Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Felting Fantasies

Have I broken free from the constraints of deluges and sunsets ? 

 I have and I spent a happy day , with a good friend,  just making the felt that I felt like making. Freedom ?  It was not completely spontaneous as I had done a little planning  even making a drawing from my inspiration.
I wanted to incorporate beads in the work through the technique of knitting , so they would nestle in the felt , not sit on the top. I used my wonderful Shetland Tweed yarn from Harris for this. Knitting thin yarn on big needles with random beads  - yes I can do this and talk and watch the TV , as is really does not matter what it looks like.

 I wanted to try combining Shetland fibres with Norwegian fibres. Sherland for the backgound hill and Norwegian for the textures and colours of the hillside. I wanted to use prefelts for the structure and deliberately make a very uneven edge. So I spent a few hours preparing , prefelts and knitting fine Shetland . Not to mention the time dying scrim cotton yarns and silk and stiching textures into them.

Well I really got carried away it must have been the wonderful spring weather.  

Shetland base, knitting with beads , lots of Norwegian wool , and silks on the top.  Heres my inspiration.

And the final felted effect

I am pleased . what do you think.?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Crinklely clouds

The trauma of the missing vivid violet was eventually resolved by a home made and not so vivid purple. After a lot of tracing and transferring of one or two lines at a time I was close to the final intended effect. I am sure it was worth the effect, because after crinkling all defects were well disguised.

The finished and slightly wobbly printed polyester organza had to be felted. I had tried to felt polyester before with no success so I knew be it needed a lot of persuasion to felt.

So I laid out a few purple , to make the point , merino lines and then random white blue face leicester fibres. With lots of cold water and soap I eventually persuaded the odd fibre to struggle its way though the polyester and start to bring the whole thing together. What a lot of hard work.
Eventually it looked kind of laminated and normal felting with warm water could commence. I think it was worth all the effort to laminate it because when it started to felt , I was suprised that all the lines became zigzags surrounded by crinkles. Quite a cloud like texture if not cloud like in colour.
I am quite pleased with it,although its shape is a bit random ,  but I am not sure Constable would recognize it.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The mystery of the vanishing vivid violet

Well spring is here and colour has returned to my life inspired by any one of constable clouds paintings and he painted a lot of them. After trying out with crayons I was ready to progress to using fabric transfer paint for reverse printing onto polyester. Interesting idea,  your painting layers become reversed , when you use a hot iron to transfer from the paper to the fabric. 

Inspired by the clouds and the descriptions on the small dye pots I painted away . It was a bit disconcerting that the colours on the paper were not a very good match to the description on the tins. Vivid violet was more like a dull grey and lemon was more like a dirty mustard. But I was completley confident all would be well after the ironing.

Here is the finished painting laid out ready for the transfer. Not as vibrant as the descriptions would lead you to believe, but I was happy with the composition and my imagined finished effect

Now ironing is definitely not my favorite activity. Still all for a good cause. I ironed away taking great care not to disturb the two layers and smudge the whole effect . Eventually I dared to lift the corner to test if it had worked. Yes and no. I had lemon , red , blue , orange , but no sign at all of the vivid violet

I have no idea why. I am completely at a loss as to how to retrieve the situation. Even if I can discover why there is no possibly that I can line it all up again an complete another marathon ironing session. What a mystery. Here is my rather gappy finished piece.   If you have any suggestion of a solution I be happy to hear your ideas.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Deluge , no its a raging torrent

With my natural wools experiments behind me,it was time to turn my exploration of Leonardo's deluge and the natural fibres into a piece of art. Use any skill learnt so far it said it the brief!
Well that many things and not all applicable to natural wools and a depiction of a deluge. 
Natural wools , natural protection agianst a deluge. Think of all those poor sheep out day and night in all weathers even deluges. I wanted my piece to be as big as possible, the limit being the size of my small ikea table. It needed to have lots of texture and must use merino, Shetland and BFL fibres in colours I actually had not colours I could purchase.
So I choose my favorite collage and attempted to depict it in felt, less colours, more texture and definitely a lot harder work to make. But then it can be taken outside in the rain and not disintegrate and could easy to the starting point for a deluge resistant tent.   Maybe not .  Prediction of the behaviour of the colour blends and the fibre blends is not always easier for me to do, especially now I have the added complication of all the different fibres as well as colours. Sometimes they are more dramatic then I intended sometimes less.
Overall I achieved the effect I wanted. But it reminds me more of a raging river after a deluge,than a deluge itself,  with eddies, currents, froth, rocks and lots of flotsam. It fact it reminds me of a bad experience I rather forget when whilst white water canoeing near Barnard Castle , I cracked my boat and then had to hitchhike in a cold wet suit to get home.  Felting is a lot safer than white water canoeing especially after a deluge, but can sometimes be as wet!