So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.
Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.
I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!
Yesterday I felted then naturally printed my first wrap of 2014!
Over Christmas I had collected leaves and seed pods from a variety of different eucalyptus trees, it's fascinating to see how these are reacting with the different fabrics I'm currently printing on in advance of Showcase later in the month. I also used my old staples of onion skins and tea leaves for some of the silk scarves, it amazes me every time how these simple kitchen ingredients impart their colour onto the silk or felt. This wrap is not rinsed or ironed yet so no photos of the complete piece, I just wanted to share a couple of pictures with you though to demonstrate how incredible the power of nature is! Doesn't this print remind you of a tree?
Everyone was pretty tired and hungry at the end of day one and straight after the workshop finished a few of us went for a tasty Italian meal nearby with Jeanette. Refuled and ready to go again I drove straight back to Alan’s small Dublin pad and proceeded to lay out my surface design and felt my bag. As already mentioned I had made some provisional sketches giving ideas of where I wanted to position my silk fabric and flax fibres. It quickly became obvious to me that I needed to adjust the positioning slightly if I wanted to get a balanced and pleasing look once the resists were opened up and the other layers of design exposed. I spent quite a bit of time cutting around the edges of one of the flower motifs and some more time cutting out small splashes of red and grey silk which I laid out underneath some of the silver flax. If anyone is interested in ordering dyed flax I bought several different colours online from Filzrausch. The last descision I made was choosing to lay out three strips of the hand rolled edge of the scarf on the front of the bag, my design was now complete and I was ready to felt.
Felting the bag did not take long at all. Because it had already been wetted out and left sitting in the trunk of my truck while I ate my food the wool fibres were nicely relaxed and everything came together very quickly, probably no more than 30 or 40 minutes rubbing and rolling in total! Even though I started the project with the intention of using less wool and having a slightly more ‘flexible’ bag than usual I still worked the wool firmly and finished when I was happy that plenty of shrinkage had occured. I was really happy with how the silk combined beautifully with the wool and almost melted into the front of the bag. Next time I will post some pictures from the workshop and write about a wonderful exercise (with trees and yarn!!!) we all did outdoors at the start of day two!
Thanks Dawn for giving me permission to publish your image here and I know that everyone will join me in saying congratulations. Triton’s Horn is a wonderful piece of felt and I am so looking forward to seeing it in reality when I visit Michigan this October!
Triton's Horn by Dawn Edwards
For those of you wondering why I have not been advertising dates as promised for my American workshops in September/October I have been having a few (read panicing here!) blips with finding out the correct info for my Visa application. At last I have the relevant data as of Friday morning and have been told I may travel under the Visa Waiver Programme providing I have some relevant letters with me to produce in case of questioning. Whew, that is a HUGE load off my mind and now I am going to contact all my great friends and co-organisers during this week to re-open talks about potential workshops and venues. You WILL be the first to read confirmed details here and as a little taster I can reveal that I will be facilitating a ‘Complex Felt Bag’ workshop on 25th and 26th September at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA and a ‘Nuno Mosaic’ workshop on 27th September, also in The Tin Thimble, another ‘Complex Felt Bag’ workshop on 11th and 12th October in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a ‘Felted Accessories’ workshop on 13th October, also in Michigan. San Fransisco and hopefully Berkeley workshops will take place between 29th September and approx 8th October with something special in the pipeline for World Felt Day on 2nd October, watch this space!!!
Continuing on from yesterday, the next thing participants at Jeanette’s workshop did was sit down quietly for about 20 minutes to write down the thoughts and feelings evoked by talking about our objects and memories. At this stage we were also looking for a working title, this was not set in stone but could be ammended and adjusted through out the course of the process. Initially I jotted down ‘Isabella on my mind’ as a provisional title and by the end of the weekend decided to run with ‘In search of Isabella’ which I now hope to develop further into a body of work inspired by my grandmother and possibly other relatives in both Scotland and Ireland.
Natalie holding one of granny's beautiful silk scarves
Although I had brought quite a selection of granny’s silk scarves with me the one pictured here being held by Natalie is the most evocative for me colourwise, therefore this is scarf that I choose to cut up and rework into a new piece. It was a very nervous moment for me cutting into the beautiful hand rolled silk but once Jeanette had encouraged me to wield the sissors all was well and I got stuck in with a good will. Because I had such strong memories of my grandmother and a clear idea of where I wanted to go it was not difficult to select a bag as the project I wanted to felt basing the shape on the little suede jewellery pouch of hers I had brought with me. I know that sampling can be a very important part of any project but because I have been working a lot recently on bags and inclusions I decided to jump straight in and cut out the template having already planned where I was going to use the various cut outs from the silk scarf.
I wanted to use the largest flower motif intact in the inside of the bag and then nestle various pieces of silk within the wool before adding surface detail with more silk flowers and strips of the rolled edges. My idea was that the bag would be equally beautiful inside and outside, seen and unseen, and I was further going to embellish the surface with both raw and dyed flax (linen) fibres. To be cont …..