School workshop

School workshops are fun but are often very quick affairs of just an hour or two. Imagine my delight when a local shool, Moorfield School, commissioned me to create a wallhanging with the upper sixth to be a permanent feature in the dining hall. Discussion with the art teacher led us to working in neutrals with a tree theme. I was so looking forward to the day.

We began by laying out the background fibres onto a piece of cotton muslin. I was using the muslin because I wanted the hanging to have extra strength. As the tree was to be quite pale I wanted a slightly darker background and chose fawn Masham, sandwiching some white between the layers to keep it lighter still.

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Every once in a while we swopped activities so that everyone got chance to have a go at everything. The girls laid out backgrounds. made wet felted berries, flat felt with mulberry silk on and cords and needle felted some large balls to chop in half and hide under the tree roots.

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On top of the Masham we put milk protein and tussah silk followed by all the cords to form the trunk and branches. The cords were made with Merino, some had inclusions of Wensleydale locks, cotton scrim and flax fibres for a little deeper colour.

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Finally we added real skeleton leaves and leaves cut from the white felt made earlier, It was really starting to look good and then there was the hard work of felting the whole thing together. The girls worked very hard both rubbing and rolling the hanging. Once felted it was time to stitch on some more skeleton leaves, white felt leaves, beads, buttons and berries to create a very full and textured effect.

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It always looks a bit flat when wet but once dry it comes to life. If you look at the base of the tree you can see the texture created by hiding wool balls under the roots and including more Wensleydale fleece and wool nepps.

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Just some of the many berries that were made.

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There was scrim, cords, fleece, flax, cotton chenille and lace in the trunk

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The girls worked very hard and it was so, so worth it, the hanging looks fantastic and now that the channel is on the back for hanging I’ll be delivering this tomorrow.

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A great days work, don’t you agree? It will look splendid in the hall.

Felted soaps

A quick fun workshop in which you’ll make several felt covered soaps to either adorn your house or give as gifts this Christmas. Otley, Saturday 8th November, 10am – 1pm.

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Landscapes, shapes, patterns in soft merino wool or more natural shapes in the finest of British fibres,  Blue Faced Leicester.

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I’ve used silk fibres to represent the veining found on beach pebbles. Fancy joining in? – see my workshop page for more information and booking.

Back on the flower trail – 2

In my first post I showed you the basic flower shapes made up ready and waiting for stamens. I’d now like to show you my three favourites, one from each of the colour ranges.

pink flower

It’s not just the shape I like in the pink one it’s the starkly contrasting stamens.

purple flower

I think the purples really show off the lovely Ramie fibres.

turquoise flower

What can I say, I was bound to like this, turquoise is a strong favourite of mine.

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They look lovely together don’t they. My next job was to select a piece of wood from offcuts in the garage and to give it a wash and a sand down.

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It definitely looked a bit grubby before the wash. Those of you who read my blog last year may already have realised where I’m going with this idea. Next job is with the glue gun and here are the results.

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It’s so nice I couldn’t resist showing you more than one photo.

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I’ve tried to glue the flowers on in such a way that it could be hung from either end or horizontally.

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I was so pleased with this and so loath to discard the flowers I made during demonstrations at another show, that I’ve mounted those too.

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Spider pod

You may already have guessed from all the felt rolls that this was going to end up being a spider. My daughter is really not keen on this she thinks it’s both creepy and weird. I was just going to make a straightforward bird pod but when I read the Canopy Art submission details it had to be something I’d find in a canopy so it became a spider pod.

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It’s made from Black Welsh fibres which I wet felted initially but then I firmed it up with some needle felting, I love Black Welsh for this kind of work it goes so firm.

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It really does stand up because I wired the legs and it’s also the mechanisms for attaching it to walls, plants etc.

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I don’t think it’s good enough to submit to canopy art so it may just become a bird nest hiding in my climbing hydrangea. It’ll probably give someone a scare at some point too. Hubby said it was cruel to think about suspending it above our Daughter’s bed!

Catch up five

The final two pictures that I created for the start of Ilkley Art Trail which finished Sunday last. These two came entirely from imagination and I had fun. I love the colours of this bird, both the background and the bird colour.

Followed by my favourite character.

In both pictures I wet felted the background and added the figures using needle felting techniques.

Catch up two

After landscapes I then moved on to plant life and the first idea I came up with was cotton grass, you get a lot of that on moors.

 

It’s not really my usual thing but I did enjoy making it. First I wet felted the background then dry felted the cotton grass onto it finishing off with some cotton fibres. More of these?definitely. This led me onto further plants but I wandered off the moors into the hedgerow for this next one.

Poppies are red, well that was what I’d always thought until I started to build this one up and included orange and pink too. I think I prefer the cotton grass but this has it’s own appeal.

Catch up one

I’ve been so busy making items for exhibition, and keeping some under wraps, that I haven’t yet had chance to show you everything I’ve made. It’s interesting as I set out to do some local items for the Ilkley Art Trail and interpreted that as landscapes. I did make a couple, which I’ve already shown you, before I realised I was forcing it and started to really think about how I could interpret local in a way that made sense to me.

What I really like is partial rather than whole lanscapes.

As I’d used quite bright almost spring like greens I felt the tree needed leaves of some description. I like the little curls and the hint of  blue/purple at the bottom gives the impression of bluebells.

Earlier in September we explored on the Cow & Calf rocks whilst waiting for the sun to set. Our daughter is taking a photography GCSE and the homework was to take a local scene – she chose a sunset and the view from the rocks over to the west gives great sunsets. Whilst clambering around I noticed the amount of graffiti up there and that inspired this next piece.

As this is to sell I made the actual graffiti quite generic,  It would be good to try a few colour experiments with this idea but I approach it with trepidation.

Not quite what I intended

I’m trying to find time to make a few items for the exhibition in October and one of my first thoughts was around flames. So off I set to make a book cover with this idea in mind.

The idea was that the flames would wrap around the spine and lick from left to right across the front. The background is Hebridean fibres and the locks are hand dyed Teeswater. Once I’d laid it out and felted it I wasn’t happy with how it looked on the book and it seemed a waste so I changed my mind and have kept it as a picture.

After some debate over whether or not to add some stitch I took the plunge. I’ve included about 5 stitches in total and finished it off with seed beads.

This really works for me as a picture with the beads giving the impression of sparks. I’ve decided to call it Flame Garden and all that remains now is for me to make a book cover.

There’s still time

If you’d like to make a cushion to be donated to an Olympic athlete there is still time. Woolsack are still receiving requests from athletes for cushions and we have until 22nd August to get out completed cushions to Woolsack. This means they’ll still be in time for the paralympic athletes.

I thought I’d crochet a cushion and sent for some British yarn from woolsack but it’s quite rough to work with and I decided I just wouldn’t be quick enough to finish it in time. So I decided instead to use the yarn in more felted cushions. It’s plum, olive and gold – really lovely colours and I’ve laid out sufficient BFL for 2 cushions. I’ll show you the finished cushions soon.

Little stripey book

This is the handmade item that I included in my op swap. I really like reusing and recycling items so I began this by collecting al the little odds and ends of purple, grey and black fibres that were too small or slightly felted to be used in other projects.

After hand carding they made the perfect background.

I used grey, black and plum for the main background then laid on strips of purple fibres to create a striped effect. On top of this I added stripes of single crochet.

To this I added wobbly lines of running stitch using a purple and multi  coloured metallic thread and three recycled buttons.

I love the hint of sparkle from the thread which I’ve also used to blanket stitch the edge. The crochet has felted in well and I like the  little touch of blue that it adds.

I’m not usually a stripe fan but this little book has found a place in my affections. Strange how that happens.