Thursday, December 10, 2015

Needle felting - to teach or not to teach

I take my felting projects to the Monday morning painting class at the senior center, and work on it there.   People are so fascinated and are beginning to approach me to teach them.     I also take felting to the other senior center on Wednesday mornings, and to the gallery when it's my day to work.    I get so many questions and requests that I'm considering teaching.     Or perhaps a demo on a Sunday afternoon with question and answer period.    

My friend Jean is my only student.     She is the most fabulous watercolor artist and has a good following of students and fans.    She sits the gallery with me, and never brings her paints, it's just too much trouble.  So, since felting resembles watercolors in a way that the fibers are layered like watercolor paints, it seems that this would suit her well.   She is taking to it, and her use of color and design is going to shine out when she masters the actual puncing of the fibers.     She purchased her needles and tool at Hobby Lobby.   Its made in China, unlike my old one by the Clover brand from Japan.   I have yet to break a needle, and I work them really hard.     I just ordered a new set on at a really good price, much less than I paid in the yarn shop where I found this years ago.   

If Jean breaks more needles, then I would suggest she returns them all as defective merchandise (and they were not inexpensive) for a refund.     I hope the new ones I ordered will be of the same strength as these old ones.    

I spoke with my friend Sandy, from whom I have purchased her own hand dyed wools, and she would be willing to come to the gallery with her spinning wheel and demonstrate that the same day I'd demonstrate felting.     That way it would be a fiber day.    Lisa, who also felts, but  not landscapes or images, is also willing to demonstrate what she does with her felting.  She has done hats, and ornamental objects.     Much different than anything I have done.  

It would  make a nice mix.     Then we could sign people up for instruction is we choose to.       This would all happen after the first of the year, during the winter doldrums, when felting and sipping something hot is comforting and fun.   

This landscape is from a little sketch I did in pale pastel colors.    I meant to follow the sketch but the deeper wool colors carried me along in a different direction.     It's not done yet.  

needle felting - a cute little owl


This  piece is a little owl, I did just for fun.    It measures roughly 4 1/2 inches across.  All done with needle felting through a piece of craft felt.    I started with the little sketch I used earlier to carve a rubber stamp.       

holiday cards

I finshed my second batch of holiday cards and have them ready to mail now.   Here are a few. 

These were made to send as post cards, but instead I'm putting them in envelopes.    I was afraid the mail machines would eat them alive.       Merry Christmas everyone.   

Monday, November 23, 2015

Boiled Books plus fabric

An overripe pomegranate  was sitting on the counter and I thought I'd try using the bright red juicy berries to add to a boiled book.  Maybe it would turn red inside?     Hmmm... Do you think?   

I also thought it would be a good time to try some liittle pieces of old cotton fabric from a pillow case.  Seems like it should absorb about anything it's so old.      So, I alternated fabric and watercolor paper in a stack with leaves off my deck, and the pomegranate seeds.      Same routine as former experiments, layerd between tiles with rocks on top in the pot.  This time I didn't use any clamps.     I trusted the weight of the rocks to keep some pressure on the papers.      Boiled1 1/2 hour, took out and let them settle overnight.      Here's how they looked the next day.

Here is the fabric as I peeled it off the leaves.   

 Some good leaf impressions on the papers.
 This page shows the pomegranate seeds on the page after the cooking.  All the color disappeared.    Darn.   I had high hopes.
 This is one of the fabric pieces after it's dried.  there is a pinkish cast - perhaps from the pomegranate?
More of the fabric pieces.

I don't know how lasting this color will be.  I didn't pretreat the fabric with anything to help it set the color.      I guess time will tell.   I might try ironing half of them anc compare later.    

I'm not tires of this process yet, so will probably do more experiments as time permits.      I hope you have tried it too.   

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another basket of owls

Here is the latest batch ready for the gallery.     

Felted landscape - newest

This is one that I made based on a quick sketch.    But, as it evolved, it turned into something else entirely.  I can't even recognize it from the sketch.  Oh well.  It is what it is, and I like it fine.  

I've got a little more tweaking to do and will call it a wrap.  

I have had such a hard time finding the green wools that I need for these.  I may need to resort to dying my own.    

Boiled Books - a new batch

Inspired by leaves on the street on a blustery day, I captured a few by chasing them down the street pushed along by hefty gusts of wind.   Must have looked a fool, but I got some good leaves.  

 Rather than press them or cover them to keep them fresh, I went straight for my dye pot and cut up some watercolor paper and started stacking.    The usual mix of water and some big glugs of white vinegar in the pot.       I put a tile on the top and one on the bottom of the stack of papers and leaves, and left them for almost 2 hours simmering on the stove with a couple rocks on top to hold them down and keep them flat.   

Here they are the following day.  I took them out of the pot after the allotted time, and set them on aluminum foil to set the color better, leaving them overnight.   

 Next morning this is what I found as I opened them up.  

If you are a  nature lover, you'll love doing these yourself.    It is sooooo easy.  I encourage you to try it.    

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mountain art journal used to inspire new felt piece

With mountains being a recurring theme for me lately, I started a new art journal.       I was playing with spray inks and made masks with torn paper or deli wrap.    I used them but could not throw them away.  

So, into the mountain journal they go.  And the gelli prints too.      And now I'm looking around things I've done in the past that would fit the theme and will add them in.      

One of the reasons many of us keep art journals is to find inspiration from things we m ight otherwise have tossed away.     Like these mountains.    I probably will add text later with quotes and poetry. 

this last pic has copies of two watercolored woodsy scenes I painted years ago.  I'm going to use them for inspiration for the next felted piece I do.

Felt piece finished.

It took quite a while to call this finished.   Perhaps because it needed more tweaking, or perhaps I just loved the process of the fine layering of colored wools and the act of punching it with the barbed needle.      It's ready to enter in  the small works show.       And I'm ready to move on to the next one.

Clown alert! Another scary post card

I know some of you freak out over pictures of clowns.   Well, don't peek then.    BTW he is not vicious, he's profoundly sad.    


It's time to get scary stuff out in the mail or to display.      Here are a some post cards I made years ago.    These are altered photos from a book.     I think they have a story to tell.        I d on't know what it is, but I like to ponder.....   I think I've shown them here before, but why not again?    

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Boiled books part 3

These colorful leaves from the senior center seem like likely candidates for experimenting with the boiled books.

 This time I skipped the tiles and used only clips.
Ater boiling, I found the color of the paper to have hardly changed and the water in the pot was not black.    So, I began to wonder if the leaves had left any impressions.  

A quick peek let me see a faint outline, so  I used some Iced Spruce color distress ink spray on the edges of the soaking wet paper and let them sit awhile still clamped together.  When I opened the packet this is how they looked.   Distress inks are so reactive with water it spread all through the packet.

The second packet I returned to the pot and poured in more of the distress ink right into the pot and let it boil for another 20 minutes.      When I removed them, of course the water was now darkened more, and so was the paper. 
I set this packet on a tile and let it sit overnight with a stone on top to keep the pressure on the leaves. 
This is how they looked when I peeled them open.   You can see most of the color is gone from the leaves, but hardly any migrated to the paper.   

Saturday, October 17, 2015

boiled books part 2

 Here we go again.     Taking the boiled book package out of the pot.   Can hardly wait to see what's inside but waited to let it cool and sit overnight.

 Look how black the water in the pot turned.    Perhaps because I used some leaves from black oak tree?

Here is a packet, note the wires are now rusted.   Hmmm...  hadn't thought of that.   
 What I'm doing is opening the booklets, page by page.  They started with the fresh leaves and plant debris inside but now are soft and flattened against the pages.  Soem of those little dark splotches were small red rose petals.  They did not leave any color as I expected.
 this is the page with the plant materials removed.
 Here is a page with the imprint on opposite page.
 Another one with imprint on opposite page, birch trees give off the yellow cast.   
 Geranium leaf imprint on opposite page.    Of course on the page under the leaf there is also a lot of color transfers and will be shown later.
 Here is a layerd page, with an iris sword, oak leaf and birch leaves over the top. 
 this is the opposite page.
this is the 2 page spread after leaves are removed.

 Finely cut Japanese maple leaf.
 Leaf removed.

 Dried iris leaf. rosemary, thyme.   Showing opposite page.
 With leaves removed.
 Bay leaf, rosemary, black oak leaf stem from garlic chive. showing opposite page.
 stringy stuff was from an old sisal planter liner.  Just curious what it might do.   
 Leaf assortment showing opposite page.
 Same spread with all leaves removed.
Instead of stuffing the pages with leaves, I thought I'd try a subtle piece.    I think this is from heavenly bamboo.   shows on opposite page as well.

 I turned back the bottom page which had been pressed up against the back of a ceramic tile with grooves on it.     Black oak leaves. Tile pattern looks like shutters.   
shown with plant material removed.

I expect these will dry lighter.   Will know later.

I'm pressing some of these cooked leaves.  Not sure how that can work with boiled leaves, but worth a try.   Would like to use some in the books.

These photos are from one of the two packets.   The other one I opened in the studio last night.   I'll show pics from that in next post.     I wanted to see if it made a difference to leave things stacked overnight.     I'll know later.  I guess I should let them all dry before comparing.