Monday, March 29, 2010

With No Particular Place to Go

For the past several months I've been working on this piece very sporadically. I think it is because I've no particular place to go with it. It is just a piece that I am working on that may or may not be functional. I simply have no end goal in mind.

It is hand dyed silk gauze, measures about 40 inches wide and about 96 inches long. After I dyed it, I thought I would just put wisps of wool, in many colors all over the piece, in my usual random fashion. These photos are not showing the finished product, just what I've accomplished (as pitiful as it is!) so far. The first photo shows the wool colors I've used, the second and third show the reverse side. There is something very sensual about piece to me. I something think it would be a great shawl, or an over dress with a black slip under it, me out. Got ideas? I'm wide open to anything right now, so if you have an idea, please share.

I'll be working on this today as I can do it in small bits. My gall bladder is killing me and I am doing to a cleanse/purge. Need to keep it simple today.


Suzanne's late entry: It turned into a wrap! Who knew? I did finish applying the fibers to the silk, slowly, small area at a time. I wanted to keep the look very random both in color and texture. After is was well felted together into the silk, I rinsed completely and placed it in my dryer on "air only" for about 20 minutes to further bind it together and give it deeper, more complex texture. I love it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two Days in the Bag

This is a bag that I am uncertain about, love the color, love the handles, took two days to make it. I used a resist that was too large for the shrinkage that I should have figured into the bag. I think it is the shape that is throwing me off a bit on the bag, there is something about the asymmetrical and the symmetrical that is not working for me. I think the flap needs to be longer, the do-dad shortened. But I learned a lot making this bag. This wool was from an older sheep, and was full of spinning oil. It made the felting process much longer than it needed to be and the rinsing long. It did take the dye very well though. I used Jacquard Dyes in the crock pot. It was a combination of Aztec Gold and Burnt Orange. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the bag. I just wish I like it more than I do.

I am taking the next few days to work in the flower beds, getting them cleaned out of old leaves, removing the myrtle that has over grown every where, just enjoying the wonderful weather that we are having here in southwest Michigan. It has been wonderful

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Long Time Ago, In A Place far Away ...

A long time ago, in a place far (well actually only three hours away) lived a much younger girl than I am, who had an eight acre hobby farm , where she raise milking goats, her favorite was named Peggy, rabbits, chicken and geese. The girl was supremely happy milking goats, feeding chicken and geese and rabbits. Each Spring, that girl would order the chicken catalog. When it arrived, she would sit down at her kitchen table with a full cup of coffee and begin the joyous task of selecting baby chicks. Now, this was no easy task, to be sure. Several cups of coffee might be needed before the final selection was made. This girl ordered only two chicken from about 50 different birds of the hundreds of breeds available in the catalog. Within two weeks after the selection was completed, 100 baby chicks, Sweet Peeps, as her daughter called them, arrived. All of them looking exactly alike, yellow puffs of peeps. They were looked after with loving eyes, a warming lamp, feed, grit, water and lots of snuggles. Slowly, the peeps grew into young chicks and were moved from the garage to the small barn. There they learned many new things, like bugs are fun to eat! Now, all of the chicks began to look very different from each other, different coloring, different feathering, different sizes, different temperaments...and they all lived very happily together.............. until the boy chickens decided to be cocky and attack the much loved daughter because she was wearing a bright pink jacket. Then, that very day, all of the boys all became food for the mother and daughter ...who indeed, did live happily ever after. (...even after another boy named Jim showed up to court the mother, who she loved very much, married and moved away from her much loved farm, but, that's another story.)
These photos are not of that much loved farm. These photos are of Christee's farm where I picked up lamb for the freezer. I got to feed the lambs that required bottle feeding, shovel some manure , smell the barn, hang with Christee. The beautiful rooster prompted the hobby farm reminiscence . He was not cocky and did not attack anyone. I like him a lot!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finishing Touches + Touching the Future

Ms. Allison came over the play Thursday and we had great fun making felt together. She took one of the batts shown below in a previous post, and created a wonderful, light and airy felt. It turned out so nice. The white on it is from silk roving that was carded into the top layer of the batt. She is uncertain of what she'll make of the felt, but I for one, am sure that it will be wonderful.

After the felt making, we both work on some of the beading that we wanted to complete on several bags. I didn't get a photo of the one Allison was working on, but I did of mine. Allison's was all neatly planned out, well executed, mine a bit more random, of course. All in all, a great day in the adventures of felt making!

(Allison's beaded bag-late photo entry)

My sweet friend Suzanne Morgan, sent me an email about a blog post concerning blog posts. The writer spoke much about sharing 100%, not to hold back, to give details, hints, helps, etc. This is just such wonderful advise, and speaks so much to what my heart feels more and more these days. I recall early in my felting that I didn't want people to "copy" my work, but with some maturity, I soon realized that no one can copy someone else. If I teach a class of 10 people how to make a hat, and all of them will turn out different from each other. It is the technique that we teach, not how to create their own piece. That will come from within each individual person. As a teacher, to me, it is important to guide a person to successful understanding of what they are learning, to encourage them, assist them and encourage play, experimentation within the project. I so hope that I do that when I am teaching.

As a blogger, I think I fall sorely short in the giving it all away. I'm asking you to help me in that effort. Ask questions, leave comments, and I will do my very best to answer thoroughly, honestly, and to give my best advise. It is one of the best ways to touch the future of felt making. We all build on the expertise of someone else, the lessons we've learned through our own failures and success's. There is nothing new under the sun, it is only new to us when we first learn it. We set it free when we share it, teach it, explore it, love it, and watch it grow.

Off to explore!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pat's! and a bit of Irish Cheer!

Over the past few days I've continued to cleaning, but have also managed to sneak off to get some felting done. One of the batts that I created had some magnificent greens and green blues in it. It was made with hand dyed and commercially dyed merino, tencel, angora, and metallic fibers. I loved the color ways and decided to spread the batt very thin, and make it into a prefelt. It turned out soooo nice. Last night, I cut out the leaf pattern, then needle felted them into another large white merino prefelt. I did a variation on the layout, some of the leaves were left with the back up and others were left face up, hoping to achieve some interest in the piece. With a bit o'Luck, I'll make the time to wet felt this wrap today. I've also took one of the leaves, wet felted it down completely, and am going to bead it so that it can be used as a pin to hold the wrap in place. I so hope this turns out as I've planned. While cleaning, I found this spectacular hand spun yarn with beads and sequence in it. I've added it to the scarf for further texture and a happy garden effect.

Now, while I am not 100% Irish, the percent that is, loves this day. The music, the jokes, the blessings, the memories of my grandmothers and the lilt in the collective voices.
May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wonderful batts

As promised, I cleaned a LOT this past week and am so proud that I got so much done. Still feel like there are miles to go before I sleep, but have made progress. Yeah me!

Felt making? Did get one bag done this week. It has glass stones in the felt. I love the texture and the added weight to it. I'm awfully fond of the nutmeg color that I achieved in the dye pot. Very nice, warm color

I did up some wonderful batts this morning. They are made of mostly merino, some angora, a bit of mohair, lots of merino silk and some sparkles and twinkles too, just for fun. Got to get them all labeled and priced for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Gotta go back to work for now.
Shalom and hugs and thanks for popping onto the blog,

Monday, March 8, 2010

A very good week

It's been a great few days here. Had lunch with Dawn, of on Thursday, got to spend some play time with Ms. Allison on Friday, and 14 dear friends here for Sabbath dinner. It's been wonderful to relax and enjoy friends.
On Friday, Allison brought a needle felting machine with her, one she borrowed from a friend. Neither of us had used one before so we decided to try it out on one of the merino prefelts I have here. She took some of the colorfully dyed Northern Lights from Louet and did random placement of the roving onto the prefelt. What fun, and how fast! She had an art date with her boyfriend that evening and wanted to wear it. I think it looks wonderful on her. She is going to wet felt it later. We were both amazed at how fast the machine works. I am unsure, but I think I may try a few things on it as well.

I made two more bags, this blue one has a cell phone pocket on the front. I am finding that more and more, I look for cell phone pockets on bags, and thought I'd better start adding them to this series of bags. My camera also fits into the pocket nicely. There is another one drying right now, it is made of hot fuchsia and hot orange. It is nearly the same as this bag with the exception that it has a pocket on the inside as well. I used corriedale in the blend, and the texture is not as smooth as I had hoped. Looks like I'll go back to the merino/teeswater blend. I just like the surface far better.

I've carried this hat to a good many shows, with little attention paid to it. It was a muted rose color, simple elegance in style, but the color just did not lead itself to looking really great on any skin tone. So per my usual, it got the great dip into the dye pot. I over dyed it in chestnut first, then added burgundy and red. I love it so much, I may keep it. the colors are like a water color in the rain. This photo does not do it justice.

A few days ago I was trimming up my geranium plant, getting new starts for the upcoming spring season. When I cut off some of the main stack, one of the leaves fell off and landed near one of my scarves on the table below. I placed the leaf on the scarf and was shocked at how close the colors where. Can you see it? The leaf is in the upper right hand corner of the scarf. It was so cool to see these same colors in nature that I had put into my scarf. Just kind of cool. I love the dye pots! Wonderful things happen there!

I've got a lot of Spring Cleaning to get done. I need to get rid of clothes in the closet, things I'll never wear again and simply de-clutter my life. This will be the focus of the week.
I need to get back to hat making. 10 have sold this past week, so my hat stash is getting low, but for the next few days, got to get some stuff out of the house.

I hope you have a wonderful week exploring felt and the wonderful world all around us.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bag the Week

This week I've decided to simply focus on bags, with the intent of having some of them create "a look," coordinating with other felted items, like hats and scarves. Now whether that will happen as planned, is quite another thing.

I dyed all of the fiber, the hat is made of merino and angora, the scarf is merino and silk laminate felt and the bags are of a Lincoln - Teeswater cross blended with merino wool. The red bag on the right is my favorite. It is just really simple...and maybe that explains more than I should reveal here! I do like nice lines, simple lines fascinate me, straight skirt, simple sweater or top, simple jeans, nothing too flashy, but elegant. My all time favorite designer is Coco Channel...and that should explain the "simple" factor much better than I could ever put into words.

Now, about a couple of really cool events for feltmakers:

Summer International Felting Conference in Hungary

When: June 26- July 3.

Where: Magyarlukafa, this small Transdanubian village, near Pécs (about 50 km) with its capacities, and picturesque beauty provides an optimal venue for the workshop. István Vidák and Mari Nagy were the first felt-makers of the village, decades ago. Since that time felt-makers from all over Hungary have regularly gathered here in summer camps and workshops. This year is the first when we organize an international workshop, but we intend to found a tradition and hold annual workshops of high quality named: "The Present of Lambs" International Felt-art Symposium and Workshop.

Who is teaching: Seven felt artists have been invited to lecture and teach in the workshop:
Inge Evers felt artist (from the Netherlands) as a teacher ( spiritual felt, meditation, introspection, personal felt cards)
Dagmar Binder felt artist (from Germany) as a teacher (a combination of chiffon silk and fine merino, a kind of "painting" detailed ornaments with wool fibres on top of silk)
Judit Pócs felt artist (from Hungary) as a teacher (miniature sculptures)
Vanda Róbert felt artist (from Hungary) as a teacher (stitched, woven felts)
Marti Csille felt artist (from Hungary) as a teacher (felt jewellery combined with metal and embroidery)
Mari Nagy and István Vidák felt artists (from Hungary) as lecturers (They are going to lecture on their felt collecting field trips at Friday evening.)

The daily schedule:

8-9 Breakfast
9-12 Workshop
12-14 Lunch-break, siesta
14-18 Workshop
18-20 Dinner, relaxing
20- Lectures, discussions

Applications are handled in the order of arrival. It is worth applying soon, as the camp can accommodate max. 50 people. As accommodations differ in quality, the prices also differ.

Detailed information on accommodation is available at Márti Csille's website, application are welcome at the website of Kaptár Association and in e-mail.

Accomodation: 52 Euro / 7 nights in Tourist Lodging: 20 person: 7.50 Euro/night,
or 91 Euro / 7 nights in High quality private apartments: for 30 person: 13 Euro/night
Full board: breakfast, hot lunch and dinner / 8 days: 60 Euro
Tuition fee: 315 Euro
In the village you can purchase basic everyday products in a so-called move-around store, or in Szigetvár 20 kms away.
If you would like to take part in the event and finalize your application, you may do so by paying half of the fee earmarked for tuition and participation. Please transfer the amount by the 1st of May, 2010. After receiving your application, we will give you the bank account number.

Márti Csille (Felt artist, the art director of the Felt Art Workshop) :
Kata Lovas (President of Kaptár Association, the director of the Felt Art Workshop) :
H.- 7925. Magyarlukafa, F u. 44.
and Zsuzsa Laskai
Would that be great to attend, or what? I would so love to go!

The Midwest Felting Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin July 21-25.

This event is one of my personal favorite events of the entire year. I am so excited by the teaching line up this year, including Vilte! I love her work, her sense of style and whimsy along with great elegance in all of her felt works. See some of her work here:
If you get a chance to go take a peek at the website for MFS, be sure to sign up for classes. I think this year will fill pretty fast. Now, I've got to decide what classes to take! Too many great choices!

That's it for now, back to the dye pots and the felting table!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March! YEAH!

I love winter, get to wear wool, hats, sweaters, things I love to wear. I enjoy the white of snow, the quiet, the coolness of weather, the starkness of the trees, but not so much the shoveling of the quiet, white stuff. March is here, the sun is coming up earlier, the moon is setting full. March is so unpredictable here, and I love that.

My friend Christee grows wool, lincoln-teeswater cross long wool. I have about 3 pounds of it and have been busying dyeing some of it. This was dyed in deep, blood, red. After it was dry, I began to blend it with some merino. I did it at about a 70/30 ratio, with the merino the 30%. I blended two ounces of the blood red with red merino, then another two with brown merino, then another two ounces with pinks. All of these are used in this bag, and the color play has been great fun. The camera doesn't capture the colors. I've enjoyed making this bag.

This is just a sack bag, no pockets, just simple resist. It measures about 12x12 inches. I am hoping to get more wool from Christee, it felts heavenly fast, dyes beautifully. It is a long wool, so it is course, idea for outer wear, wonderful for heavy use, perfect for making more bags. I think I will focus on bags this week.

Happy March!