When I began felting a few months ago I hadn’t imagined that it was going to turn out to be this much fun and this addictive! At some point in the not too distant future I will have to do some housework, phone some friends and generally catch up with all the stuff I have shelved while I have been enjoying myself! In the meantime I thought I would share the two pictures I have just done. Both of these started out as wet felted backgrounds (Merino tops onto muslin fabric) and then I added detail with needle felting and free motion embroidery. When they were finished I found that I liked the reverse of the pictures as much as the front…they had a real ‘sketchy ‘ quality to them. I sometimes forget to lower the foot before embroidering so I tend to get the ‘birds nest’ effect on the back of my work. If I can get my head around not doing this I will get a neater finish and be able to use the reverse of a picture as the front.
Floral picture using wet and dry felting and machine stitching.
The second picture was inspired (albeit very loosely!) by Ruth’s Jackson Pollack challenge on the Felting and Fibre website. I looked at some of his work and really liked the colour combination of Yellow Grey Black. With this in mind I planned my background using three shades of grey and mixed the lightest of these with a flesh tone to warm it up a bit (remember I did say very loosely inspired!).
Fibres laid out ready for felting – three shades of grey and a flesh tone to add a little warmth.
So here is the finished article….I realise it was a bit of a cop-out to do flowers (yet again) but you can’t say I am not consistent!
Reverse side of Yellow Poppies.
Sheila’s Needle felted landscape.
I have recently been helping my friend Sheila with a project she has been working on, a needle felted landscape, using one of my pictures (see banner heading) as her inspiration. It was really nice to work on this together, trying out different materials and bouncing ideas around. The hills are a mixture of merino top, knitting wool, fine netting and free machine quilted fabric. Rather than being 2D, we made the tree 3 dimensional which gives added interest to the piece. The trunk was needle felted as a separate element, and then placed over a sausage shape of wadding before being anchored to the background. Tapestry wool was used for the branches and also to depict vines growing up the tree trunk. I have to say I love Sheila’s version – it’s very colourful and vibrant and looks great in its frame.
Every other Monday a group of local ladies, myself included, meet at the Community Centre in Horncastle. Our one common bond is that we all enjoy doing crafts of one sort or another, whether its knitting & crochet, patchwork & quilting, felting, rag rug, lace making, cross stitch…..the list is endless! For a couple of hours we chat and work on our individual projects, sharing a mutual enthusiasm for all things handmade. Today was ‘show and tell’ which involved everyone bringing something they had created and showing it off to the group. There is such a lot of talent around, and so much of this creative work would otherwise be hidden away, that I thought I would put together a collage of some of the pieces to share with you, I hope you enjoy them.
A few examples of the fabulous craft work on display at the Community Craft gathering.
More exciting news on the felting front….my brooches and key rings are going on sale at the Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle from tomorrow. There will be a mixture of large wet felted brooches and smaller dry felted gifts to choose from. The Sir Joseph Banks Centre is the home of the Sir Joseph Banks Society where visitors will find information on the life and the amazing work of one of our most famous and respected explorers. The Society is very proud to have Sir David Attenborough as its president and the building it occupies houses a growing reference library and is working towards establishing a research centre.
The building also boasts a thriving gift shop, run by volunteers, and crammed with all sorts of beautiful gifts. There are a mixture of “bought in” and hand crafted items, with a lot of the stock being created on the doorstep by talented, local artists/crafters. From pictures, jewelry, ornaments, clothing, accessories, etc., you name it and they probably have it! So if you are in the Horncastle area and looking for unique gift ideas be sure to give this shop visit!
A selection of my handmade wet and dry felted brooches and keyrings.
Beautiful gifts for the home on sale at the Joseph Banks shop.
The shop is crammed with great gift ideas for Christmas!
Last Saturday I attended a 3D needle felting workshop in Heighington run by Robyn Smith of Feltybits. Robyn began by showing us various peices of her fabulous 3D work and she explained the different techniques of producing the shapes. We were then asked to chose what we would like to work on and Robyn supplied us with the Merino wool and all the help and advice we needed. One of the peices we were shown was a tiny toadstool which immediately took me right back to my childhood and the many hours I spent drawing toadstools and elves! The workshop lasted four hours and it took me all that time to do the basic toadstool and elves body but I loved every minute of it. Sunday afternoon I was in my element – adding the details including the tiny flowers and the ladybird and putting features and clothes onto the elf. I was so pleased with the result….I am now even more hooked on felting, if that’s possible.!!
3D Toadstool and Elf created using Merino wool.
This beautiful 3D picture was one of several produced by Sheila during our needle felting workshops. Sheila worked with Merino wool and other mixed fibres, on a white felt background, to create a stunning autumnal scene. The picture focuses on the fallen leaf which was felted separately and added loosely in order to create a 3D element to the artwork. Felt is a fantastic medium for creating pictures – you don’t have to have the ability to paint but once you have mastered the basic techniques of felting you can produce fabulous artwork using the wool as your paint substitute. Adding other mediums such as organza or tulle fabrics, metallic threads, beads, etc. can also provide interest and added depth to your work. Keep watching for more great examples of felting produced in our workshops.
Needle felted autum leaf – 3D picture.
Last weekend I was invited to host a Needle Felting Workshop for a group of friends as part of a birthday celebration. Its a great idea for a group activity which is fun, creative and results in everyone learning a new skill. The ladies were shown how to felt using Merino wool and were supplied with lots of other materials and threads to use as embellishments. Non of the group had tried this before but at the end of the session everyone took away a beautiful, unique hand made brooch of their own design. I hope you all enjoyed the afternoon and look forward to seeing some of you ladies again at future workshops.
Sometimes we find inspiration when we are really not looking for it…. On Monday I watched in amusement as a friend of mine sheared “Lady”, a little terrier, giving her coat a close-cut number “2”. I couldnt help thinking of the Specsavers advert and that poor sheepdog! Thinking of sheep led me to wonder if I could use the curly dog hair, that was now covering the floor, for felting….and if so, wouldnt it be cool to make a needle felt 3D model of the dog and cover it with its own hair? A quick look on youtube to get some tips on how to form the body and I discovered DIY Puppy Plushie….a couple of hours later we have “Lady” in miniature. Rather than waste my Merino I used polyester wadding for the core but have since been advised by a very helpful lady at Adelaide Walker that Cheviot wool makes a good base. The Cheviot’s on order so I am now looking for inspiration for my next project.
Needle felted miniature dog
Needle felting using dog hair.