Little Devon Pot

I love having new fibres to play with, I’m trying quite hard to work with every British breed, if I can get my hands on it. These Devon fibres came my way three weeks ago and I was instantly struck by the lovely rich cream colour. It has a long staple and a wool count of 48-53. It has a tendency to move around a little during wet and set stage so just be a little more gentle and patient at this time. The result is beautiful.

I formed this one around a mould and it was destined to be a stand alone felt pot – the felt is sufficiently sturdy. However, when I stood back and looked again I really liked it with the vase left in.

Not sure that it looks so good on camera so you’ll just have to trust me when I say they seem right together and will stay that way. The surface is decorated with milk protein fibre which I’ll be using a lot more of as I think it has a lovely rich colour and lustre.  Obviously this can be used for fresh flowers but I also wanted to show it to you with a candle in so you can see how different it looks when lit up.

Little blue pot

At my last workshop I began a little pot as part of my demonstration on how to pull and lay out fibres. I’ve now finished it – I think! I seem to be going through a phase of not being totally happy with my items and yet not knowing what it is I want to change, perhaps if I live with it for a while first. Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think.

I quite liked it this way with the top rolled down but it wasn’t fully felted and was a little too organic for me although now I’m not so sure.

Very plain but I liked the fullness of the shape however, I decided to keep going.

Less plain with this shaping around the neck but I just couldn’t leave it alone!

So this is what I’ve got now. it has some shaping around the neck and is encircled by 8 smaller holes. Still not sure about it. It’s getting smaller all the time and is very nearly at the point of no return but I could just reshape the neck if I wanted. Opinions? Looking at these pictures now I wish I’d gone with the rolled over neck!

Something a bit different?

This seems like something different to what I normally produce but perhaps you won’t think so. Inspired by the glass and rusty nail ring I made two days ago, I thought it time to get on and use this rusty heart which has been awaiting my attention for Oh so long!

Originally it was intended to hold fat balls for the birds but the wind was always ripping it off the tree, I tired of hunting for it in the shrubs and set it aside to do something with. It’s been set aside for about a year but yesterday was the day I had an idea. I’ve lots of felt balls (waiting!), a rusty bell garland (also waiting! it was a new year bargain), a surplus bird (waiting! it was a sample from a commission), some newly died rug yarn and some leftover Teeswater curls.

I cut up the garland and hung it from the heart doubling the overall length. Somehow, just doing that makes it feel more of a statement art piece. Rust is orange / brown in colour so looks perfect with blue and I had some turquoise blue rug yarn. Silently thanking Yvonne for the suggestion to put some weaving in the heart, I used the rug yarn to warp up the shoulders and then wove the Teeswater curls through it. A few curls were tied on but I haven’t made the weaving solid as I want it to have holes and texture. Not sure if I should add some yarns through here, too just to give even more texture – opinions?

The bird was way too brown so I sat and couched on a fancy yarn in turquoise in my favourite flowing scroll shapes. Blue cap, throat and eyes completed the bird which I then needed to attach to the heart. The bird is too solid to push the spike into so I covered the spike base with an unfinished brooch layer (yes, it was waiting!), glued on some balls to cover the spike and glued the bird to the balls. Sort of looks like it’s on a nest of blue eggs doesn’t it?

I attached three blue balls to the bells below the heart and was very happy to find a turquoise ball the perfect size for the hole at the top. Sometimes, it’s just meant to be. I’d like to put this in the garden but we’re in a very windy spot and it just wouldn’t survive so for now it will hang in the dining room as soon as I get a ceiling hook.

Revealed at last

Remember this?

I promised to reveal it weeks ago but first I didn’t finish as quickly as hoped and then the weather has been so grey I haven’t been able to get a photo. Here it is at last.

I made  it in Blue Faced Leicester fibre for hanging outside and really wanted something to be inside the pod with lots of slits / windows into it.

The last photo is a little dark but I wanted to show you some of the textures on the pod. Both inside and outside there are teeswater locks. Inside also has some fabrics as well as the hanging curl you see above which is wire bound with wool fibre and silky yarn.

There are six openings. Both top and bottom tails have rope added for extra texture. The top tail also has three holes in it. the top hole can be used for hanging the pod or it can be tied in a knot as shown.

This silky yarn is the devil to work with so I first wove it in a round and then felted it in. You can’t see the weaving now but it is a fabulous shiny texture!

I’m quite happy with how this worked out but it is only a prototype for larger ones I have in mind and I would like to see MUCH more texture on the next one. Here’s hoping I find the time soon.

Mr.P.Smurf

Mr Poo Smurf, for so the family insist on calling him came to visit yesterday. We looked high and low before we caught a glimpse of him.

He was hiding behind a bush. Was he shy or did the fact he has only one eye mean he couldn’t see where he was going? We stood and waited quietly until M.Poo Smurf showed himself.

Why what big feet he has! A sudden appearance by one of the cats and Mr Poo Smurf went into hiding. Was he behind the bush? No. Was he hiding round the corner? No. Can you see Mr Poo Smurf?

There he is, hiding in the plantpot. This time we managed to introduce ourselves before he ran away and hid again.Mr Poo Smurf didn’t like being on the ground with cats around so he sat on the edge of the planter.

When we left he was looking very much at home sat sunning himself in a quiet corner. I wonder if he’ll visit again?

Mr Poo Smurf has been a fun figure to make, although I am slightly worried about my imagination! If you’d like to make your own visitor then why not come along to the 3D figures workshop on Saturday 6th November.

Reject? – Not any more

A little while ago I was busy making felt Marsh Harriers for a commission. The black bird below was a prototype to allow me to assess the shape and how well the finished item would stand up to the proposed educational use.

I thought it seemed a shame to hide it at the back of a cupboard and had the bright idea of recycling it into a decorated bird. As I’d already wet felted it there was no chance of adding more fibres on that way so I have been busy with needlefelting.

I’ve really enjoyed playing with it. The lines of pink I adore and over all it has something of an indian influence I think. When I have more time it needs to be mounted or hung so it can be admired from all angles. There are still two more rejects to play with but it may be some time before I get to them.

Obsessed with birds

I’ve been working away on the marsh harriers for the last few days and I’m defnitely getting obsessed. I made the prototype in black to help me see the shape and practice my technique. Then I did it in browns with wire in the wings. If that wasn’t enough I’ve done the female twice more since then. Nothing wrong with the finished items I just couldn’t get the size small enough.

On Saturday, I started the birds again. One of my main worries has been the shade of brown to use, every image I look at seems to show it differently. But, at long last, I decided on the shades and got on with it. I cut the wires, blended the colours and needlefelted the shape ready for wet felting. Yesterday I wet felted and finalised the shape of the birds and left them to dry.

This morning I should be attaching them to gloves ready for presenting tomorrow. So, do you think I’m doing that? NO. Instead I’m needlefelting the male some more as I’m not happy with the head shape. I really hope this works because I don’t want to start again. Any more practice runs and I’ll have a flock. Plus, it really does need to be finished and dried today or I’m up the creek without a paddle. Wish me luck, I’ll show you the pictures later.

Harrier’s Progress

I decided to have another go at a Marsh Harrier model with wire in the wings. There was no suitable wire in the house so I went to the local florists and chose from within their stock. It’s not a covered wire so the fibres might have slipped off it whilst I was trying to wrap them around. To counteract this I covered the wire with masking tape after twisting them together, it gives the fibres a little grip.

bird 001

I used a mix of norwegian and merino fibres. the norwegian is very easy to needlefelt and the merino wet felts well. Ths may be the best combination of fibres for me to use as I intend to use both dry and wet felting techniques. Needlefelting allows me to sculpt the shape and place the markings exactly whilst wet felting will consolidate and strengthen the felt.

bird6

The wire in the wings has worked very well and shows no signs of piercing the felt, which had been a concern. I’ve improved the shape and the size is right. I need to fatten the body out and shape the beak more but I believe the next bird might be a finished article.