Thursday, 29 November 2012

A good boat trip

Oh I do like a good boat trip!. Thinking about river edges and looking for the inspiration for the next month of my course has really brought this home to me. I wonder why do I like boat trips so much?

Well I grew up within sight and sound of the river Mersey . The ferry across the Mersey was a reality for me on many occasions. The most recent time about fifteen years ago, was when I insisted my family accompany on the now commercialized tourist Mersey ferries as part of a family history weekend in Liverpool.

Then there were the many trips on ferries from England to Europe. Dover to Calais, Hull to Zeebruge , Portsmouth to Santander, Ramsgate to Dunkirk, Traveling down the UK over night with two small daughters in the back of the car to catch the first ferry of the day to go camping in France. Today there are the trips home , from Rotterdam to Hull. I get on the Pride of Hull in Rotterdam, with its car decks , cabins, cinema, cafe , bars , shops and karaoke nights, I watch all the lorries loading and I instantly relax.

I have had many wonderful boat trips in Scotland. From KIlchoan to Tomerbory, Oban to Craigmure, and Ardrossan to Brodick. Think about the wonderful Calmac Hopscotch rover trips . Some of their boats are quite rusty and weather worn, but my experiences of Hopscotching around the Outer Hebrides cannot be beaten.

But maybe it can ! Aboard the M.V. Frances Barkley from Port Alberni on Vancouver island, trips on the Mekong in Thailand , Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.... Here are the brick kilns on the edge of the Mekong photographed from yes of course a boat, which will be my inspiration for my next felting assignment , and has started me on this travelogue of watery trips.

Close to home now in Rotterdam, there is the tourist Speedo boat , with its riverside views of the orange dock, import point for Europe's vast consumption of orange juice, the container terminal and the floating dry docks , the fast ferry to Dordrecht , and the little black and yellow boat taxis , zipping in and out of the barges going up and down the Maas.

Enough enough , I could go on , I think its the wonderful memories that make me like boat trips so much. Please let me know your favorite boat trip.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Colour blindness

Well I think I am going to have to go colour blind.

I need to make a prefelt picture based on river edges in fully saturated colours. Well such a thing does not exist in the natural world. I have lovely pictures of rocks and Autumn leaves with swirling water, and drippy moss covered rocks with ferns hanging over them. Which need to be depicted in the colours from a rainbow and using colour values instead of shades and tones. I really do not understand the advantages of this colour value approach. I know Henry Mattise used it , but I am not sure I am up to it.

It calls for a radical approach. First I must forget the natural colours.

Orange leaves will become red , browny rocks will become warm yellow with blue to show the texture and the moss. The water needs to stays warm blue with cold blue and cold yellow to give movement.

Here is what is looked like in real life.

A painting , trying to get a grip of my colour blind scheme, and cheating a little bit by using white.

The completed prefelt. For me the beauty of felt is the way it blends together , when only prefelted this has not happened yet. So this is definelty not my favorite piece of felting .


Friday, 16 November 2012

A first date

Doing a online course is great, it gives the complete flexibility of when you work and allows someone like me, living in the Netherlands to take part in a UK course. The disadvantage of course is you are on your own. You have your tutor in my case Kate , who is really suportive and helpful, but it is not like having a classmate , who you can share ideas with, discuss concerns with and learn from.

So when I started Level 2 and Kate introduced me to a fellow class mate who was interested in sharing ideas with, I jumped at the opportunity. We shared a few emails , and then she suggested we have a phone call, early days she said , but why not. Just like an Internet dating said my worldlywise , eldest daughter. She would know , I did not.

So our first date went ahead. How was it . Well good, in fact very good. We talked about how we had got into felting , how we both missed having someone to talk to about the course. We talked about our themes, river banks, trees or beach and the sea. All really fantastic , the sea especially a great love of mine , but here in the Netherlands totally boring and grey, nothing like the beautiful UK coast line. We discussed suppliers of felting material , felting books , our lives outside felting etc etc. All in all a very good first date. We will be having a second.

We also agreed to share some felting projects , so I thought I share a few here.

A crazy teacosy just looking for a red teapot.

A detailed shoot a a new Starkless picture , that is waiting to be framed.

A small picture testing out needling and then wet felting and my framing techniques
Some baby boots made for Dexter.

Here to lots more dates with my new felting friend.









Friday, 9 November 2012

Avoidance strategies

Well I can't put it off any longer. I have to put pen or paint to paper for real. Enough , enough of my avoidance strategies. I have a A2 sketchbook. Right hand side for painting and left hand side for felt samples and I have an A4 notebook for analysis ,record, notes, ideas and digital images. So what is the problem , well.........

I am just used to felting, taking photos and adding them to a file, editing the text until I am happy with it and then sending it off for assessment.

Level 2 and I need to write in a book!!!. This seems I bit backwards to me. :(

My problems with this are : well for a start I don't like the look of my writing and then I can't spell, and I can never keep hold of the same pen for more than a day , so the ink colour changes all the time, and...... No that enough crazy reasons . I must stop procrastinating and get on with it.

So today , in faint pencil writing I wrote title, on the first page , ( not the actual title you understand just the word title) and I wrote river on the second and three page of my A2 book. I intend to paint a river and add photos of all my river bank inspirations on the banks - one day. This is OK , as I do not yet know what they all are yet. Don't laugh it's a start but I did not continue to page 4. I went and researched Henry Matisse , artist and Jenny Cowern, feltmaker instead.

But I did write in my notebook . I wrote down where all my supplies had come from, so that I do not forget and can restock. I stuck in samples of my fibres , and I made a fibre rainbow. This actually took a huge amount of effort of hand carding , so I am quite proud of it.
Here it is and below is the samples in the book. Just to prove I have written something in my notebook.

Tomorrow I will, I really will paint some leaves and ferns in my sketch book.





Sunday, 4 November 2012

Knitting Hats

I continue to get organized for my course, collect yet more fibre and learn how to mix paint. In the meantime time I have been amusing myself by knitting hats.

First is the Campden Cap. This is a Woolly Wormhead design and the first of her patterns I have knitted. Woolywomhead is a hat architect. I can really recommend her patterns. They are clearly written and come in multiple sizes and are often just a little bit different . This cap attracted me as I was keen to see how to make a peak in a knitted hat. It actually has a small piece of Ikea draw liner knitted inside it.

Next has come two head warmers , knitted first and then with the addition of felt flowers. One for each of my daughters to match the cowls I made for them last winter.

Finally in this hat marathon , I started a KAL - A knit Along . This is for a Woolly Wormhead mystery hat and there are lots of other people knitting along all round the world. I am using some sublime yarn , made from angora and merino, that I have had in my stash for years. The KAL takes place during November and here is my first days work , about half way along the brim. Interesting to see how this will develop into a hat!

For more of Woolywormhead designs go to