On Saturday I had the rare luxury of attending a workshop as participant rather than tutor. Sheila Smith was teaching nuno techniques at York feltmakers and if I’d read my information properly I’d have known we were experimenting and that working in white was great for these techniques. There’s always one that doesn’t read things and this time it was me but to be fair, I have been rather busy of late with my daughter’s hospital / doctor/ physio/ x ray / scan appointments and home tutoring.
Anyway I went along with the idea that I would be making a nuno bag (???) and as my daughter likes owls and is currently into green, that’d be the colours I’d use. As we had different methods of layering to experiment with I went for making two flat pieces that can be made into a bag. Meet Ozzie.
We worked upside down and began by laying out our decorative layers. I started with the eyes by laying out scrunched up silk for the beak and eye centres, then surrounding the eyes with layers of black silk chiffon, laying on green gauze in the centre of the head and turquoise silk chiffon on the wings. I followed this up with angelina fibres for sparkle (what 15 year old doesn’t want bling?), wool nepps in brown, white and grey, throwsters silk waste for more shine, some flax fibres which seems to have disappeared completely into it and some strips of purple silk chiffon creating the long lines.
This was then covered with two fine layers of merino tops and then a layer of black silk chiffon across the whole. We used the usual nuno techniques of rolling, rubbing, kneading and throwing to achieve shrinkage of approximately fifty percent. I did shrink Ozzie further which is why I don’t have some of the larger textures that other people created, but then a teenagers bag does have a lot of abuse to withstand. Meet Oscar.
Beginning with the background I laid out two fine layers of merino then used four felt cords to create ridges around the eyes and lines along the edge of the wings. I added silk cocoons in the centre of the eyes to create raised areas and lots of nepps to create the raised beak and the line you can see going from top of the eye up to top right of the felt.
I added a few nepps and then covered the whole thing with a layer of silk chiffon. On top of the chiffon I cut out two circles from pre-felt for the eyes and some small triangles to represent feathers on the wings. On top of the eyes I added dyed silk fibres and then put a little merino and silk on the beak. The final touch for a little extra colour was the addition of a small amount of claret coloured merino along the edge of the wings..
Oscar is darker because the silk chiffon is over the top of the wool whilst Ozzie has the silk chiffon at the back. I wish I’d added more nepps to Oscar as I like the texture. Funnily enough, I thought my daughter would like Ozzie best but she actually prefers Oscar. Now all I have to do is add more bling and stitch into a bag. Wish me luck.
P.S. Hubby doesn’t think they even look like owls.