Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Gotland part 1

Last Friday I intended to make my end of year 1 intermediate course final project , a handbag . But my fibre had not arrived so my thoughts turned to some beautiful Gotland fibre I got at Woolfest. It was bought  from Eden Gotland sheep. It was earmarked for a bag , but more of a shopper type bag , robust and hard wearing, than a handbag. So I decided to make this instead and use it as another bag handles practice exercise.
I like Gotland sheep and fibre, the sheep are nice looking and the fibre is long a lustrous and comes in shades of grey with a lovely sheepy smell. As it felts you get a beautiful mottled effect.
My bag is quite big , the resist is 70 cm by 60 cm , and the extra prefelt for the handles was cut horizontally from the top of the resist
Here you can see it being pined in place , also visible are the lighter fibres on the outside of the bag.
I laid a felted core I had made in the middle of the handle .
Then roughly sewed it together. It quite amazing how this rough sewing becomes completly invisible when felted. Hardly any scar.!
The bag is now drying waiting for its final stitching.
More next time , after a short break for a wedding !

Friday, 11 October 2013

Below the surface

This piece was inspirered by the felt united theme of water and the ideas conjured up by the word drift. Many things floated into my head when I was contemplating what to make and I do not know why this idea came to the top

I wanted to imagine the water lily pads which look so beautiful and peaceful with their quiet regular overlapping shapes, from the underneath. I had seen a beautiful pool in the Netherlands in spring of this year.

But I was also reminded of something I saw many years ago where a swimmer was picking beautiful water lily flowers , by swimming in the pond and holding the blooms in his teeth.

I also thought it would be a way of trying out the technique of felting I learned from Miriam Verbeek at Feltfull 2013. Here you needle felt the fibres into your fabric, making a new feltable fabric that can be cut into complex shapes, which in turn can be joined together. Perfect for water lily pads.

Here's my sketched idea and a sample , alongside by needle felted felt fabric made from some home dyed cotton lawn and merino fibres , ready for cutting.

Having made all the individual lily pads I felted it into a single piece . It is about 1 metre long.langamL

After felting I stitched some small beads for the bubbles that I think must be there? As usual I had not really at the start decided how I would display when I started, but I knew it needed to to free, drifting. I choose in the end to back it with a clear blue sky mounted on canvas stretcher bars.

The finished piece will be on display as part of the drift exhibition organized by Lagom Felt Studio in Crieff Scotland.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013


One of the things I think the Artybird city guilds course tries to teach is the important of planning ahead and testing things out This makes good sense, especially with felt as there are no opportunities to frog it, to use the knitting expression, when you don't like and turn it into something else.
The final Assignment of the 1st year of the intermediate course, states make a complex bag , with integral handles, flaps and pockets.

So I am testing ideas for this bag. I want this to be a beautiful , but at the same time a serious and practical bag . No frills and flounces or curls but a bag with clean lines , pockets, that could really be used, that will stand up by its self and with sturdy handles. I also want to incorporate some fabric and some stitching and some piping for effect and stability.
I am inspired by the work of two felters who I think achieve this but with very different results Lisa Klakulak and Atsuko Susaki.

I tried three ways of incorporating both scrim and pongee. I want it to stay put, and potentially have complex shapes. My options are just lying it on the surface , prefelt it , both with and without scrunching with cling film , and what I call in my head the MvB technique , after Miriam van Beek , who introduced me to it. Here it's is also possible to scrunch for added texture.

With these small samples it is possible to test out a lot of things at once , so I have also stitched , with cotton and silk , and at various position relative to the fabric. I tested out options for a piping type effect , where it is obvious to me , piping without any piping as it the last grey sample is the best solution.

So that's the testing done , just a bag design to work out now!