Posted in Felt, workshops, tagged Felt, felt sculpture, Felting, felting classes, felting workshops, sculptural felt, wet felt, wet felting on September 17, 2012 |
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Rami arrived safely to Ireland on Saturday night/Sunday morning, bed time 4.25am!
Rami adding some three dimensional elements to his second piece of felt
Yesterday was spent chatting about the basics of feltmaking, laying out and felting his first piece of flat felt, exploring a lot of different natural and manmade surface embellishments, checking out images of work he is inspired by and discussing the large fibre related project that Rami will be working on once he returns to the Lebanon.
Today we explored felt balls, cords, loops, working with raw wool, creating texture, basic needle felting and including resists within the lay out of a piece. This may sound like a lot of different techniques to cover in one day but during the course of our intensive week together Rami wants to learn how to create specific end results and is not concerned with heading home with a perfect, artistic ‘finished piece’. Rather he’s been creating samples and learning about the various ways of achieving the look he wants, it’s exciting seeing how things come together, intensive work but invigorating and creative!
Little sculptural experiment at large in the garden!
I really don’t have time to write much this week, instead I’ll just try and post pictures as the time progresses, enjoy them.
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Posted in America 2011, CRAFTed, Felt, nuno felt, workshops, tagged American workshops, Clasheen, CRAFTed, Felt, felt bags, felt beret, felt scarves, felt sculpture, felt vessels, felt workshops, Felting, flat felt, Nicola Brown, nuno felt, nuno mosaic, US workshops, workshop information on February 20, 2011 |
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Laying out merino for the inside of a beret
Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school. Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone! These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer. Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life. Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved!
MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS - I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking! Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’. One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post.
Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!
The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing. To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece! If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.
GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit! When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves. Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles. An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug. If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision. As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!
Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!
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Posted in Felt, ArtL!nks, tagged Felt, Artlinks, merino, wool, fibre, stiffener, Clasheen, fiber, felt vessel, felt sculpture, Anna Gunnarsdottier, ArtL!nks, stiffening felt, Irelandic wool on January 24, 2011 |
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Continuing with the theme of sculptural felt for my ArtL!nks work, this weekend I played around with surface embellishment. Between Friday afternoon and Sunday night I felted one small vessel incorporating a plastic net (the net that my clemintines came in) at the lay out stage and another medium sized one with leather and seed bead embellishments, these I stitched to the vessel prior to the final drying and shaping. An email from Connie in relation to beading felt prompted me to create the stitched piece, I need to collect another roll of laminate floor underlay and 50m bubble wrap in Kilkenny on Wednesday so until then I can’t start on my largest vessel, playing around with surface design and starting to experiment with stiffeners and fabric paint seemed like a good way of continuing the project while having fun at the same time!
- Little leather leaves, seed beads, white vessel and sewing tools
The idea for adding the leather leaves and seed beads was inspired by a purse I saw in one of the Stampington magazines, I will explore my untidy studio and upload the name as soon as I get my hands on the magazine! Because I made the vessel in pure white without any prefelt cutouts it was nice just to concentrate on the form and enjoy feeling the wool felting under my hands. Once the vessel was felted and shaped I started to stitch the little leather shapes around the brim. Felt is a wonderful medium to stitch into (if the felt is thick enough and not paper thin) because for most sewing projects it is possible to hide any thread ends and loose ends within the fabric thus leaving a totally clean reverse to the stitched side.
- Stitching on the first leaf
It didn’t actually take as long as I anticipated to stitch on the leaves and now the vessel has a balloon inside it once more to keep it in shape until it is 100% dry, I will post a photo as soon as this is last stage is completed.
The other sculpture/vessel entailed stretching a plastic orange net around my resist, laying three layers of brown merino on top of this followed by one layer of yellow fibre. I didn’t trap the netting at all and hoped that the torn edges in some spots would add the the surface interest, the plastic incorporated well but I am not totally sure if I am happy with the colour combination and design now it is drying, possible less plastic would have been more in this little sample!
- Little plastic orange net and merino sculpture/vessel
This morning I have created and stiffened a medium sized vessel using Icelandic wool, loads of soap and cold water a la Anna Gunnarsdottier. More about this vessel next post, stiffeners again and tools we all use for fulling our felt. Thanks for all your comments to date re stiffeners, much appreciated!
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Posted in ArtL!nks, Felt, tagged ArtL!nks, Artlinks, Felt, felt sculpture, felt vessels, merino, stiffener, stiffening felt, vessels, wet felt, wool on January 17, 2011 |
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Following on from yesterday’s post the shaping and fulling of the vessel takes a lot of time once the opening is cut and sealed. The steps that I go through are as follows …..
- Insert one hand inside the ‘package’ and pressing around the outside where the resist meets the seam work the felt from both sides to even out any potential ridges
- Once this is done I then turn the vessel right side out and check the design for loose pieces
- For the smaller vessels I had no problems with the design not integrating into the white merino but for the larger ones it seems to be necessary to check each prefelt design and then using a Clover needle felting tool (5 needles in a spring loaded holder) go over each design element to ensure everything is felting together well
Securing loose edges of the design with a Clover needle felting tool
- Once I am happy that all the elements are cominging together it is time to apply some pressure and start to rub, roll and felt strongly using whatever method I fancy as I work on different parts of the vessel. At this stage I might roll or rub on bubble wrap, the table or an excellent ridged mat I brought home from America (fridge shelf liner I think!), a great present from one of my students. You could also use a car floor mat although I do find that sometimes they turn pure white merino a nasty grey colour!
- I still have soap in the felt at this stage and soon I will blow up a balloon inside the vessel to try and work it into as round a shape as possible. Pouring HOT water from the kettle over the vessel I work it with soapy hands over my washing up bowl in the sink
- After a while I take it out of the sink and upend it over a large glass salad bowl. Now I start to stiffen the felt by banging repeatedly all over the surface with a long handled wooden spoon
- Periodically I roll the whole balloon encased package on top of the ridged mat and spot full with a felting mouse before plunging it into HOT water again and doing some more rubbing in the sink
- Next I rinse it thoroughly in HOT water before turning the vessel inside out, inserting another balloon and repeating the rolling, banging and rubbing process on the other side
Inside out vessel starting to get stiffer and take shape
- I keep alternating between banging the vessel into shape now, stretching it with my mouse from the inside and rewetting with extremely HOT water. When I am happy that the vessel is almost shrunk to size I turn it right side out for a last rinse before putting it in my washing machine and turning on the drain and spin cycle. Now I don’t have any balloon inside the vessel as I want to spin out as much water as possible using the machine
- Once the vessel comes out of the machine I inflate another balloon inside it before the final session of banging and stiffening
- When I am finally happy with the strength of the felt and the final shape I leave the vessel on the balloon to dry fully sitting once more inside my large glass salad bowl
Today I have spent about 4 hours banging and rolling this latest vessel and at last it is resting around its balloon to dry. As soon as I am happy that the felt is totally dry (probably a few days because it is a big piece) I will burst the balloon and take some pictures. I don’t like my surface decoration as much as the last vessel I felted but I was concentrating more on the size and shape of the piece and wanted to use up the prefelt I had from a previous one last week. Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday so I am having a felt free day but on Wednesday morning I will start my largest vessel hopefully using Cathy’s yoga ball for the shaping and shrinking, watch this space!
As you can read from the process above I am stiffening these vessels by shrinking and fulling the felt to the degree that they are strong and hold their shape without the use of any additional stiffeners. My next post will examine some of the ways in which to add different solutions (PVA, artists medium etc.) to aid the stiffening process and it would be great to stimulate debate about this process, thanks to all of you who have already commented on the topic here and on Facebook!
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Posted in Felt, tagged ArtL!nks, Artlinks, C1, Charlotte Buch, Felt, felt sculpture, Icelandic wool, Mehmet, wool on November 4, 2010 |
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I am just taking a quick break from organising bedrooms (my two sisters and a friend are staying here tomorrow night in honour of the golf club dance!) to post the first pictures from the start of my ArtL!nks project. After all the planning that went into my proposal it was actually quite hard to start the work for some reason, sometimes I think that pondering, plotting, planning and worrying too much can have a very detrimental effect on my actual felting!
Fitting and stitching some of Mehmet's rug base around a plastic resist with the intention of ending up with a freestanding tube
Anyway, I decided that instead of playing around with samples exploring surface detail as I had initially intended I would actually try and make a free standing column, measure the shrinkage rate, see how strongly I could felt it and assess how stable it would be without additional internal support. This has been the aspect of the project that I have been having the most concerns about and I wanted to be sure that my ideas would work before studying images of nudibranches further prior to finalising the design and cutting out the first resists. You may remember the piece I felted this summer during Charlotte Buch’s workshop in Silkeborg, the images we used for inspiration were the trigger for me to explore the wonderful and colourful world of nudibranches (aka sea slugs) and it would be safe to say I am thoroughly hooked by now!
I decided to stick with a tonal grey colour combination that I enjoy working with leaving me free to feel how the base of my piece was felting and determine how successfully the structural aspects of the column were working. I stitched some of Mehmet’s rug base into a tube and inserted a plastic resist into the middle to make sure that the wool didn’t all just felt together into one big thick carpet! Next I laid two colours of Icelandic wool (both grey) on the surface leaving a couple of areas free of wool and also adding a few splotches of apple green C1 for contrast.
Working the soap and water downwards through all the layers of wool and fabric
A lot of rubbing and sanding later the surface wool was starting to migrate through the thick cotton well and everything was starting to felt together into one cohesive piece, now I was ready to start with rolling. Because of all my recent work on Sylvia’s rug I knew that the cotton fabric Mehmet uses for his rug bases would add stability to the column but at this stage I wasn’t sure exactly how evenly I would be able to shape the final piece and whether the top and bottom would stretch a little as had happened with some tentative experiments earlier in the year.
- Ready to start rolling
To be continued …..
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Posted in America 2011, awards, Felt, workshops, tagged ArtL!nks, ArtL!nks bursary, Artlinks, Artlinks bursary, bursary, Felt, felt bag, felt sculpture, Felting, felting kits, US, wet felt, wet felting on November 2, 2010 |
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You may remember that I was lucky enough to recieve a E1000 ArtL!nks bursary earlier in the year and yesterday morning I started the project which should result in two large felt sculptures, one columnar and about my own height, one pod shaped. I have 4 weeks (broken down into 28 days as I do have some other committments to fit in as well) in which to complete the pieces and will be documenting everything on a seperate blog which still has to be set up, I hope to have that live by the middle of next week! For the moment I am just keeping my head above water until next Monday is out of the way, in brief I have the project to work on, am attending a three day workshop with Hungarian felter Vanda Roberts at Carmen’s studio from Thursday to Sunday, will be co-hosting the Captain’s Dinner Dance for the Golf Club on Friday night, starting another felting project with Borris Active Retirement on Monday afternoon and then chairing the Ladies Club AGM at the Golf Club on Monday night, whew, I am tired even thinking about all of this!
Fun felt bag, possible shape for one of my first felting kits!
Once this is over however and I hand over the Lady Captain’s position I should have a little more head space in which to finalise my new felting kits, blog properly, enjoy my felting and enter proper discussions with US friends about some exciting workshops which may be happening in the Californian area during Spring 2011!!! I knew that I couldn’t keep away from US for very long, exciting times ahead!
Next post will contain pictures of the initial days of my ArtL!nks project, until then adieu.
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Posted in Felt, nuno felt, Swaps, tagged angora, box, cashmere, Clasheen Crafty Swap, felt sculpture, National Crafts Competition, nuno felt, nuno felt scarf, RDS, shisha, silk, stitching, swap, upcycled box, vicuna on May 12, 2010 |
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My fantastic swap package
I discovered to my horror over the weekend that I only have until the end of this week to finish three sculptural pieces ready for a joint exhibition in June (need to get to the venue beforehand) and complete my submission for the RDS and Crafts Council of Ireland National Crafts Competition. This has really put me under tremendous pressure especially as yesterday the large piece that I was working on turned into a total disaster and eventually I just cut it up in frustration. Imaging then my delight with this beautiful upcycled box of gifts from Jasmine aka Natures Whispers that I recieved as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap, it really made my day seem brighter! It is hard to describe how perfectly Jasmine captured my personality and likes and dislikes when preparing this amazing swap package to post to me so I am just going to let some pictures do the talking and will blog properly about the AMAZING and unusual fibres (vicuna, possum, cashmere and angora!!!!!) as soon as I get a chance to try them out!
I love this text and the hearts!
It is also incredible to think that Jasmine only started starting felting her amazing nuno scarves earlier in the year having followed my tutorial here on the blog and to say that what she sent me blew me away is an understatement. The wonderful scarf is felted from merino, bamboo, silk tussah and angora; the silk, angora and bamboo were dyed with daffodils and the merino with lilac twigs from Jasmine’s garden. Each end of the scarf has beautiful embroidery and shisha mirror work (instructions enclosed so I can try it myself!), I really, really must try stitching again as this extra detail totally finishes the scarf beautifully. I don’t know if Jasmine has ever seen a picture of me in one of my Blue Fish linen pieces but I have collected a whole collection of pieces in combinations of straw and green and this scarf compliments them perfectly! Check out my Flickr photos to see more pictures of this fantastic bundle of gifts and see what else was enclosed in the beautiful upcycled box but for now I leave you with a couple of images of my amazing new scarf!!!
Beautifully felted and embellished scarf from Jasmine
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Posted in Felt, Swaps, tagged complex felt bag, Felt, felt bag, felt necklace, felt sculpture, Felting, necklace, Ravelry, Rosin Markham, sculpture, swap, wet felt, wet felting on March 24, 2010 |
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Apologies for my lack of posts over the last few days. The internet connection has been extremely sketchy, must be something to do with the fact that our weather has broken at last and amazingly for this time of year farmers (and the golf course) had actually been praying for rain!
I have been working on fulling and shaping the sculpture that I started at the end of last week. This first experiment in creating a tall column shape should give a good indication of whether I need to make my felt thicker, use a different resist, have a larger space to work in etc., all the nitty gritty things that will help me when planning and executing pieces larger than my own actual height and width! When I started fulling and shaping I initially worked the felt around a long piece of electricity cable housing. I had intended on having this diameter as the finished width but discovered that the felt needed to shrink further to become stronger and self supporting so I put the work aside to see what on earth I could find to hand with a slightly narrower diameter to enable me continue the shrinking process. I returned to the scuplture the following morning having discovered the perfect fencing stake lurking in my garage, no problems now working the felt around the wood and beating it with a wooden spoon to finish firming up the felt! Pictures to follow when the piece is totally finished.
Yesterday I spent a fun morning with friend and artist Rosin Markham. Amongst other materials Rosin sometimes works with gorgeous undyed raw wool from a variety of different sheep breeds. She very generously gave me samples and locks from some wonderful looking kinds, hopefully I will be able to take pictures later today and you will see the crimp and texture which should translate wonderfully into some finished felted work. As Rosin had never worked three dimensionally before I showed her how I work around a resist and she laid out a simple round vessel in graduating shades of undyed Icelandic wool. Meanwhile I decided that this was a good morning to get started on an ocean inspired bag which I am making as part of the current ‘felted bag swap’ on Ravelry. I tried out a new shape which with a little tweaking will be perfect as a basis for exploring a new complex felt bag design, just need to add another flap or two but need to buy more laminate floor underlay first! Rosin’s vessel was looking very good by the time she had to leave and my bag is now sitting on top of a rad drying while I plan and execute the dreaded cord handle.
You may remember I posted a good while ago about the necklace I made my sister Suzanne for her birthday. She and my mother came over for a coffee on Sunday morning and I snapped a shot of her wearing it for my records, note the fact that she didn’t want her face to be shown, false modesty in my opinion but it does make for a good photo!
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Yesterday morning I was able at last to start work on the first of a series of tall felt sculptures. Although I need to tidy the studio up yet again (what’s new?) and get some paperwork out of the way it was very satisfying to actually get this project underway if somewhat daunting at first. This outdoor and indoor series of sculptures has been in the planning for a long while and I nearly evaded starting the process yesterday morning because when it came to the crunch I almost seemed lost about where to begin! Eventually I decided that as many attempts may be necessary before I get the ‘perfect’ piece just to quit procrastinating and get on with laying out the wool. For this first piece I am working in graduating shades of grey Icelandic wool starting with charcoal at the bottom and changing through to a very light grey at the top. Because of resist constraints (I need to buy another large roll!) lay out was not as big as I might have wished but although the piece has another couple of day’s work to go it has given me an idea about the various difficulties I may encounter once I scale up for the much bigger outdoor pieces. Ideally I don’t want to use any fabric stiffener with these sculptures as I would really like the tactile nature of the felt to shine through. Whether this is totally practical for the outdoor pieces or not I don’t know yet as the design is tall and narrow but we will just have to wait and see.
Needing to sell some felt in order to spend time experimenting on this exhibition type work has brought me full circle to rivisit the pricing debate yet again! Pop on over to Clasheen Uncut to take up the cudgel and if you have any suggestions re. online sites to sell from please make sure to leave a comment. I have also posted there today about a new craft related social networking site that I discovered last night called My Craft Corner, one to watch in the future I think.
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Not much writing today due to time constraints, plenty of pictures!
Three layers of resist stitched together
One side removed to create five sided resist.
Laying and wetting out the various sides
Fiddly to lay out at the top and bottom of the stitching.
Opening the felt package to remove the resist
I removed the resist from the bottom centre. This demonstrates why the stitching needs to be secure, you don’t want the resist to have disintegrated by this stage!
Now for the hard work fulling and shaping the felt!
More pictures to follow in the next post!
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