WET FELT FLORALS @ ART VAN GO

Wow, what an incredible 2 day workshop @ Art Van Go, Knebworth. Yes, it was a long way to go for a workshop, and Yes I am CRAZY!! Crazy, but dedicated to learn more of my craft.

Having had more or less no exposure to Felt making, and none to wet felt making, I undertook the challenge with gusto. Luckily, I had been in contact with the tutor, Ray Reynolds, for the last 6 months, so I I knew what I wanted to explore within this workshop. Ray had brought in a range of coloured felt yarns and an assortment of wondrous materials that I had not been fortunate yet to use:

WOOL NIPPS, RAFIA HUSKS, SILK THREADS, REMNANT COTTONS AND SYNTHETICS, NYLON COPPER, SARI SILK THREAD & ANGELINA FIBRES.

I decided that I would continue with my (Busy Blooms) Gender Fluid theme, and purposely chose colours that could represent both men and women.

The process involved brushing a few hues of blue felt together, using of all things 2 dog slicker brushes!! The brushes are used to combine the felt colours to create a wonderful fusion of the chosen colours, not to mention a far more even colour than if placing the individual felts on top of each other.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: WATER SPRINKLE BULB, BUBBLE WRAP, PLASTIC MESH SHEET, A BAMBOO PLACE MAT, WARM WATER & AN OLIVA SOAP BAR.

The felt was arranged (over bubble wrap) with chosen fabrics, threads, nipps and yarns and sprinkled with warm water via the water sprinkle bulb until saturated. Mesh matt was placed over top and olive soap rubbed over the mesh surface until lathered and soapy. The felt was flattened by wrapping the bubble wrap within the bamboo place mat and rolled in one direction for 2-3 minutes one way and 2-3 minutes the other. The felt was then watered and lathered again and its edges pushed in and surface patted to allow shrinkage. There was something so incredibly receptively tactile about the wetting process…I loved it.

The first workshop day entailed wetting the felt in preparation for stitch the following day.

The texture, linear qualities, colours and patterns created by wet felting are beautiful. I really felt at one with the fabric when undertaking this technique. I can see myself becoming addicted to the serendipitous results of this wonderful medium.

DAY 2 – Now that the felt had dried overnight, it became time to incorporate a stitch element within the fibre. I was surprised to find how much more detailed the surface pattern was on the felt, initially I would have thought the result to be less vibrant and texturally rich.

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Free Machine Embroidery was used to embellish on top of the felt, specifically Straight and Zig-Zag Stitch. A lot of these designs are a little more stylised than I am used to, not to mention that the process of stitching onto/into felt was little alien to me; the raised surface became a little problematic to stitch over in places, but Ray told me that as I became more proficient in the rolling element of wet felting these problems would be ‘ironed out’. I will also endeavour to practice drawing with stitch; being able to draw proficiently with stitch will allow my ideas to metamorphose easily from concept to final design.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, and will endeavour to hone its many observational facets into my own practice.

 

RESEARCH: TEXTILE DESIGN & LIGHT

Found an incredible video on YouTube:

Decided to purchase a Light Box; research design ideas using surface pattern and shapes within the context of Light.

Have stumbled upon a fascinating website allowing further research between Textile Design & Lighting:

http://www.1-art-1.com/textile-art-light-gallery.html

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Mary Clarke-Buckle – Tokelau – Lagoon – size 50 x 36cm

I have e-mailed this lady to ask her if we could meet up and discuss her work, for research purposes and to gain invaluable knowledge over the construction of Acrylic, Felt and Lighting solutions.

SELF DIRECTED STUDY: FURTHER STITCH SAMPLE EXPLORATION

Had arranged with the girls….KAT, AISHA and KELSEY….to meet up today. The idea was to discuss ongoing ideas, share best practice and gain inspiration from each other, and that is exactly what we did.

I had prepared my own materials before travelling to Uni, using a range of synthetic fabrics to manipulate, embellish and deconstruct/reconstruct.

I began by experimenting with the Felt Embellishment Janome machine, and decided to test out how Polyester Chiffon fabric would react to a process reserved normally for Felt:

The results were rather surprising!! The 2-D fabric transformed into a sculptural 3-D cloth; fibres became evidently broken and distorted, which only made the experiment even more fruitful. This gave me the idea to manipulate fabric with the use of a Wing Needle, which strangely enough I have ordered already!!

Layering loose threads and yarns onto the Polyester Chiffon fabric and fusing together with the use of the Felt Embellishment machine. Subconsciously I had picked up the threads and yarns that encapsulated the essence of Mulholland Drive. The process of punching through thread and yarn was extremely satisfying, not to mention created an abstract interpretation of the real painting. I LOVE IT!! I learnt that the more sheer the fabric, the more the fabric would distort; a thicker fabric may retain it’s shape better? Could you imagine this as a rug? WOW.

Juxtaposing colour via the use of Felt manipulation and free machine embroidery. The layers of felt were strategically placed and punched into the fabric to mirror the layered blocks of colour in my chosen painting. Felt is an incredibly versatile material, it can be moulded into many shapes and patterns; perfect for this project.

Once the felt was punched into the fabric, I embellished the surface with cotton thread (punched into fabric) and free machine embroidery was used to embellish. The colours chosen were purposely picked either to harmonise or contrast against the colour of the felt.

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My final sample of the day involved an already pre-prepared screen print (produced before Christmas). Although I love the simplicity and vibrancy of the print, I wanted to jazz it up with the use of untrue contrasting thread and harmonising pearl cotton. I used my imagination to capture the energy of flora in real life and combined it with the stylisation of Hockney, resulting in a kineticism expressed within my own visual handwriting.