So I’m back after a little hiatus to finish up the school year and get my messy house in order. There has been a lot going on, so I will have to take a few days to get through it all.
To start with, I’d like to take you on a little tour of our textiles show at the college. I wish I could take you there in person, it’s such a vibrant room to stand in, you can hardly leave in a bad mood.
Here are the collection of scarves which hang in the middle of the room. You can see my nebula scarf toward the left, as well as some other sky-inspired pieces made by my classmates. Toward the back in white and red are a couple of devoré/discharge scarves made by the graduating class.
Next we see some stunning felt corsets (completely seamless!) made by my comrades in arms. Next store some fellow with marvelous taste is checking out my “Brief History of Written Communication” paper quilt.
Next in line are the repeat patterns designed and painted in gouache by my surface design class. My blimps are in the middle with a stippled paint technique, and the other girls chose the embroidery-look technique.
These are a collection of ethnographic samples from the fibre arts group. They are basically contemporized versions of traditional symbols. They are felted, sewn together, and embroidered.
These next are some incredible felt scarves by Alexandra Keely. They remind me of seaweed.
Also reminiscent of seaweed, this time the pods that you snap between your fingers, is this piece by Holly McGee. This picture hardly does it justice. In each pod there are little surprises of stitching and pearls.
These are a couple of capes, the blue one by Jenna Brayall. She has felted directly onto silk organza, and has sewn tiny little beads down the front for an extra bit of whimsy. Way in the back you can see a canvas floor mat printed with a croc and balloons, which was made by a second-year surface student.
Here is a lovely woven piece, second year fibre arts I believe. It iappears both delicate and warm, quite a feat. Beside it are the blankets woven by first and second years.
Here are my nursery rhyme pieces. My ladybug is upside down but she doesn’t really mind, being on fire can be confusing. Next to them are completed nursery rhyme repeat patterns by Stevie Holyoke. At the front is a paper dress by Miss Keely made from little notes and scraps. I suspect it has a story I don’t know it yet.
And lastly we have some woven scarves, delightful felted boots, and woven/felted festival poncho. These are all by first year fibre arts I believe. At the back are some batiked silk kerchiefs, and entering stage right, a blur monster.
It was a show we were all so proud of, and wildly successful to boot. I’ve never seen so many at an opening at our school gallery. The show is aptly named as it is beautifully textural, and the skill in our department really shines through. Yay us!
I’ve finished my nebula scarf! It was relatively quick and easy once I took the time out. At first I was really unhappy with it (silliness!), but now I am in love. I think a lot of the problem was that the colours were dulled when wet so it didn’t really pop.
I strive for realism, and it’s hard to let go of that banana. Felt is hardly a photographic medium so it is a good exercise in letting go. The colours are spot on, and I think I captured the overall “nebulous-ness” of the source photo.
I dyed a ton of wool and other fibres beforehand in some really variegated acidwash dye pots. Don’t tell my teacher, but by the end I was just sprinkling dye in willy-nilly. When I felt I had the whole array of colours from the source photo, I let it dry and headed to school.
There I started my felt “painting”. I laid out little shingles of the wool (thanking my lucky stars that it hadn’t felted too much in the pot!) until I had covered a large rectangular area. Then I put another layer of shingles pointing in the opposite direction. With these two layers I created the background colours.
I put down a few gemstones between the layers, which would have played the part of the stars. They almost all ended up falling out when I beat the felt at the end, so I’ll know to make the felt thicker if I want to use that technique again. As it is I am happy with the thinness of the felt, it makes for a nice drapey scarf.
Once I had the background filled in, I put down some polyester organza for the nebula. It was orangey-brown to begin with, and I dyed it a little darker. Then I added some silk hankie in orange, pink, and white, to accentuate the edges and give that glow from behind. I also used some silk thread I had from fraying the Habotai strips for my Indigo line. Pack-ratting at its best.
The polyester areas are raised and dimpled, and all of the alternative fibres have a nice sheen. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a little light will shine through it, showing the really interesting patterns in the felt.
I’ve also finished my Indigo line, and couldn’t be happier. They have been whisked away for inclusion in the textiles show (this Thursday, 4-6!) so that will be a post for another day.
Thank you to everyone who voted on which pieces I should submit to the show! I happily went with your choices, the nursery rhymes and the blimps, as well as my paper quilt. I will be sure to take some pictures of my work in-situ.
I will be a little scarce the next week, wrapping up the school year. Have a nice day :) I sure did.
Made some neat felt samples last week. I love felting class. It’s really a full-body art form. Your arms are so tough by the end of the day and you have so much texture to show for it!
This one was a secondary fibre sample, a variety of different wools, silks, I can’t even remember what all. It is coloured with acidwash dyes in island blue.
And so with this one. As you can see the colour is very uneven, by design. This is accomplished by putting very little water in your dye pot, stirring it not at all, and never letting it boil too robustly. Oh, and it’s best if you use a dye that is a mix of many colours, like chestnut, plum, and island blue. This causes the dye to split in the pot and you get a whole collection of colours on your felt.
This next little guy is the product of resist felting. You put down a couple layers of wool, then a bit of bubble wrap, then more wool, then more bubble wrap, until you have a nice little tumour. Then you rub rub rub until it’s nice and felty.
Then you cut open all the layers of your lovely little boil, and pull out the bubble wrap. It practically jumps out at you! The felt shrinks around it and so it gets all balled up in there : ) This one has some plastic mesh in one of the layers. Wouldn’t it look cool with a big marble in that hole?
This one has nylons felted in. Yes, nylons as in pantyhosen. It has just a tiny bit of sparkle and a bubbly monster skin effect.
This next one uses polyester organza, and has beautiful dimpling. This happens when you felt into secondary structures like porous fabrics. As you felt the barbs of the wool latch onto your cloth. Then as the felt shrinks, it gathers the cloth along with it. I dyed this piece later and was shocked that the polyester took the colour. I knew acidwash would dye nylon but not this kind of thing. Super cool.
I also biffed this silk hankie in on top of my chestnut dye pot when I was colouring the resist pieces above. While they came out brown and green, this guy ended up mustard and navy blue. Just goes to show the number of colours that go into that dye.
Our next project for that class is a scarf inspired by a photograph of a sky. I chose a nebula. Specifically this nebula (found here).
Thinking about trying to felt in some glass bits for the stars. We shall see how that works out. Little behind on the schoolwork what with finishing off the light fixture masterpiece, but c’est la vie. I have only exciting projects left so it won’t take a whole lot of motivation : )