The 2021 first quarter challenge from the Felting and Fibre Studio going out to all felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists is to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909.
Normally, with so many possibilities, I would spend quite some time looking at the different options but this time I knew instantly where I would be taking my inspiration from. It would be the book Art Forms in Nature which consists of stunning illustrations by the German biologist and professor of zoology, Ernst Haeckel. These illustrations were first published in 1904 and so fit the brief perfectly!
Haeckles illustrations have provided a source of inspiration for many designers and artists over the years starting with the Art Nouveau movement and continuing today.
A recurring shape seen throughout this book is the hexagon, hardly surprising as it’s everywhere we look in nature……from the basalt pillars of the Giants Causeway to honeycomb, it’s also found in the eyes of insects, tortoise shells, algae, fish scales and microscopic Protozoa…..the list goes on and on!
The first was a very simple form which can be open or closed.
The second was created using exactly the same template and resist but what was negative space on the top layer in the first sample became positive space in the second, creating a totally different look.
If you are interested in joining in this particular challenge, or any future challenges, or if you simply want to see what others have created you can find details on the Felt and Fibre Studio website
I’ve currently got a thing for pebbles so thought it would be nice to create a Pebble Necklace. This has been wet Felted using grey and lichen superfine Merino and white Silk. It features hand stitched Colonial knots and is finished with a bronze coloured metal chain and fastener.
This Rock Pool with Seaweed is approximately 33cm x 38cm. It has been made using Bergschaf fibres for the background and rocks, Merino for the seaweed and Angelina for the water. The barnacles are hand embroidered Colonial Knots.
This is a hat I made last weekend in Ipswich where I attended a wonderful wet felting workshop with international feltmaker Annemie Koenen. Annemie had come over to the UK from her home in the Netherlands to deliver a three-day workshop for Region 7 of the IFA and I wasn’t going to miss it as it’s always a real pleasure to work with her.
The wool I used was a beautiful Merino and silk blend which Annemie dyes in her studio. This is only my third hat and it’s been fascinating making them as each one has involved a different technique, learnt from different tutors. This design is by far the most flamboyant and I’m looking forward to showing it at the Big Textile Show at the end of the month.
I’m writing this sitting in my B&B in Stoney Stanton having just eaten a delicious meal in Nemos Bar. I travelled down here last night ahead of a two day workshop with Mandy Nash to make experimental sculptural forms. The workshop is being held in Arnesby, a small village just south of Leicester.
Examples of Mandy’s sculptural work
This morning Mandy began by showing us some of her wonderful wet felted objects, including hats, bags and funky fish, and explaining how the various 3 dimensional shapes were achieved. Several of the bags and vessels had been created using “book resists” and this was the method we were going to be working with. In addition Mandy talked us through the various surface design techniques she uses and demonstrated how we could achieve these effects using Bergschaf wool batts. Most of the ladies chose to make a fish and the following photos show their work in progress.
Georgina and I chose to make a vessel and treat it as a sampler, using the various surface treatments on each of the sides.
Georgina applying resists for surface decoration
This is my three sided vessel taking shape…..
It was full day and a lot of fun but none of us have finished our pieces yet so I will post an update on how things turned out tomorrow.
A couple of days ago I discovered a wonderful American felt artist by the name of Lisa Klakulak. Her work is incredible and you can see her website here. After seeing her wonderful wet felted jewellery I was inspired to have a go at making something for myself. My first attempt was a bangle made from grey and yellow Merino wool tops. I was disappointed with how it turned out, bulky and crude looking, so stripped it apart and started again.
The second time round I free machined the felt using grey and copper coloured metallic thread and replaced the yellow felt ball with a silver metal button. I used the second strip of grey/lemon felt, again with the metallic stitching and metal button, to make a matching asymmetrical necklace. This time I’m happy with the result!
It’s a wet Bank Holiday in Lincolnshire and to cap it off I am full of cold so doing a bit of felting in between the hot drinks and sniffles! These Merino purses, made with a resist, are an ideal size for glasses cases and a good way to use up oddments of fibres which I seem to have a lot of. I’ve embellished them with tiny bits of silk, sari waste and more Merino and finished off with a button closure.
Merino Wool Purses, ideal for use as a glasses case.
I’ve just made an experimental piece as I wanted to answer a friend’s question which was “will PVA stiffen felt”? I created a very quick wet felted bowl using a single layer of grey Norwegian wool which was lightly felted and then soaked in a 50/50 solution of PVA and water. It was placed over an upturned glass bowl until it dried out. It isn’t rock hard but certainly stiff enough to give it some body. I can’t say that I particularly like it as a finished piece, so it will probably get washed out and recycled, but the PVA did its job so my friend got their answer and I’ve learnt something for future use.