Day of Felt, Tracy Markey and Angela Barrow invite you to participate in their exhibition to be held at The Barn Gallery, Perthshire.  The exhibition will run from 5th to 12th October 2012.

There are two opportunities available and you are welcome to submit work for one or both of them.

Main Exhibition:   Artwork can be 2D or 3D and must contain an element of felt.  However, mixed/multi media pieces are encouraged.  Artists can submit up to three pieces for consideration.  Please be as creative as you wish with your interpretation of the theme!

Collaborative piece:   With your help, we are going to create a huge fire inspired piece to form part of the exhibition. We are seeking pieces for inclusion … think flames; smoke; sparks; embers …  these will then be assembled in situ to create one large piece of work.

Your piece(s) can be any size, shape and combination of colours, as long as they are made from felt (other textiles can be included but should not be the main material).

To register your interest, and receive further details, please send me an email by Thursday 28th June 2012. 


Image taken from an original by Morgan Downie


Life after Felt United

Life does seem rather quiet now and yet I’m still very busy. I can only put the change down to a lack of gossiping with other felters about the felt trail we had in Ilkley. Maybe what I need is another felting challenge. First there was Bart, then the felt trail, what could I possibly do now to fill my already full time?

It’s a curious phenomenom that when an event is over you still don’t have any free time to get on with all those other good ideas you’ve been having. Why is that? Am I slowing down or is time speeding up? Maybe I should just stop pontificating and go bake a birthday cake for my daughter. It’s not felt, but at least it’ll be one more thing ticked off my ever increasing list of things to do.