Friday, August 6, 2010

Felt Mania Continues

Hannah's felted hairband.

The girls have been going to camp all week and having a blast - leaving me time to pursue all my creative joys (...and leaving me time to contemplate my life when they don't "need" me anymore - hmmm - what to do with myself - but there is a whole other blog!) So my love of felt and the felting process has pretty much taken over the house. I've been doing lots of research (including how to make felter's slime - an olive oil soap sludge that pretty much has the consistency of snot), collecting more supplies and inspiration, and perfecting a few different techniques. The kids now have felted hair accessories. I have a felted purse. Some felted home decor items have appeared, and oh yes, the scarves...

This is my latest creation in the early stages. I was inspired by the sunflowers I have in a vase by the kitchen window. First I laid out what felt like a truckload to brown merino fibers over top of a piece of fine silk I had dyed a terracotta brown. I decided I wanted the wrong side of the scarf to have a little flash of colour so I laid a wispy layer of teal merino.

Next I flipped the piece (easier said than done) and put down another layer of brown merino. Then it was time to lay my design.

Then I got it all wet and soapy, did some hand felting with my slimy sludge. Wrapped it. Rolled it. (Note the half pool noodle I pinched from the bin at my daughters' swim lessons - I've sunk to an all new low!). And rolled it... and rolled it...
...and ended up with...
... a fabulous piece!

Now I just have to decide if I should leave it as is or add some subtle beadwork - hmmmmm... decisions, decisions.
The girls have had a blast at camp this week. Next week, Hannah is doing a performance/dance camp and Mira is doing a half-day program elsewhere and of course the two schedules conflict so I imagine I won't be doing anything much more creative than singing along to bad pop songs while I chauffeur them both here and there.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My New Obsession

Those of you who know me well, know that in my heart I'm an artist - I've just never really figured out a way to make a real living with it - well perhaps with my photography just a little... Anyway, I've discovered a new medium and boy, am I hooked. I mentioned that I had gone to an arts event a few weeks back and discovered a felt artist who truly inspired me. I have since collected a heck of a lot of wool and felt tools, spent hours on the internet researching different techniques, and have taken my first, tentative steps into the magic of felt-making.
There are two basic techniques - wet and dry. Dry uses a needle to felt the wool fibres and is particularly suited to textural, sculpted work as seen above. I'm using Gustav Klimt as my inspiration and plan on putting it in a shadow box frame once it's done - it's in early stages here.
Nuno Felting is a wet technique that is particularly useful for garments as it produces a fine, lightweight textile. Wool is felted onto a gauzy silk to create a piece that drapes more so that traditional felt. Here I'm dying some silk chiffon for my first nuno-felted scarf.

This is an example of traditional wet felting where wool fibers are layered and felted.

My first Nuno-felt scarf.

I decided to embellish the wet felt piece...

...and turned it into a bag!