I have had some really intensive felting over the last few days with another couple of sessions to go before I deliver my work to Thomastown on Tuesday for the South East Textile show and then on Wednesday (or Thursday at a total pinch!) to Carlow for the Blueprint Exhibition. As I write this post my wrists, hands, shoulders, brain and other parts of me I can’t even describe ache and feel like they have gone into a rubbing and rolling overload!
At last I finished a wall hanging yesterday which I am happy with. It is a banner like piece felted from various shades of grey Icelandic wool and a small amount of merino with undyed silk throwsters waste and a scattering of ‘caves’ (just can’t think of a better word today) created with resists and revealing glimpses of various sequined and bejewelled fabrics underneath. One of the sequined fabrics is very interesting, black and almost see through with very thin sequins in a kind of transparent black. The effect of this fabric when combined with the merino or the Icelandic wool is fascinating to me, the fabric appears to disslve into the wool and the sequins appear as little glimmers on the surface, an interesting contrast.
Today I have felted a sort of mosaic nuno panel which has taken ages to lay out and get to the rolling stage, finally it is drying on my work table and now I am off to grab a soothing cup of ginger tea before grabbing the bull by the horns and starting all over again!
I have just returned from an inspiring weekend workshop (organised by Feltmakers Ireland) with Australian sculptor and feltmaker Anita Larkin. We were learning several different techniques, making balls, making cords, covering an item and creating pieces with multiple layers (via multiple resists). If this sounds like work that you may already have done WAIT UNTIL MY NEXT POST! Because of the need to conserve water in Australia Anita works in a slightly different manner, so obvious once you see it in action and I will explain a bit more tomorrow as soon as I have caught up with some urgent work on the Irish Green Gathering.
Yesterday afternoon Carmen, Polly, Joan (a New Zeland friend) and I got stuck in to some serious activity. Joan and I had been working on the Irish Green Gathering all morning and felting was just the way to spend the afternoon. Carmen brought along a gorgeous selection of felt beads that she has been working on and decided to string a couple of necklaces, very funky. The rest of us were working with resists and I was showing the girls how to proceed as neither had actually done a seamless piece before. In fact Joan has only felted one flat piece with me before and she made an amazing quality vessel which I hope she will allow me to photograph. Polly fell in love with the idea of felt slippers as soon as she saw a pair that I had make a couple of weeks ago. Obviously they take a lot more work so things were progressing nicely when she had to take them home with her. Hopefully Polly will have time to work on them today or tomorrow and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product!
I decided to make a vessel and incorporate some of the scrim that I waxed and dyed last week at the batik course in Grennan Craft Mill. The fabric had taken the dye really well and was a pleasure to work with yesterday. Later in the week I am going to try nuno felting a larger piece of this scrim and use less wool, I expect to get a highly textured fabric for my end result.
Over the last few days I have been thinking of ways to add an extra dimension to my work. Yesterday I created a sample piece that incorporated some strips of laminate underlay as resists. For those of you who have never felted before a resist is just a piece of something (eg. supple plastic, laminate floor underlay or oilcloth) that the wool fibres will not adhere to during the felting process. This means that where ever you position the resist a pocket within the finished piece will be created. I decided yesterday to make a two tiered piece of felt with a darker background and a light wool and linen foreground. Within the top layer I also incorporated three strips of resist, the idea being that when I removed them at the end I wanted to insert either wire or some other thin items. My intention had been to play around with the final insertion and possibly try twisting the wire into some interesting combinations. Even though I thought that my piece was fully shrunk and felted before I removed these strips, the ends of these hollow tubes bonded together slightly when I did the final rinse and throwing. Today I am going to try to open up the tubes but I actually think that next time I will insert the wire or whatever as soon as I remove the laminite resist. Will update you on progress as soon as I get the next piece finished.