I have just finished packing my work for the Kozo Winter Exhibition and am off to deliver it and meet a friend for coffee. Hopefully Tunde will be happy with what I am bringing, several necklaces, several vessels and 2 beautiful (I think!) and glamorous neck wraps with matching pins. These were made from some of the amazing silk jewels (recycled sari silk) that I got from Susan at Essential Textile Art in Australia. I nuno felted them with a very small amount of merino and they crinkled up beautifully as you can see if you look in my Flickr photostream, although the light was not great when I took the images so imagine a lot more sheen!
Tonight is the second class from my beginners course, last week they made amazing pieces of flat felt and tonight we are going to make small felt vessels. It was great seeing their amazement last week as the felt came together, tonight should be interesting!!
It is amazing how many ways there are to felt a ball. Today I needed to make a couple of felt balls and although they are always trotted out as a beginners project for me they are far from it! I always seem to have difficulty starting them off without getting creases but no more, Australian feltmaker Anita Larkin’s way worked a treat. You lay a few very light layers of wool down on a bamboo blind (I used merino) at right angles to each other and then dry felt for a few seconds. This dry felting is done by placing the palm of your hand of the fibres and moving it gently away from you and back towards you, then do the same from a 90 degree angle. You now have a flattish square of fibres which you fold over at the corner to make an angle, exactly like folding a won ton. Starting from this angle now fold and roll the whole wad of fibres into a ball making sure that the last wisps are as smooth as possible on the outside. Dunk very quickly and very gently into hot soapy water (I use natural olive oil soap) and start to rotate LIGHTLY in your hand. Almost immediately you will feel a skin forming on the outside of the ball, the inside will still be dry and any small creases can now be covered with a light wisp of wool. Work the ball in your hand and on the mat dunking it a couple of times in the hot water as you progress to start working the inside as well. Before you can say ‘felt’ you will have a great ball, amazing! Make sure to rinse it out in hot water and there you go.
Speaking of Australia I mentioned before a great Australian website for felting and sewing supplies, Essential Textile Art. Today I placed another order for various types of sari fabric to incorporate in my nuno felting. I am going away on a felting course to Wollknoll in a weeks time and hope that the fibres will be here on my return. My new Etsy shop is now set up and I will be frantically making some nice pieces to sell as Christmas presents, as soon as I have the items up I will post a link here on the blog! Remember, sign up to Buy Handmade if you want to support artists and craftspeople from around the world.
Swap update: We now have swap participants from Ireland, Germany, Spain and Denmark to join in the upcoming exchange that I am organising. To keep it simple for the first swap the theme will be Autumn and the deadline to join will be 21st September. Swap buddies will be allocated then and your package needs to be posted to your buddy by the 14th October. We will exchange one handmade accessory, one seasonal receipe and a little something extra. Obviously everyone is into different forms of craft so you may make your handmade item anything that you would like to recieve yourself using Autumn at the theme. If you don’t work with textiles there is no problem, just let me know if you would prefer to exchange a piece of art (hand made cards, wall hanging etc.) or some hand made edible goodies and I will pair you up with someone who would like to receive there items. To sign up and for those of you already signed up please email me with your likes and dislikes and let me know if you would be happy to receive gifts other that textiles if necessary and I can forward your preferences on to your swap buddy when the draw is made. If this swap goes according to plan we might consider Christmas as our next theme! To check out other current swaps visit SwapDex, be careful you don’t get hooked.
It is very interesting keeping tabs on the different searches people do to get to this blog and something that comes up time and time again is nuno felting. Obviously there is great interest in this technique so I am just going to post a picture of a piece I made recently for everyone to see. The silk fabric that I used was from the sari loom ends I had ordered from Essential Textile Art in Australia a little while ago and I must say that it was a pleasure to work with. I have been debating whether to add a few beads or embellishments as highlights but have not actually made my mind up yet as the end piece is beautiful just as it is! Sewing is one of my all time pet hates (even adding a few beads!) and I am really trying to get over myself on this issiue. Recently I joined several groups on Flickr and have just signed up to make a bag on ‘bag ladies swap’ , check out the discussions on this group and maybe some of you will want to join, if seems GREAT FUN!! sorry that this post is really short, I will be back in full swing next week as soon as the Irish Green Gathering is wrapped up.
FIBRE ALERT I have just recieved some amazing products from an excellent Australian site http://www.essentialtextileart.com . I discovered them on line whilst doing a search for nuno felt and boy am I glad I did! Thanks Susan, for your prompt and friendly service, I will definitely be recommending you to my friends. My order consisted of packets of sari loom ends, sari silk fibres, sari ribbon (basically strips of sari fabric) and a mixed packet of coloured suede fish skin, great for embellishing!!.
Needless to say I just had to get stuck in immediately to some felting. I decided to use one of the sari loom ends and a sari ribbon to create a beautiful long wall hanging in nuno felt. This is really a piece that needs to be lit from behind to fully appreciate the textures and I think that I need to experiment with a simple light box and see how this works for me. I promise to post a picture on this blog as soon as I have mastered the concept!