Experiments in felt, success and disaster!

Yesterday afternoon I called over to Carmen’s house to see how her new studio is progressing.  Her partner Peter has spent the last couple of weeks working almost full time on this shed conversion and I must say that the results look great!  This was a modern barn with open sides and no concrete floor, now it is a beautiful cladded building with 4 huge windows, a wooden stable style door, shelving, electricity, water and plenty of wall and display space.  Peter is now making metal topped tables and then Carmen is all set to go, the only thing that will be left to do is landscape the outside a little bit!  Anyway, I toured the studio and then we had a great lunch of fish soup followed by fresh fish and veg.  I had said to Carmen that I would help with some organising and tidying up in the studio but since Peter was working on the tables we decided to experiment a little with some more felted jewellery.  I showed Carmen how I made the blue felt rings and then I tried making a ring by felting around a large glass mosaic bead.  this actually worked out very well although you do need a big hand for the ring to look totally in proportion!  When I got home I decided to use the same method of trapping the glass but this time surrounding a marble.  This ring also worked well but again I would like to have a little less wool surrounding the glass and therefore end up with a slightly smaller ring.  I am going to take some pictures later today and hope to get them online tomorrow or even this evening.  Let me know if any of you have and ideas, maybe I just need to start with a smaller marble to get a finer end result.

My felting disaster is another thing altogether!  Carmen got a new book for her birthday and one of the projects was felting around a ball.  Now I know that many of you have done this before using Beth Beede’s method but I have always prefered starting any of my 3 dimensional work using a flat resist.  Anyway, I decided to give the ball method a go and try to make the fruit bowl as demonstrated in the book.  I didn’t have any elastic bandage to wrap around the wool wrapped ball so decided to go for Beth’s method of using cut off tights, a VERY difficult manouver if you are working by yourself.  My colour scheme was a big success, shades of red and maroon with some orange highlights, red muslin (felted in beautifully) and some gorgeous silk in shades of maroon and wine.  My bowl decided that it would like to become a hat and after I had shaped it on my hat block I realised (as this was actually the first time that I had used the block) that it would be HUGE on my head.  Now I am back to the stage of having a fruit bowl or deciding whether to cut up the felt or punch into it and create some jewellery.  Ah well, another day another hat, I really need a lesson in how to make a proper and comfortable but most importantly wearable hat!!

Felting workshop and new design of felt ring

Great first pieces of flat felt!

Great first pieces of flat felt!

Bridann and Margaret arrived this morning for our beginners felting day at Clasheen. Neither had wet felted before although Margaret had done a little needle felting and has bags of wool waiting at home for her to get cracking with the wet felting. We started the morning with a coffee and chat about the basics of felting and had a look at various types of wool and animal fibre before getting started on their first flat piece of felt. Experimenting was the order of the day to enable both ladies to get a feel for the fibres and they each decided to mix two colours for their base, Bridann chose grey and pink while Margaret chose orange and brown. I had a selection of prefelts, silks, various animal fibres and wool to select from and add as embellishment to the top layer. It was great seeing the pieces come together and Margaret who thought she had chosen ‘safe’ colours was amazed at how vibrant her finished piece of felt actually was! After a spot of lunch we started on their first 3-dimensional piece, Margaret chose to make a tall vessel and Bridann a round bowl. They really produced amazing work for their first 3-dimensional pieces and tomorrow I will upload the images. For some reason today they will not go in the position I want them to on the blog, the wonders of technology!

When we had lunch I demonstrated a simple 3-d felt flower and for some reason that inspired me to create a new style felt ring myself after the workshop was over. I used the gorgeous soft short fibre merino from Filzrausch and had great fun playing around with some simple colour combinations, blue, teal, a spot of yellow and a black centre. I made the ring piece from dark green wool and it looks as if the rings are flowers growing from the dark green stems!

Invitation, felted vessels, necklaces and beading

Winter Exhibition at Kozo Gallery

Winter Exhibition at Kozo Gallery

I was very excited to see an image of one of my felt necklaces used on the invitation to the Winter Exhibition that opens at Kozo Studio and Gallery next Saturday.  This will be the second selected exhibition that I am participating in this month and I would love to meet any of you blog followers if you are free to come to the opening.  Please make sure to come and introduce yourselves if you are able to make the journey!

My days never seem long enough at the moment but I have to say that I am really enjoying all the felting!!  Today I made 2 amazing neckpieces using silk jewels (a bit similar to sari loom ends) and merino, the silk really crinkled up beautifully as the wool was felting so tomorrow I need to make a couple of brooches to use with them as closures.  These will be going to Kozo along with a couple of necklaces and some vessels that I made over the last few days.  I decided to use a much bigger resist than usual for these vessels (piece of laminate floor underlay used in the middle of my felt package to stop the fibres felting as a flat piece and create an ‘envelope’ instead) and have made one large bowl which I then beaded and one taller bowl with very organic grooves.  The beading was quite interesting, I love the glint of light on the seed beads and because of the result was not SO adverse as usual to plying the needle!!

Off now to try and put some images on my new Etsy shop and sort out the policy re. P&P etc., will check back in here and post the link if I am successful!!