Textured white pot 2

You may remember this pot from a few weeks ago. I was very pleased with how it turned out and pondered on it for a while but I always knew I would stitch into it.

Round the rim is a mixture of pearl and crystal beads plus french knots in a range of white and cream shades.

Around the centre is a line of stem stitches with short lebgths dripping down from it. Above that is a mixture of beads and french knots as per the rim.

I’m absolutely delighted with the finished pot, I’m giddy with delight and I’m over the moon. Do you get that I like it? It was created with the intention of it being part of an exhibition with Metaphor Tetxile Group but I’m wondering whether to put it on sale at Trawden Artists and Makers event in October. On the other hand perhaps I really want to keep it, what to do?

Hidden texture workshop

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how this workshop went. A lovely group of ladies and the work! – just see for yourself.

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You can very clearly see the depth of texture achieved in this bag by Janice. This was the very first piece of felt she’d made and to tackle, 3D, texture and carding skills in her first time was brilliant. And she smiled thoughout

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Deborah kept her design simple but very striking, the sinuous curves are lovely. Each bag has an internal pocket followed by 2 layers of wool then the design work as we laid out the texture which would be hidden by 2 further layers of carded wool.

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I’m so disappointed that I don’t have a better photo of Jenis’  bag to show you but the black proved a little harder to photograph and the group was about to leave at this point. There are several horizontal layers of lines and raised mounds which were very effective. Instead of a long handle  Jeni cut a hand hold in at the end of felting. Mulberry silk fibres were also incorporated into the felt but they don’t show up in photos as the bag was still wet. Bet it looks even better now

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Sue was ambitious with her design and there was a point when I thought she’d be finishing it at home but it was completed in the time we had. It has quite a celtic feel about it, I wonder if it’s the colour  contributing to that?  This is the only bag without a handle as Sue was considering using a metal chained handle as a contrast to the wool.

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I have more workshops coming up and am looking forward to the lacy cobweb felt scarf workshop a week on Sunday 5th october. It’s at the festival Hall in Gisburn which is a lovely light space to work in. I hope to see some of you there.

4,3,4,3,2

I was really looking forward to the nuno vase workshop this week. It was fully booked with 4 people due to turn up then one had to drop out meaning there’d be only 3. Never mind, I readvertised it and within a couple of hours was back up to 4 again. Then the night before I had an email to say that migraine (hideous things that they are) would be keeping one person away so we were back to 3.

On the morning of the class someone else had car trouble so now we were only 2. At ten past ten I thought it was going to be just me and Fran but, after a rather slow and painful journey, Ruth joined us. It was at this point that I realised my trip to the supermarket to buy milk had been entirely wasted as it was the one thing I’d returned without!  Thank goodness for a very obliging husband who procured the necessary for us.

We were experimenting with fabrics felted into wool but in 3D form. The first pot/vase below is from Fran and was formed around a jam jar.

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I love using jam jars, bottles or old vases to form the shape as it means I have the opportunity when it’s finished to actually use the vase for flowers. Fran’s colour choice was absolutely lovely and I especially wanted to show you this side of the pot where you can see how the red ribbon has formed a zig zag during felting.  The bright pink dashes are from a white crystal organza fabric that had various coloured dashes on it. As the white fabric is against white wool it’s mainly the pink dashes that stand out. There were quite a few pieces of organza on this pot some of which overkapped and meant it shone beautifully in the sun.

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Here’s the other side of the pot. You can see the white fabric quite clearly against the red wool but the ribbon blends in far more this time.

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This richly coloured pot is by Ruth, her first ever 3D piece by the way. There are variegated rovings, nepps and parts of an old scarf. When felting it’s not unusual for something to not go, or turn out as you expected. This time it was the fabric used, one thread in the scarf lost colour during felting which meant lots of dirty looking water about and slightly stained hands for Ruth. Fortuntaley it hasn’t  affected the final glorious vase.

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Whilst we were at it we thought we might as well use a bit of decoration on the inside too. Ruth used more scarf and roving  and Fran choose to experiment with cotton muslin on the inside of hers. This extremely cheerful pot below has been free formed by Fran who, I believe, thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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Multi coloured roving and parts of a different old scarf. The yellow wool really makes the other colours sing. One of the learning experiences for the day was how different fabrics give different textures and how different coloured wools affect the colour of the fabric during felting. Ruth brought an old vase to re-cover for her second piece and we painstakingly made a resist and Ruth blended up some pretty greens with the carders. Due to the falability of the tutor, yours truly, an error was made with the resist and the experiment didn’t work. Ruth was very generous spirited about it and we had a good laugh but not before I’d had a slight sense of humour failure. Thank you Ruth and Fran for making me laugh at ‘Rabbit ears’.

 

 

 

Phoenix

As usual, I thought I should take photos of this as it went along. As usual, I failed. However here is a picture from when this bird was fist made.

It’s one of the test pieces I made when doing a commission for the RSPB, it’s sat quietly in the cupboard waiting for it’s day to shine. A Phoenix was an obvious thought for the upcoming exhibition so I dug it out, carded some fibres and set to work.

I covered the whole bird in flame colours. Made new pieces for the head and seven more for the tail. At which point I thought it was done except for that little niggle at the back of my mind.

I went back and needle felted a curly gold design all over and was finally satisfied. I knew I wanted to attach it to wood and spent a few happy minutes rummaging in the wood pile. Attaching it was somewhat problematic. In the end, I went for the simple approach and hot glued it in two places, it’s surprisingly stable.

I do enjoy 3D work.

 

First workshop of the Autumn

Life just seems to be whizzing by. Holidays are over, my daughter is back at school and I held my first workshop yesterday. It must have been  good  because my husband complained about all the noise and laughter!

What a motley crew they are but so adorable with it. It’s hard to believe that we all began with 5 basic sausage shapes, yet ended up with very different animals/ creatures/dolls.

I do wish we’d managed to name them as this debonair offering from Jane deserves a name I feel. The bow tie was an inspired addition.

I’m not sure at what point the idea of an elephant presented itself to Jeanette but there was no stopping her once it had. You may have noticed that it’s smaller than some and this is because Jeanette worked until the felt was very firm and hence smaller. There are even muscle details on the haunches.

This appealing winged creature is by Tricia. One of the original ideas was to give it over sized ears but Tricia wasn’t happy with them until she realised they’d make great wings instead – a happy chance.

This figure by Barbara went though the great change in it’s creation. Early on, it was definitely a male creature and as you see now is definitely a female doll. Barbara’s love of all things pretty meant she wasn’t happy until it underwent a complete change.

This is by Shiona and is very cute.  I especially like tthe friendly face, heart on his leg and the love banner.

We worked with a number of fibres during the day trying out; Merino, English 56s, Black Welsh Mountain, Jacob and Norwegian with most people  choosing to work in either Norwegian or Jacob. It’s a workshop that creates lots of laughter as we marvel at the transformation of wool into characters some of it not intended but always interesting. Roll on the next one.

 

Flames

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.

First workshop of the year

Every time I run a workshop it’s fun and today was no exception. Good company, lots of laughs and some quite fabulous pieces of felt. So far this winter we’ve had very little snow, so why oh why did it have to snow today? Here’s a lovely winter scene from the village hall.

Isn’t it adorable. It’s not quite as out of focus as you think, it had started to snow. But enough of the weather, here’s a few of those bags you were all waiting to see – I did say it was a bag workshop did I?

This lovely bag was made by Jeni and has a pocket on the inside. I changed the workshop slightly today and brought Blue Faced Leicester fibres for people to use in oatmeal and black. It’s a brilliant British fibre and well worth trying for yourself.

In order, we have loveliness from Lindsay, Angela and Elaine. All handles and catches are felted in, the flashes of colour are provided by Merino fibres and Elaine’s bag also has vegetable bags included. A nice bit of recycling.

The top bag is by Cera with an all over spot decoration and internal pocket. The bottom bag is by Pauline and has Merino fibres and Wensleydale curls.

Top bag by Pauline, her first ever piece of felt, pretty good it is too, lovely solid felt. Bottom left is by Karen another first time felter who did a great job, you’d never have guessed it was her first piece. Bottom right is understated gorgeousness by Sue and it has 2 internal pockets. We tried really hard to finish early but what is this, a lone felter?

Yes, I’m sorry to say Lesley was naughty and had to stay behind. No, not really, this is what you call dedication and perseverance when all around you have left.

It was worth the work though wasn’t it and when the Wensleydale curls dry they’ll look even fluffier, what a fab bag. Thank you ladies for a great day and I hope everyone got home okay. Do please send photos when they’re dry and you’ve added buttons.

Remember this?

In May I showed you this little blue pot

I’d been playing around with the shape and couldn’t decide what to do. Some of you were kind enough to respond with suggestions and Kate suggested putting beach glass in the holes. It’s taken me a while to find the time but here it is.

I decided to put the beach glass on the outside rather than in the holes and I like the finished piece. The brown beach glass looks good and I’m so pleased to have found a use for some of it as I seem incapable of not collecting it.

I was chuffed to find a thread that matched and it does look good on the gravel. Thanks Kate.

Blush

There’s not been a lot about felting in the last week or so and there is a good reason for that, it’s called life. I’m sure some of you will be familiar with it. You get up, your day is planned and it starts to fall apart almost immediately and never recovers that day, or the next. But at last I can show you a piece of felt which I made two weeks ago and have finally found opportunity to photograph.

This is all part of my move towards working more with British wool fibres. The inner two layers of the vessel are hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester and the outer two layers are Wensleydale. Wensleydale is a gorgeous rich cream colour, long staple and a great lustre. As a coarser wool it’s slower to felt than some but I actually like the texture of some of these wools and combining them with easier to felt fibres like Blue Faced Leicester really helps to speed it up.

The eagle eyed amongst you may also have spotted that I’ve added an extra fibre to the outside, it’s milk protein fibre which adds more lustre. Wish I’d put a little more on really but it looks better in the flesh than on the photo.

I’m not overly fond of the pink fibres I dyed but they do work very well to give a bright splash of colour to the interior and it contrasts well with the subtle blush colour seen from the outside. As the fibres have felted the bright pink has shown through the Wensleydale to give subtle colouration. I designed it with flowers for the exterior and I wanted those to be subtle too and not have bright pink showing.

I made a Blue Faced Leicester sandwich pre-felt i.e. Wensleydale fibres, then Blue Faced Leicester, then more Wensleydale and some milk protein. It’s given me the same colour in the flowers and I’m very pleased with them. I hand stitched the flowers on after felting and there are baby pink seed beads in the centres.

3D British Wool Weekend

As people are so enjoying discovering our native  British wool I’ve decided to add a whole weekend devoted just to this purpose Saturday/Sunday 1st-2nd October. You’ll be able to book either day or book both for total immersion in this smorgasbord of fibre fun. There’ll be over fifteen varieties of wool tops and some raw fleece to choose from. You can work either in a single breed at a time or mix it up and see what effects / colours you can create.

I’ve decided to focus on 3D but that still gives scope for quite a few different things to be made. Try your hand at a pot moulded on a vase / bottle or freeform it just like working clay!  Bring along your own 3D item you’d like to cover – any shape can be covered once you know how. Make a handbag from British wool – many of our native  breeds make lovely hard wearing felt which is ideal for a bag or even perhaps a pair of slippers. Some breeds, like Cheviot, also needlefelt quite well.

If the felt is fine then it looks lovely lit up with a tea light or perhaps you’d like it thick and sturdy to cut into and reveal hidden layers? There’ll be chances to experiment with surface texture and fabulous lustrous plant fibres. If you work on small pieces I’d estimate that you’d make three items like the ones below made by Judith last week. If you’re super speedy, it could be four per day!

You bring a towel, packed lunch, olive oil soap and don’t forget a camera, I’ll supply some delicious British snacks. If you’ve a recipe for any British biscuit that would suit the occasion (we need energy for all this creativity) please let me know. Can’t wait to see you there, I’m so looking forward to it already.