Monday, March 23, 2020

Making prefelts using the dryer method

My finished prefelts are blowing in the wind. I'll use them to enhance felted garments.  I'll cut them up and use them both under and on top of my silk fabrics or even directly on the wool roving. 
You can layer them on top of one another since they have a wool base.  

Here's my method for making prefelts using the dryer. For more on the dryer method for felting go to:

And prefelts are such a great thing to make when you're not feeling particularly creative but still want to spend time in the studio.  And when you need that little extra embellishment later on...voila, it's already done!
On a large piece of painter's plastic, lay out your wool roving in one layer using a herringbone pattern.  Wet it out with a ball brauser or similar using room temperature water and some liquid soap (I use 7th Generation).

Cover the wet roving with a second piece of painters plastic.  Wet the plastic and compress with your hands.  Then carefully remove the top plastic.

Add silk fabric, hankies or viscose or even pieces of yarn.  The white is 5 momme silk habotai that I will later paint on using sumi ink.  Rewet like you did above.

Again cover it with the top plastic.  Wet the plastic and rub for about 2 minutes.  Put a rolled up towel at one end and roll up the package like a sausage.  

Secure the roll with cut off panty hose or similar.

Put the package in the dryer for 5 minutes with no heat.  Remove from the dryer and open the package on your felting table.  Move the towel to the other end and roll up the package. Again secure with the panty hose and put back in the dryer for an additional 5 minutes. 

Remove the painter's plastic and give it a quick rub on your bubble wrap. 

Remove the excess water using a spin dryer.

My  prefelts are drying in the sun.  Once dry, I will use sumi ink to embellish the white silk section.

Have fun, stay safe and healthy during this self isolation and crisis period in our lives.  Happy felting!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Nuno Felted Seamless Collage Vest Workshop - Felters Rendezvous, March 2020

I was lucky enough to be invited by Deb Tewell, the organizer of the annual Felter's Rendezvous in Colorado Springs and owner of the Felting Source to teach at the March 7-10, 2020 Rendezvous.  This event was absolutely amazing, so much fun and so wonderful to reunite with felter friends and make so many new ones.  And thank heaven that this event went off without a hitch right before all the ensuing tumult resulting from the coronavirus.

I taught a four day nuno felted seamless collage vest workshop.  Since the class size was smaller than expected, mainly due to just too many garment classes, I made lemonade from lemons and encouraged each student to go out of their comfort zone to create a more complicated vest than I would normally invite in a larger workshop.  What a win/win!

Deb's husband Duncan was a former park ranger and was the best guide to me and Perla at the Garden of the Gods.
I had always wanted to visit the majestic Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and I was lucky enough to have the tine and the best guide.

Going out to dinner with Deb Koesters, Ellen Castleberry and Kathy Krein at the Rabbit Hole, a super fun upscale restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs.

Jill Gully, owner of Outback Fibers, was one of the vendors at the Rendezvous market place.  I took my very first felting workshop from her in 2007 in Fallbrook, CA. 

Perla's amazing vest was inspired by our visit to the Garden of the Gods.

So much joy and happiness with these lovely ladies - Perla, Kathy, Deb and Cathy.

Covid 19 Inspired Painted and Felted Silk

I just finished felting one of the 5 momme habotai silks that I created last week in Ellen Bakker's silk painting workshop on charming Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.  Fiona Duthie and Ellen teamed up in Fiona's neck of the woods to combine the beauty of Ellen's silk painting with Fiona's felting.   
There were several three day workshops and the luckiest students got to first silk paint with Ellen and then felt the painted silks with Fiona creating complex and beautiful garments. Due to time constraints I was only able to take Ellen's silk painting workshop. 

 What a transformation!

From ugly duckling Covid 19 inspired painted silk to a beautiful felted wrap.  I am so jazzed!  And jazzed too that I was able to even attend this outstanding, inspirational workshop and then able to depart Canada just days before the borders were closed due trying to flatten the curve on the spread of the Covid 19 virus.  

I learned so much in the workshop and can't wait to paint in my studio.  I have already built my silk frame and ordered my paints.  But I was not at all happy with this painted silk piece but boy did it transform!  In class I painted the whole
thing a chartreuse color. I then wanted to outline some shapes with turquoise.  Well what a learning experience that these paints are so transparent that my turquoise created a hideous bright emerald green.

I cut the 44" x 84" painted silk in half to create two long pieces which I slightly overlapped to create an L shape. I laid it on my table right side down (I had painted words so it did matter).  Using four different colors of merino wool roving including one that is variegated and called Peacock, I laid down one layer in a herringbone pattern.  I then added additional silks in various colors including a green one with black polka dots and another which was the first painted small sample.   On top I added some prefelts that I had previous created with sumi ink that I had learned from Fiona in another workshop.  I also added a few black prefelt circles.  The shrinkage was about 35%.  This long wrap can be worn in lots of different ways.  I love it!

Thank you Ellen and Fiona for such an outstanding experience on beautiful Salt Spring Island.  We all made it home in the nick of time!  

Be well and healthy everybody and happy silk painting and felting while sheltering in place.
This long wrap can be worn in so many different ways.

I used four different colors of roving.  I did not use the green roving in the top right but instead added a dark blue.

Painted silk is underneath with right side down.

Silks added on top of the roving and then black & white sumi prefelts added on top.

Color Collaboration Ellen & Fiona

Salt Spring Island, BC
I learned that these balanced rocks are called inukshuk (plural is inuksuit).  Traditionally constructed by the Inuit, inuksuit are integral to Inuit culture and are often intertwined with representations of Canada and the North

Ellen demonstrating a technique.  Her work is in the background.