The bigger sister.

I slowly and carefully made this felt piece , trying to think about the outcome every step of the way .


Well I liked it but it seemed like a part of a piece, not a piece in its own right. So I put it away for a while …….. and when I eventually got it out I thought maybe it needed a sister piece , a big sister piece. Maybe something like this.


So eventually I made a sister felt piece using some of the same threads , but no silk. A serious but complimentary piece.


Now how should they be connected ?

Like this maybe ? 


Something like that anyway .

Here is the final piece , far more of a finished composition I think and I do really like the combination of the flat felt and the felted silk organza. 


Strangely the sister piece has turned out nearly twice as big as the original!! 

Teaching 

Discussing felting with some of my local friends recently I was asked ” Don’t you know enough about felting to teach it yet ?’  Well I thought maybe I did so we organised a date for a small workshop, with two participants.  I then had to think about what I was going to teach. I decided on making a small vessel around a balloon .  I choose this because it really shows the power of felt as a structural medium, it allows lots of artistic expression and  it’s a bit of fun.  As the building work was about to start at my house the workshop was held at one of the participants houses.

So here is the one of the vessels being laid out .

And the start of some very vibrant decoration.


It was such a lovely day , so we moved to the  beautiful garden and used lots of water to roll the vessels .


After lots of fun in the sunshine we eventually blew up the balloons to complete the final shaping.

And left these two beauties to dry in the sun.

Many thanks Sue and Clare for such a great day.

My First solo attempt at Eco dyeing

Following on from the fantastic Ecodyeing workshop I went on , I decided I would try and put what I learnt into practise with plants from my own garden.

First I made up a dye bath with Elderberry leaves and stems.

I think it would have been better if I had not included the woody stems , as I felt they were just taking space and not really contributing.
I made fours bundles, one silk noil, two from mordanted cotton and one from a piece of felt that had previously been dyed with alder.  Here are three of them waiting to be untied. 


My results are not very fantastic , but it was only my first attempt.

This is a cotton piece with a copper rod , quite bright greens , from the copper I think and lots of blotches from  the onions pieces. Here the piece dried.

One of the cotton fabrics had only recently been alumed , and really has not worked well  and the felt whilst slightly brightened by the addition of the onion but not very promising  at all. I was actually looking for a miracle I started with a piece I did not really like. 

The best is the silk , where I am quite pleased of my rose leaf ,maple and willow prints.


I think overall I need some more practise  and especially get better tying the bundles tighter and perhaps leave out the onion ! 

Planting my dye garden

At woolfest in 2015 I bought three dye plants ,  Madder, Ladies Bedstraw and Rubekia from Fiery Felts.
Here there are with all my other woolfest goodies.

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At the time I had nowhere to plant them so they stayed in their pots at my daughters.  When I returned to the UK late 2015 and I looked for a spot in my garden where I could make a dye garden .  I found a place which was nice and sheltered with a house wall at the back. The  big snag was it was totally overtaken by vinca.  This is a most dreadful invasive plant in my opinion , I have no idea why I ever planted it in the first place.

So for the first few months of 2016 I attempted to kill the Vinca by covering it with some old carpets.  I then dug it all out,  well I tried hard to dig it all out.   I think I should have really left the whole area covered in the carpet for 12 months before I used the bed, but I am far too impatient for that , so I will have the risk that the vinca comes back.

Three months further on , it’s looking good , the original three plants have settled in their new Home, alongside some Coreopsis, which is about to flower and some annual French marigolds and cosmos and some broad beans plants just for fun.

I have already harvested some marigold flowers.

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It’s going to be a long time before I can harvest any madder roots but I feel it’s a good beginning.

Dyeing and colour balance 

A number of weeks ago I made two pieces of felt to dye and decided to use the last of the flowering hawthorn in my garden . The flowers are so delicate.

After dyeing there was some nice colour variation across the pieces .

It’s not very dramatic and I thought more colour contrast was needed, so I modified some areas with copper.  This is where the colour balance problems with my camera started to become obvious.

The same pieces , changed orientation , looking completely different colours , when photographed on different backgrounds. The truth , in my opinion , not as yellow as the white background , but significantly darker than the wood background.

Apart from this I thought further differentiation was still needed so I modified a part of each with iron.

Now I felt I’d gone to far , but there is no turning back unfortunately . 
Finally I decided some more stitching was required in the hawrpthorn dyed cotton and silk from my dye bath and also with some medievil black silk I had just bought at woolfest.

On the White 


And on the wood , with the true colours somewhere in between.