Although many felters choose to create the most beautiful botanically correct felt flowers personally I like to make mine more organic and less structured, they also take a lot less time to felt! I’ve had several emails and questions asking how I attach my stems and shape the flowers, I’ve not managed to photograph myself doing the full process (I can’t demo and use the camera at the same time by myself!) but thanks to Anne Murphy of Eala Enamels I now have a few pics showing the shaping process so I’m going to share them here. Ill talk about wttacng the stems another time. This is actually a fully felted flower but at least I hope you’ll get the idea!
Make a circle with your thumb and index finger on your non dominant hand
Place the flower inside the circle, if y have a stem obviously it’s facing downwards!
Push your index finger of the opposite hand gently but firmly down in the centre of the flower
Gently roll the folded flower around in your hands opening to check one side is not felting to the other
Continue rolling and opening until you are happy with the finished shape
Gosh, it took me 50 minutes to drive approx 11 miles to my felting class in Myshall last night and over one hour to get myself home, thanks snow! I took a less hilly (but longer) route on the homeward journey, a rear wheel drive pick up truck (without 4 wheel drive) just doesn't cut to the chase in wintery conditions, especially considering our rural hills never get gritted or salted.
Nevertheless, the participants who managed to weather the icy conditions created a beautiful array of sunny looking flowers, well done everyone!
Although is was FREEZING at Duckett's Grove yesterday I had a lovely afternoon facilitating a 'fun felt flower' workshop. Next Saturday is a beginners and improvers full day workshop, we'll be working on flat felt pictures so if you'd like to join us please email me ASAP! Check out these beautiful flowers from yesterday, I love the different colour combinations!
Check out this yummy box of fibre I received from Roo Kline this week complete with beautiful handmade shawl pin!!! Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions are the amazing sponsors for my nuno felt neckpiece workshop at this years' Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, we are going to have a ball!
I can't wait to dive in but I so want to felt something special with this, I'll be bringing the samples along with me to all my upcoming US workshops.
Alpaca of this quality is a total pleasure to work with, it's not a fibre easily accessed here but once you know a good supplier…..keep them!
On the everyday side of things my current project is coming along really nicely at the Gaelscoil in Carlow, to date I've worked with 300 pupils and by next Monday afternoon another 150 will have had their first experience felting! As a result I've not actually done a lot of felting at home myself over the last two weeks as my fingers are all wrinkled by the time I leave Carlow and my back's aching, I've been trying out a few polymer clay ideas instead. Thanks Elaine (editor of the polymer clay section at Craft Gossip) for linking to the post I wrote recently about my first 'official' necklace, it's always nice to get a thumbs up. I'll be facilitating a felt flower workshop at Duckett's Grove on Saturday so I plan on felting quite a few flowers and other small items then! I'll leave you with a link to a picture of a flower head piece that Mary felted this week (Mary was one of my super students at the VEC recently), I think that it's gorgeous.
I've had a pretty frustrating week computer wise, thanks goodness for the iPad otherwise I might have gone totally mad! Next weekend I have a felt bag workshop happening on Saturday 16th February in Duckett's Grove, the initial process is the same for vessels and other three dimensional objects so if either bags with integrated handles, pockets and flaps or strong, sculptural vessels are your thing please email me asap to book your place. On Saturday 2nd March I have a beginners and improvers flat felting workshop happening, again please email me if you would like to book a place. These will both be intensive hands on classes where you will leave at the end of the day with a beautiful finished piece and the knowledge that you will confidently be able to repeat the process at home by yourself, more details over on the workshop page.
Before Christmas I met a lovely South African lady called Lizette at Borris Food and Craft Market. She bought some of my naturally printed and dyed nuno felt to bring home for gifts and also selected a few flowers in nice bright colours, felt and silk are wonderfully lightweight to transport so make perfect presents for anyone heading off in a plane!!! Anyway, Lizette is back here for a visit and called in to say hi again at the market on Friday. With her she brought me a gift of the latest 'Bead Book' magazine sent from her good friend Debbie Rijns, director of education at Precious Metal Clay South Africa.
In the magazine I was thrilled to see that a tutorial for one of Debbie's mixed media necklaces features one of my felt flowers combined with a beautiful PMC leaf, copper wire, beads and cord. Above is a picture of the second page of Debbie's tutorial. Thanks Debbie for creating such a lovely necklce incorporating the flower and I really appreciate the credit and mention in the magazine!
I've just completed the cords for 4 flower bolos this morning as I want to bring them with me to Borris Food and Craft Market in the morning. Here's a picture of one way to wear them, head on over to Clasheen on FB to see two more ways to accessorise an outfit!
I'm just going to grab a quick lunch then into the studio to gather my things for the morning.
Approx 2 to 3g (.07 to .105oz) merino or Icelandic wool (batts or roving) in complimentary or contrasting colours, a spot of clashing colour often works well!
A little silk fibre, tencel, firestar or linen to add embellishment if desired.
Two pieces of bubble wrap no smaller than 12” square or one larger rectangle.
Warm water and soap. An unscented soap with a high fat content is the best for your hands, most soap does work but I prefer olive oil soap or goat’s milk soap.
A small towel and a bottle for the soapy water, an old plastic mineral or milk container with small holes pierced in the lid makes a good cheap sprinkler!
Place your towel on the table with one piece of the bubble wrap on top, bubbles up.
Lay out an even but light circle of wool approx 4” to 5” in diameter and lay a second layer on top of the first. Overlapping the complimentary or contrasting colours works well as does laying out a darker splodge of colour in the centre of your flower.
Place your hand on top of the pile of wool and ‘vibrate’ it slightly to help the fibres stick together, check that there are not any extremely thin areas.
Patch if necessary and add then a little of your embellishing fibre around the outer edge if using. Note, silk, tencel, firestar or linen fibres don’t actually felt themselves, the wool ‘catches’ them so please use sparingly.
Sprinkle some warm soapy water evenly on top of the wool, enough to compress the fibre but not enough to cause water to run off the bubble wrap. You don’t need loads of suds so don’t go wild with the soap!
Place the second piece of bubble wrap on top of your flower bubble side down, if using a rectangle of plastic lay out the wool on one end and fold the other over.
Gently press down to work the water through the wool and remove any air pockets, lift the bubble wrap up carefully and see if the flower is totally wet through, add a little more water if necessary. Replace the top layer of bubble wrap.
With wet soapy hands carefully rub the flower in a circular motion on top of the plastic for about a minute, turn over and repeat on the other side.
Remove the top layer of bubble wrap and gently rub directly on the wool with soapy hands. Once a ‘skin’ has formed on the flower pick it up and start to shape it into a three dimensional shape with your hands. I like to place the tip of my index finger in the centre of the flower and work the felt around the outside of my finger.
The flower will shrink by about one third to one half the original layout size, when you are happy with the result rinse in warm water, reshape and dry. Enjoy!
Now for two thumbnails, WordPress is playing silly games today so apologies I can’t seem to upload any more!