Yesterday I was very busy felting! I’m going to be away unexpectedly next week (thanks George for stepping up to the mark at zero notice to house and Rex sit, Annette I’ll be in touch about July!) so I need have to have a batch of wearables ready for the golf club tomorrow morning. While I’m away there’s going to be a fashion night there so thanks must also go to Lady Captain Eileen Kelly who’s going to organise someone to display and look after my pieces! My beautiful new cotton gauze arrived on Tuesday afternoon from Charlotte Buch so I decided to felt some nuno wraps combining this with short fibre merino, ponge silk and sari silk from my stash. Killing two birds with one stone I also took pictures of the process, these pieces took a long time to lay out but were fulled in the dryer and that’s how I could felt more than one in a day. This processes is one I will be exploring in the new book with Chrissie and is wonderful for anyone who finds nuno felting either tiring or time consuming!!! Talking of time I must dash now, here’s a close up shot of the finished wraps, note how using the same fabrics but a different colour fibre results in complimentary but very different end results.
Turquoise and apple green merino combined with the same silk and cotton surface fabrics offer two different end results
Yesterday morning was extremely wet and windy, this morning was lovely and bright with wisps of mist on the mountains, neither were great for trying to take any sort of photo with a small digital camera. However, I know from your comments that at least several of you are looking forward to some shots of the nuno felted wrap (which might actually become a banner) so here goes and please bear with me and the quality of the images!
Nuno felt wrap/banner against the sky
Firstly I had difficulty finding a suitable branch to hang the felt from especially since the sun and shade was so strong and I was trying to get as clear a shot as possible. Eventually I decided to just do my best and not worry unduly that the felt is kind of draped and the design is probably not the easiest to see, I’m sure you all get the picture! Note to myself, scrap the leaves at the edges if repeating this experiment as I am not sure that they really add anything to the finished nuno felt at all.
Detail from nuno felt wrap/banner
I love the open texture of the gauze after all my felting and rolling and you can see in this image a ‘leaf’ on the left hand side which was laid out on this side while the main piece of needle felt from which I cut the design out is actually felted through the gauze from the other side. This gives a nice bubbly effect to the surface and in fact if I was going to make another piece like this I would only lay my design on one side of the gauze and I wouldn’t add any of the loose ‘leaves’ to the sides either but possibly try some other kind of edging. At the time I thought that they were a good idea (obviously!) but on reflection they are only a distraction if you want to wear the wrap and don’t do a huge amount if you hang the nuno like a light felt banner. I do have a couple more pictures on Flickr but if the light is better over the next couple of days I may try and photograph the wrap again this time in it’s entirity.
No water again! I don’t know what is wrong this time because all seemed to be running smoothly when the plumber left on Wednesday. However, after one long bath, two machine washes and loads of washing up all in the space of a couple of hours this morning no water came out of either tap and I did want to have everywhere nice and clean for tomorrow morning’s nuno felt workshop. At this stage I am not going to fuss about it as luckily I do have my heat but I will just have to walk down the lane later today and collect some water to heat up for out felting experiments tomorrow. Unfortunately I gave my mother her large double handled bucket back yesterday morning so small washing up bowls and lots of trips are all that I can see once more on the horizon!
Speaking of water have you ever shrunk your favourite jumper in the washing machine by mistake? If so check out Clasheen Uncut where I go through the 20 minute process (I kid you not) of upcycling an old jumper and turning it into an eco chic and practical shopping bag!
My flu appears to have abated somewhat so I am taking this opportunity of posting about the very exciting top that I felted for myself this week while getting fed and minded like a baby at Carmen’s! I really hate sewing and for a long time have wanted to make some stylish felt wearables for myself but until Sigrid Bannier’s recent trip to Ireland have always resisted the mental thought process that needs to happen before confidently handling such large scale clothing projects. In tandem with this, for the last 5 months I have been desperately trying to think up my response to the international call for submissions for a juried travelling exhibition portraying the impact of human actions on the environment. ‘The Climate is Changing’ should be a challenge that I can rise to given the Green Party aspect of my background but until I finally crystallized my thoughts during a recent hike through Lassen Volcanic National Park my brain seemed absolutely dead as to how I could interpret my ideas into a piece of felt. Without giving too much away I have also been totally inspired by an interview with Thomas Horst (my absolute favourite American felter to date!) and his details of how to make a felted coat, I can’t recommend enough buying the Fall edition of ‘Living Crafts’ to check this out for yourselves. Thomas uses an electric sander a lot in his work and for the project detailed in the magazine the wool used shrinks by 25%. This got me to thinking that if I rubbed or sanded my work for a significantly longer period of time than I usually do and coupled this with cooler water and less rolling would I achieve a strong and finished felt garment with less shrinkage than I usually build in? The answer is YES! This means that now I have a felting method that achieves a gorgeous surface finish and doesn’t need the gigantic resists that I was always imagining would be required if I needed to allow 50% shrinkage for larger wearable articles. The unusually styled cropped top that I made for myself during the week is a generous size, has a gorgeous high neck and is made from just over 200g of the softest merino. I laid it out on a backing of cotton gauze for drape and stability and used some of the gorgeous silk hankies and twists that I got in Denmark as surface decoration, with a little manipulation (read more concentration cutting up the cotton gauze!) this would have made a wonderful reversible nuno top. Now I have a clear idea of how I am going to proceed to create my submission. Forgive me if I don’t give a total step by step description or an idea of the shape of my garment but I need to get the application sorted out first and one of the conditions is that no details or images of the work have been talked about or published prior to the juried stage of ‘The Climate is Changing’.