Monday, 28 July 2014

Gorgeous Goodies

I haven't had much spare time for felting this week but I did receive this gorgeous bundle of fibre from my blogland friend and fellow Artybird student, Jane Mercer of Takingaturn.

We did a fibre swap after she read my post about sculpting with different breeds and this lovely bundle arrived last weekend. So far I have only been able to make one piece. The purple bag at the bottom of the picture contains Cap Merino, a breed that I have read lots about but as yet not had a chance to play with. I was so excited to be able to try it out. From what I have read I was led to believe it would felt very quickly and form a very firm felt with a smooth (not at all hairy) surface.

Armed with this information I thought I was holding the Holy Grail of wools for sculptural felt so HAD to try making a 3D piece with it.

It didn't quite felt as I expected, in fact it took a lot longer than most of the wools I had previously tried just to get to the prefelt stage. I was so surprised by this I made the same piece from BFL to see if I was just having an off day, but the Cap Merino took twice as long to felt as the BFL piece below.

Felting time aside, it does have some very nice qualities though, it does form quite a firm felt when compared with conventional merino (it's not as firm as the coarser wools such as Finnish), and the surface is very smooth and soft. It also forms really nice sharp folds and does hold 3D shapes well.

This is what it looks like before felting, it's a fine, very short staple fibre with some crimp:

Here is the piece I made (using the same resist template I used for the other sculpture tests).

And the BFL piece (I blended red and blue with a little white silk):

As promised in my last post, I have been playing with crayons and other mark making implements as part of my C&G course, doing this has been a real trip down memory lane, it's just like being back in art class at primary school ;).  I expect to be using these as design inspiration for felt pieces. They all started out from images of bone cross sections like this.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Where has the time gone?

Gosh, I can't believe it has been 3 weeks since I last posted. It has been a hectic few weeks of working on my City and Guilds assignments and chasing my own tail.

Here are some of the C&G things I have been up to as part of my Artybird course.

Do you recall the "Alien Signpost" piece I started a couple of months back? After much debate (no two people had the same idea about how I should cut it or hang it) I settled on the portrait version with the "torn paper" edge along the bottom.

It is a large piece (173 x 92cm / 5'8" x 3') that I think would look fantastic in a stairwell (shame I live in a bungalow).

I'm really pleased with how this piece turned out even though the integral hanging sleeve is in the wrong orientation! Note to self: don't bother with integral hanging sleeves on abstract pieces, you're always going to want to hang it on a different edge to the one you have planned! ;)

More recently I have been working on an assignment based on John Constable's Cloud Studies. I confess I hadn't appreciated just how prolific a painter he was, many of them are described as sketches but still stunning in their own right. Our assignment was to prepare some pastel drawings on different coloured backgrounds and then use those colours to make felt samples.

These are my pastel sketches.

 Dark blue paper

Light blue paper

Brown paper

All these sketches were derived from the same Constable painting but each has a very different feel, I think the middle one feels like the skies are clearing after a storm and has a freshness about it, while the other 2 feel like the storm is still building.

I was also very drawn to a painting of cirrus clouds, I just love the sense of movement and direction the white lines give this sketch.

And these are the pieces interpreted into felt, firstly with Norwegian wool:

And merino:

Next time - I revert back to my childhood and use wax crayons...