Sunday, 26 February 2012

More than Merino

To date most of my felting has been with the widely available merino fibre. It's very dependable easily available and comes in a wide range of colours. My current challenge is felting with different fibes in natural colours. What a range there is. I have barely touched the surface with my exploration into Shetland , Blue Faced Leicester and Herdwick. So I decided to do a little bit of research into the fibres, more to help me tell then apart than anything else. 
Shetland has a slightly bigger diameter fibres ,than merino but slightly shorter fibres. In my limited experience they are both equally easy to felt, but Shetland is maybe a bit bouncier when it is felted. It comes in shades of brown , through to cream along with grey.

Blue faced Leicester  a cross between a hexham and a swaledale sheep is lovely . Northumbria and Yorkshire mixed. It has a far wide fibre length but it's fibre diameter is similar to Shetland. Colours range from mid brown through to cream. It has a luster and a wave that the other fibres don't have. When felted it retains the waves in the felted item and it is lovely both as felt and as fibre.

Herd wick, although it has a place in my heart , due to my love of the English lake district, has what can only be described as bristles , not fibres., in mixed grey colours. . Good for keeping the sheep warm on the damp fells, but not so nice for felting. I have tried but I am yet to have a success. More suitable for carpets and insulation rather than felting I think.

So there is a new world for me to explore of textures and colours and I am only at the beginning. There is Mute, Suffolk, Norwegian, Romney , Jacobs , Gotland and much much more.

Here is arrange of half felts and fibres from Shetland , Blue faced Leicester and merino, soon to be converted in a big deluge felted project.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

It is a kingfisher !

My home has a small garden and behind it as is very common in the Netherlands is a sluit, a small canal. Here we regularly see moorhens, herons and the occasional duck.

As winter tightened its grip, my husband, the photographer, reported seeing a kingfisher on the opposite side of the sluit. 
I was a little skeptical, not possible here in Rotterdam, minutes from the highway and the metro.  Once whilst canoeing a quiet Yorkshire river and once in the depths of a Canadian national park , I have seen these beautiful birds. 
Well he is a photographer , so he did what comes naturally and he photographed the little fellow.

 What wonderful colours, and what is so interesting that he is perched just outside my back door.  I am quite amazed.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Block printing

Well after the random uncertainty of mono printing, I have to admit block printing suits me better. It's not that I want complete certainty and I certainly like variety, but it's just more controllable.
I made three blocks based on the shapes in the deluge. I choose, a swirl , and geometric pattern and a series of curving lines. 
I made the blocks with PVA glue on heavy cardboard. This had the disadvantage of when dry it wasn't completely level , some of the lines printing with different thickness, but I liked this effect and the more I used them , the more this evened out.

Here are my blocks after use.

I  made some backgrounds- inspiration the deluge of course.!  And printed over the top using my blocks.

I really enjoyed the random printing , but the regular one one a bit too stylized for me and not is easy to be completely regular , when you had blocks of different sizes.

Overall I would choose the random one as giving the best effect.

Looking forward now to doing some printing on fabric now.