Monday, 30 April 2012

A Grand Day out

This weekend I have paid a visit to Floriade.  A once in 10 years horticultural exhibition. 
No felt in sight apart from a multi-coloured hat on a New Zealand lady. I complimented her on her head-ware , but personally I thought it was a bit too hot a day for a felt hat, but then I am used to the Dutch weather

Situated in the south of holland, Floriade appeared to have got its own new motorway junction, unknown to the navigator, and an extensive efficient park and ride system. 

Inside -  well it was truly huge and in many ways a tribute to the Dutch horticultural legacy, and there was masses to see, flower displays, gardens , willow weaving, a fire breathing dragon, and some amazing video installations.

 I really enjoyed the Huis van de smaak. Cooking for children, aimed at getting them to eat fruit and veg and mushrooms. With lots of free samples to snack or smaak ( taste) on. 

I particularly liked.
The stilt insect girls- how did they stay vertical

This Japanese flower display, using the bamboo roots in such an interesting way

And the urban knitting

Wherever I go I can always find the knitting.

All in all a grand day out.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


I have tried a number of ways of incorporating beads into my felting. 

My earliest experiments just using beads on wool and placing them in the felt were pretty unsuccessful as the threads and beads were not firmly enough attached.

I have stitched beads on top of the felt and that works fine , but requires sewing, which isn't my favorite occupation, and also looks like an add on.  

I have tried placing beads under some scrim , this again had the problem of just too much movement , unless they were attached to a piece of half felt first.

My next attempt was to incorporate some beads into a knitted square out of wool that I knew would felt. This worked well, but involved quite a lot of wool and time knitting for the final effect. There was also a large area of knitted texture incorporated into the felt. 

I think I might have finally solved it. Crochet. 

Thread the beads on to some thin wool that will felt. Use a really big crochet hook and just make a chain. This is actually the limit of my crochet skills. I have tried random spacing and also adding a bead to every stitch. 

The chains can then be laid into top of the fibres and with a few fibres laid on top, are easily secured into the piece. The beads , sit sometimes in the felt , invisible , sometimes half buried and sometimes on the surface. 

I really like the effect , it's as though the beads are a integral part of the felt.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


In 1882 John Constable painted some cirrus clouds using oils. The original is in the V&A, Heres a link.
In 2012, only 130 years later,  I attempted to copy this painting using pastels. Not quite my first time using pastels , but I am a real novice.
Then I made a felt picture using merino batts. I have used merino tops many times, but never batts before. They are very fine short fibres randomly mixed,like fluff, rather than lined up neatly as they are in a top. Interesting different, one I need more practice with !!
I then photographed this felt picture and printed this using my ordinary printed onto silk. I never even knew this was possible. 
It is not as clear as it would be as a photograph but recognizably,upside down, I think.
Finally, I felted the silk using some merino tops , yellow , white and blue fibres. I mixed some white and blue fibres together with my carders for the background. The shrinkage of the silk gives a wonderful crimped effect - unfortunately some of the colours have been lost.  
Transformed from oil on canvas,via the V&A website, to pastels on paper, to felt, then via the computer and an inkjet printer to silk and then shrunk into a small silk and felt picture, 130 years after the original was made.  
Bizarrely this small size felted silk is almost the same size as Constables orginal oil!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Found Items

Make a nature chaos collage from found items. What a challenge! 

First I had to determine something that means nature chaos to me. Well there are lots of things, but I decided to use something that I saw whilst walking on a beautifully sunny April 1st. Should it be the rocks, or the ragging streams or the bogs.  No I decided it should be the gnarled and twisted moss covered roots and branches if a very old tree.

Could this be a mistake as there is a lot of chaos !! 

I searched for found texture.
First binder twine picked up in a field, and twigs in various sizes from some spring cleaning in the garden. 

Old, but clean , pan scrubs, and extracted from the recycling some disposable contact lenses packing -  always good to recycle a bit of plastic in my line of business! 

In the midst of my searching I was given a present,  with some squishy packing material,  just the thing I was looking for to make some bark. 

Tooth picks, I thought  would make little twigs as they are quite strong and not likely to disintegrate.

A few ribbons and short cords, cut off some labels. 
So far so good, enough to start gluing?

Here is the work in nearly finished, perhaps I should have waited until I had it all collected, but I quite like the evolutionary aspects of finding something and sticking it on and as currently it looks nothing like the picture,  I have a long way to go!