Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wet Felted Vessels

I've been asked to teach again. (Yay!) This time it will be wet felted vessels for adults. Here are a few samples. These were made on 5-7" inflatable balls. I've started experimenting with shaping these small vessels instead of leaving them round.
The proprietor asked if I could come up with a more catchy name for the class, and I agree"wet felted vessels" doesn't sound all that glamorous. Ideas anyone? I googled, and almost everyone lists similar classes as "wet felted vessels" or something very close.
I am trying to stay productive. Two more vessels are laid out ready for felting, and I'll also try out some scarf ideas that have been simmering in my head for some time. If I accomplish that this week, I'll be pleased.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Making felt while the sun shines

I'm taking advantage of good weather, healthy children, and a strange abundance of energy to get things done. Channel One, the local food bank, will be having a fundraiser in October called Empty Bowls. Artists donate hand crafted bowls, which are auctioned, sold, or given to people attending a soup supper. Here is one bowl I will donate.
I also finished 2 scarves. I would call them laminated scarves, I think. I knit the scarves in a very loose stitch on large needles. These I used as the base for wet felting. One is done in a window style, with patches of knitting left uncovered by the layers of wool. The other is felted into a solid layer of merino/silk. The pictures are quick and dirty, but the scarves came out well.

If everything keeps running so smoothly, I will be able to get a lot of work done.
I was also asked if I wanted to teach an adult felting class (vessels again). So I need to put together a proposal quickly, and make up some samples.
Happy Felting everyone!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some Felting Pictures

I am busily getting ready for Fabrications V at Crossings in Zumbrota (December) and also for a little art/craft show that is put on at the Rochester Athletic Club in December. Here are some of the things I've made lately. I've really enjoyed working with some new fibers, especially some multicolored merino top from Frabjous Fibers.

Here is a really beautiful scarf in colorway Tango. It also has a little silk embellishment. This one would make a nice warm coat scarf.

This second scarf is also in Tango with silk embellishment. It is very thin and lightweight, maybe a nice little accent scarf with a blouse.

This scarf in whites, is another of my romantic series that has lace embedded into it along with various yarns, all bound together with some white merino/silk blend.
For this scarf, I used Optim white merino---ultra fine! It has a sparkly white yarn running through it, with just a touch of color to embellish it.

I am really pleased with this vessel. The outside is a multicolored silk cap. Just underneath is a sparkling layer of Angelina. Blue and purple layers of wool make up the body.
More functional items--these can be potholders or trivets or table toppers.
I was playing around with needle felting and came up with these flowers. I haven't decided quite how to use them. They'd make pretty pins, or embellishments for other pieces.

And a few more vessels.
This one is extra tiny. It started out as a round scrap-the leftover top from cutting open a small vessel. I steamed it and shaped around the smallest cup I could find. It would make a cute ring holder. It is about 2 inches tall.

Here is the last picture. This vessel has been sitting around for awhile, waiting for inspiration to strike for its final form. I steamed it and started stretching it, and it decided it wanted to be square instead of round. I like it much better this way.

So there you have it. More pictures and less blathering, as promised!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A little felting here and there

I've managed to sandwich some felting in between all the activity of Children #1-5 starting school and Child #6 discovering that crayons can write on just about anything. I'm trying to stay organized, both in the home-management arena, and in the art arena. Specifically, I'm trying to stay organized enough to have time to get some felting done. Oddly, I seem to find time on the weekend when everyone is around. It might have something to do with DH being home to help with child management.
Today, I tried a cobweb scarf using Frabjous merino top in Tango, adding a little silk to it. It has nice blues and greens with a little pink here and there. It came out nicely, and is a smaller size, perhaps to wear with a blouse. I've never been a scarf person myself, but I do like making them. Maybe I'll learn to carry off the style, if I make enough of them. Same for hats.
Another item I tried lately was felted buttons. First I made some prefelts (partial felts), then needle felted them around a large cheap button, then wet felted to finish. Come to think of it, there is picture of the first button I made in a past post with my mini-handbag. It can be attached to an item by sewing through the holes in the button, even though the holes are covered with felt.
I also tried using button forms, the kind you buy at the fabric store, which are intended to be covered with fabric. I made some thin felt (not prefelt), and covered the little metal "blank" with it. It does look nice. There is a shank on the back, rather than holes.
I've seen buttons online that I believe are made entirely out of wool, rather than having a form inside. I might try that, too.
Earlier in the week, I made a pot holder with leaves on it. First, I needle felted the leaves to a soft stage, like a prefelt. Then layed them out with the wool, and wet felted the whole thing together. The leaf shapes shrunk a little too much for my taste. I should have made them bigger to start with. I used a stencil of a leaf to get the shape, and it was not very large. I looked for some large leaf shaped cookie cutters, and stencils to use as templates, but haven't found any I like.
I've started a vessel, which has silk cap on the outside, and Angelina trapped between the cap and the layers of wool. It is very sparkly, but I need to finish shaping it.
I have a list of things I want to complete in the next month or two. I plan to participate in a small show in December, as well as the Fabrications exhibit at Crossings in December. I'd also like to make some bowls to donate to Channel One's Empty Bowls fundraiser next month, and I'm toying with the idea felting over a chair for the Chair Affair fundraiser in February to benefit the Boys and Girls Club. There is also a Pursenality fundraiser to benefit Breast Cancer research that I could make a felt purse for.
If I could manage to be more productive, I'd consider joining SEMVA, which is a co-op for artists. Exhibiting artists pay for their space, so I'd have to justify that expense by making and selling enough items to pay for the space. And since "work" takes a backseat to being chauffeur, nurse, cook, laundress, wife, and mom, I haven't been able to maintain productivity consistently. Having an Etsy shop is another idea I'm toying with.
In the meantime, I am signing up for a nuno scarf class at The Fiber Studio in St. Paul (Minneapolis?) that will be taught by Judy McDowell of Misty Meadow Icelandics. And that reminds me that I also tried to make a nuno shawl using a wrap I bought second hand. It came out OK, but I'm not sure I'm satisfied with it. I've read so many instructions on line and in books on making laminated felt (nuno), but there is nothing like having an instructor to answer questions. How much (little) fiber works best? How long do you roll it (or do you rub it first)? When is it done? Is it fulled enough? I had all those questions PLUS the wrap I used bled black dye like nobody's business, and was too big for the bamboo shade, bubble wrap and muslin I have. The polyester sheeting I ended up using was soooooo slippery!
I promise more pictures and less blathering in my next post.