Friday, January 27, 2012

Nuno Felted Book Cover

 This is a book cover that I made last summer but never finished. It was a practice piece for another project and it just happened to fit my paper stitch book perfectly. The purple portion of the flower is felted to the cover and was a pre-felt. The cover was made with merino and cotton 'harem' cloth. The cloth was covered on both sides with wool and a resist was used to make the pocket that the front cover of the book slides into.
 I added hand stitching, mainly button hole and chain stitch. But there are also a few straight stitches and some french knots. The leaves are done with chain stitch used as a filling stitch. It's still pretty plain and I may add other flowers and leaves at a later date but right now I'm happy with it.
 I added a hook and eye type closure, the kind that is made to go on trousers.
Here's the inside showing the first page of my stitch book. It's a little wonky in places but it helps to keep the book closed as it tends to bulge open a bit with all the stitching on the pages.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cottage Garden

 This is a photo of a needle point piece that my mother made in 1988. It hangs with a companion piece made by my father over our bed. I have always loved this look into a cottage garden. I needed to do another distorted cross stitch piece for my home work for Level II stitch class so I chose this needle point piece as my inspiration. The original needle point is 11" x 15" and the cross stitch piece was to be 3" x 3.75" so I decided to make the garden a bit simper and leave out all the buildings.
 Here is what I started with as a background. I fused these pieces down to the background.
Here's the end result. I used distorted cross stitch throughout except on the wall and the cobblestone path. I used straight stitch for those. I didn't like the color of the wall after I got finished so I darkened it up a bit with Inktense pencils. I'm pleased with the results and actually liked doing this one better than the first because I had an inspiration to follow. Does it look like a garden to you?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Printing with Veggies

 Our local surface design group met today and we printed with veggies and fruit on to fabric and paper. We used mainly textile paints. This first one is a tomato print by Jan.
 This is by Louise and I think is spinach leaves and some type of frond that Jan brought from a flower arrangement she was going to throw away.
 This is also Louise's and is a cabbage print surrounded by spinach leaves.

 Here is the cabbage with paint on it. This was one of our favorite veggies to use as a stamp.
 Here Carole used the cabbage to print a silk scarf. She is going to over dye this and then may do more printing on top of that.
 This is a pear print that Carole did on a piece of rusted paper.
 Here is a cabbage print that I did. I hope to add some hand stitch to all of my pieces if I have time.
 This is a celery rose. The rose buds are printed with dates and the stalk with green beans!
 This piece has cabbage, pepper, plum, apple, pomegranate and onion prints.
 This one is pear prints covered with cabbage prints. We had a great time!
 These next photos are of a round robin project we have been working on for the last 4-5 months. Each of us took a piece of canvas and painted the background. Then it was passed on to the next person and each member added to the piece. This was supposed to be the last go round but mine didn't get finished. This one is Bunny's. She started with a yellow ochre background and then drew the flower shape on with a Sharpie. Louise used Dye-na-Flow paint and painted the flower. I added all the rest. Carole didn't work on this but did the "other half" which you'll see later. I added many layers of thinned acrylic paints, a poem to  make the stamens on the flower and lots of alcohol ink.
 This one is Carole's piece. She painted the purple and green background. Louise added the gold fern leaves with a stencil. I added the other leaves with alcohol ink and Bunny added the butterflies.
 This is the other half of Bunny's. Carole did the background and then Louise added stenciled leaves and the gold grid.
 This is Louise's piece. She did the grey background. I added the rust and black color in swirls. Bunny added the leaves with oil paint sticks and Carole added the branches. Doesn't it look like a windy fall day?
This is my piece. I used black gesso and then added hand made paper scraps with a bit of white paint over some of them. Carole added the swirly lines. Louise said she could figure out what to do with it and Bunny skipped a month so didn't do anything on mine. I told Louise to add color so she is going to work on it and then give it to Bunny. I'll show you the finished piece when it gets completed.

The round robin was really fun and I think the finished pieces turned out well. It was hard to work on someone elses piece of "art" but it certainly was a learning experience!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resist for the Tangerine Hat

I had a question about the resist shape that I used to make the tangerine hat in my last post about the felting class I will be teaching. Here's a photo of the actual resist. The yellow hat form in the center of the resist gives you an idea of how big it is. The hat is sitting on this form in the photo in the last post. I always find that making a resist very simple and then adding structure to the hat with shaping is the easiest way to go. If you'd like to learn more about hat making and you'll be in the Kalispell area, sign up for my class at Camas Creek Yarns.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Felt Hat Class

I am going to be teaching felting classes at Camas Creek Yarns in Kalispell, MT. The first class is scheduled for February 10th and will be about hat making.

You'll learn how to make a pattern and design your own hat. We'll be using short fiber merino batt so it will felt quickly and easily. That way we can spend more time on developing your own unique hat and shaping it to fit. If you're in the area and would like to learn about hat making, here's the link where you can sign up. Just look down the list, find my class and click on the Register Now button. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fiber Give Away at the Felting and Fiber Studio

Karen is doing our first give away at The Felting and Fiber Studio. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on her post. Go check it out!

Edited to fix link - it works now :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friday's Dyeing Session

 For my stitch class, I needed to do a dyeing session at home. I usually only use acid dyes since I mainly dye wool and silk. For the assignment I needed to use Procion MX Dyes. So I mixed up a set of dyes and here I am about to start. You can see my color notebook on the left where I was working out different color combinations.
 I dyed a bunch more cotton threads and here they are all rolled up in plastic batching. I did try dyeing some wool thread and using vinegar to soak instead of the soda ash. Ann (Shepherdess) had suggested it. I've tried the wool thread with Procion MX before but soaked in soda ash and they don't turn out very well. But this worked, they aren't quite as bright as they would be with acid dyes but they still have a lot of color left. Before, I always ended up with very pale colors.
 Here are some of the fabrics that I painted. These will be used for our stitch samples. I dyed linen, muslin, cheesecloth, commercial felt, silk organza, burlap and cotton organdy.
 Here are the threads after rinsing and drying.  I wanted more purples and greens to round out my colors of thread that I now have.
Don't you just love the colors? The turquoise one at the bottom left is the wool thread. Now I just need to iron all the fabric and wind all the thread into balls.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Focus in 2012

Last year, instead of making goals, I chose a word for the year. I saw this first on Christine Kane's blog and she explains about choosing a word in her post Resolution Revolution.  I like that the word you choose is related to everything in your life as it is about "being" instead of "doing". Keeping one word in the forefront of your thoughts is much easier than trying to remember a list of resolutions. Last year, my word was "choose". I did get a lot done last year in relation to my fiber arts, I was happy with the choices I made and I want to keep moving forward in that same vein. While I was looking at the list of possible words that I might choose for 2012 on Christine's blog, I came across several that spoke to me. I wrote those words down and my list included clarity, focus, mastery and discipline.  After I looked at these words for a few minutes, it seemed to me that all four of the words fit under the word focus. Focus has several meanings including the center of interest, to adapt to the prevailing light and become able to see clearly, to concentrate or to think about closely. So for the coming year, I will be thinking about focus and how that relates to fiber art.

 I also have a list of intentions that I want to accomplish during the year. I'm not sure how I'll get them all done but I'm sure if I focus...

  • Continue the Level II Hand and Machine Stitch course
  • Promote my book when it comes out in August
  • Begin teaching felting classes at a local yarn store
  • Investigate future teaching possibilities (felting/fiber art) at the local community college
  • Mentor artists through the Montana Arts Council program at the store about the business of art
  • Participate fully in our new virtual studio The Felting and Fiber Studio
  • Continue exploring the combination of hand and machine stitching with felting
  • Begin making video fiber art tutorials (which I'm sure will involve more than I think it will)
  • Learn more about Photoshop and use it more frequently
  • Continue to explore surface design including more eco-printing with leaves with my local group
  • Begin researching and planning for The Yurt Project

Now if you were paying attention, you might be saying "What yurt project?" I have really wanted to make a yurt  in the traditional way with a felt covering for a long time. It will be a ton of work and I'm sure I won't get it all done this year. But I'm going to start working on it this year. I have already gotten some books from the library and my hubby is going to help with the frame construction. I may see if I can involve some school groups or civic organizations and teach more people about felting. The idea is still brewing but I'm excited about moving forward with the idea.

What are your plans for 2012? I'd love to hear about them.