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New Year - New Projects

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  It is a bright, new, shiny year...and it is going to be fabulous! So far every day has been filled with excitement, momentum and pure pleasure! And lots of work...but in the best possible way.
  I have launched a new project: felt :: feutre- a celebration of feltmaking in Canada. I wanted to find a way to unite and promote feltmakers in Canada.   Even with the internet, our country is so vast and our population is so small. Having lived on both coasts now, I wanted to find a way to heighten awareness of our talented artists, our wonderful fibre farms and retailers, and our ongoing feltmaking events and workshops. A resource that provides information and inspiration that covers our whole geography.   
  The project includes a full resource based website that will be fully bilingual...currently in translation, a week long Canadian feltmaking event with 5 days of workshops, an exhibition of Canadian Contemporary Felt, exhibition catalogue, fibre sales, and studio tours. Canadian Felting Week runs from September 25th- 29th, and is held this year on beautiful Saltspring Island, BC. Next year I plan to bring to bring the event to Eastern Canada, and hopefully, the North, to have made it as accessible to as many feltmakers as possible. 
  The workshop details will be announced by January 23rd, with registration opening on February 1st.


  We have an amazing group of Canadian feltmakers teaching- Andrea Graham, Marjolein Dallinga, Ulrieke Benner, Jessica de Haas, Laurie Steffler, and Judith Dios. And myself! 


  Just like all the best projects, since beginning this work, it has just flowed seamlessly from day to day, with each organizational piece clicking into place!
The website is still under construction, but you can see it here:
www.felt-feutre.org/  and on Facebook here:
www.facebook.com/pages/Felt-Feutre/

 There are several other big projects in the works, and I feel quite determined to see them come to life this year and confident that they will!

  Wishing you all a happy new year-one of fulfilled dreams, gorgeous fibre arts, 
and contentment in every moment!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Joomchi Felt Cowl

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  This is a really special project. Made for a very dear friend for her 50th birthday.  The inner layer of felt holds 50 pockets.  One for each year....Some of the pockets hold little tokens that reflect an element of her life...like three beads- one for each child....these inner pockets are reminiscent of healed wounds, scars.....life experiences that make us the people we are....and with the layers of felt in this piece, not always in plain view.

 The overlayer reflects on all the windows through which others see our true selves. The angles and influences....what we allow them to see and when. How open we are in some areas of our lives and pasts, and how closed and private in other areas.....



This was a complex layout...felted all in one piece, seamless, and therefore with multiple resists. The layers as light as possible, without compromising their strength.....



Then the dying.....Shifting colours.....a light and a dark side. The multitude of emotions we feel...The cowl can be worn with bright, light, exuberant colour showing out, or turned to be more demure, reserved, introspective....The whole piece can actually be worn the entire surface detail on the inside....like a full skin obscuring all the goes on inside....The circular nature of the design speaks to continuity, process, life cycle, and a wish for 50 more wonderful years...another turn of the wheel.....





It was such a pleasure to develop this piece....and venture deeper into the process....I am grateful to my friend for providing me with the opportunity to make something for her, inspired by her....and for all our years of fibre talk and support.... Love, love.....
Warm wishes,
Fiona



Upcoming Workshops at FibresWest

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Nui Shibori Scarves- Creating Texture with Felting Yarns on Silk:

Shibori is a Japanese textile art form that has come to mean cloth that has been bound or compressed. This is accomplished through  stitching, clamping, knotting or folding, then processed through  dyeing or heating to add a new "memory" to the cloth and leave it  transformed in color or surface texture.
  For this beautiful scarf project, we are using the Nui Shibori method of stitching, but rather than pulling the yarns to create patterns with dyes, we are using a feltable wool yarn for our stitches,  then shrinking them to create new textural surfaces. We'll cover traditional stich patterns to create different shaping, yarn and fabric selections for effect, plus fulling your shibori scarf to  transform it from flat to dynamic!



Materials provided for supply fee of $15.00, payable at the beginning of the class.  No experience necessary, but a readiness to sit happily, chat and handsew-a must!   Please specify your main colour preference for your scarf at the time of registration.
9:30-2:30
Maximum Registration: 12

 
Nuno Felt Wrap Vest:
 
 Constructed all in one piece and completed all in one day, this is a unique and flattering wardrobe staple for all seasons. Perfect for layering, and customized to your own sizing and colour preferences. Using silk chiffon and habotai fabrics laminated through felting with merino wool  and accented with silk fibres, we will cover aspects of colour work, design, and nuno felting, while creating this fabulous piece of  wearable art.

Materials provided for supply fee of $25.00, payable at the beginning of the class.  No experience necessary.  Silk Fabrics will be custom dyed for this class- please specify your main colour preference at the  time of registration. We will use the wool to achieve patterns and  highlights in colour. Feltmaking is a physical craft- please wear  older clothing, and be prepared for some physical exertion.

9:30am-3:30pm
Maximum Registration:  10


FibresWest runs from March 22-23, 2013.  
For more information, pricing, and to register visit: www.fibreswest.com/

I'm so looking forward to heading to Cloverdale for FibresWest again this year. It's always so much fun- with classes full of creative people, and a show floor full of delicious fibre. In additon to teaching, I have a glorious 10 x 20 foot booth space that will be full of handdyed yarns and the best felting fibres.

See some of you there!
Warm wishes,
Fiona




Bark Cowl

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On every walk, I fall behind the rest of my family, camera in hand taking pictures of grasses, barks, water, frost, colours....whatever catches my eye... The images live in my hard drives...my computer and my mind, until they are ready to come to life in a new form.



 This cowl, and surfacing pattern is derived from just such a walk...I've been holding this one up front in my imagination for a while...These barks are from a beautiful walk we took down in Burgoyne Bay early in December...what amazing surfaces....I love the random patterning....



 And the maker of these inspirational surfaces...caught! 

I hadn't looked at my bark images before making this cowl...and now on reviewing them I'm looking forward to working more with this pattern...more opening, more shadowings, more depth and dimension...and a new collection for this Fall....

This piece was made seamless with resists in white, with some black to create shadowing...then dyed after felting...Such a pleasure to be making! And then a fun photo shoot with my beautiful and talented friend Rachel in downtown Ganges! I love the way the cowl can be worn in many ways to show different expresssions of colour. Designed to be worn over a sweater or coat, with the option of pulling up over the ears as a hood when the weather requires...

I have an unexpected afternoon free, and I'm heading for the studio to work with this surface pattern some more....
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Charlotte Buch + Hillevi Huse!

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Charlotte Buch (Denmark) and Hillevi Huse (Norway) are coming to SaltSpring Island this summer. It's going to be a glorious six days of summer felting in a beautiful location.   A great time and place to celebrate flowers and felt in combination....

I am so looking forward to having them here! They both do exceptional work. To get to take a class with world class feltmakers and show feltmakers some of my favourite island spots, all during a perfect SaltSpring summer- it feels like a holiday already!

We'll be working in two groups; working with each of the teachers for three days, and then switching.  The workshops will take place at the lovely Beaver Point Hall. 



Charlotte Buch will be teaching Gala Gowns- garment construction with lots of surface design. More information plus images on Charlotte Buch's class is here.  



Hillevi Huse will be teaching her wonderful three days of experimental hats.  More information plus images on Hillevi Huse's class is here.

Workshop fees: $625.00 for six days, plus HST + materials
Dates:July 23- 28th, 2013.
Location: Beaver Point Hall, SaltSpring Island, BC


If you have any questions, please do contact me @ email.

Warm wishes,
Fiona




Kattikloo @ FibresWest

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As usual, it's been a very busy few weeks!


I've rebranded my handyed yarn and fibre company, Kattikloo, all ready for FibresWest in Vancouver last week.  I still have to make all the website changes and load up the shop, now that I'm back...but it still feels like a major accomplishment to have gotten this far!



I was able to use most of my display units from the studio at the show...so wonderful and easy....and the show was a great success.....we doubled our sales from last year, with equal sales in yarns and felting fibres. I was so happy to bring all of the felting wools and prefelts....to have the intensely coloured yarns that I dye, and also the walls of felting supplies, which is most true to my creative heart! This was a dream from last years show...and so great to have realized that goal!


I hardly spent a minute in the booth though, as I was teaching all day on both days of the show. My wonderful friend Rachel talked with all of our fabulous customers, and I am so grateful for her company! Every other year all of my boys have come with me, and they don't enjoy fibre talk half as much as Rachel does...so all around a good plan! 


 I have no pictures from my first class in nuno felted vests....but my 10 students were wonderful, and their finished vests, amazing....We used sheer, handdyed silk gauze and extra fine 19 micron merino rovings in a vast array of colours....the finished results were superb and I think everyone was pleased with their results...and a little surprised at the ease of construction. Great students, great fibres and great felting.....

(In the getting to this class there was a little incident with a long train and a very large roll of bubble wrap that I may tell you about separately!)

The second class was a shibori class of 12. It is an idea I developed for an article in Living Crafts magazine last year.  It was quite delightful to teach....a refreshing departure from full on felting or dyeing, but a process which certainly has applications in both.  The last 30 minutes of fulling provided a fun balance to the time spent stitching traditional nui shibori patterns in the habotai and chiffon silk scarves. 



In addition to feltable yarns, we added silk organza, prefelt and silk ribbon elements. Experimented with shibori and yarn to create three dimensional shaping and texture.  One of the best parts of workshops- the new directions that emerge as we share...Lots of fun- room for creativity and application in other textile crafts.   The finished results were fantastic. No finished pictures- I'm sorry...It is a challenge to get picures while teaching, and also of finished items in thses short, one day classes.

Thank you to everyone who came...to my classes and to my booth at the show. Thank you to Rachel for being my super salesperson! And thanks to Brenda from Penelope Fibre Arts for organizing such a warm, friendly, and inspiring show once again!

Warm wishes,
Fiona




Spring Holiday Camp

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The week after getting back from FibresWest, I hosted two fibre art camps for children in the studio.



It was great fun, and such a pleasure to share my passion for fibres with enthusiastic young people and get to know some of the island's children a little better.They are just so sweet....and sometimes left me nostalgic for my own boys younger years...

We did some plant dyeing on silks, making a mystery bath from the children's garden collections, and then  eco-printed them with golden rod, rose leaves and petals, carnation flowers and cinnamon sticks (deliciously scented bundles!).... left to age until the last day of camp...



 We felted, of course! Needle felted figures and animals...wet felted flowers and pictures....experiencing some roving, batting, prefelts and inclusions, like magic mirrors! Which made for fibre adventures to try and find them and make them shine again!


  
One of the groups also made fine nuno felted scarves, sharing the rolling process....we also did some sewing, wool fiber paintings...and on the last day we opened our eco-printed bundles, and the children danced under the plum tree blossoms, flying with golden silks behind them....





 The days were glorious and sunny, and went by so fast. It is a nice balance to have some time working with children, in amongst all the more adult fiber pursuits....A truly enjoyable week... thank you all for joining me in my studio!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

ps..for those wondering...the rose leaves, golden rod flowers and cinnamon sticks all gave nice prints....the rose petals left no trace...but the red carnation flowers were a very pleasing surprise- the deep purple marks on the silks above are all from the carnations....


Celestial Jacket 1

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 This coat made it's first appearance in my sketchbook early in the year. Once I had opneed up some creative time this week, it positioned itself determinedly in the forefront of my attentions, allowing for no distraction.
 It is a felt jacket, created all in one piece, with lots of surface texture in the form of nuno craters, and stitching both at the prefelt stage and after dyeing.


The craters are still sealed in this picture. The coat has been prefelted, then dried so I could add all the stitches, that will all later be overdyed and become more subtle shadings in the coat. I had never thought before about felting on one piece and the relationship this can have with knitting and steeking. The jacket is designed to have a zipper opening, but the opening will only be cut at the very end, after dyeing.


 Opening the craters.....

And the coat...ready for dyeing. I had always thought this coat would be deep reds and ochres, but something changed during the dyeing day and it became oceanic blues and greens.....finished images tomorrow....

Preparing for a modelling shoot with this and a couple of other new pieces....fun, fun....just waiting for the rain to clear up!

Warm wishes,
Fiona



Celestial Jacket 2

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The finished jacket....as I mentioned, it had been going into the reds and ochres, but on the day I dyed it, it just had to become blues and greens.... 


  Felting, drying, stitching, fulling, then dyeing....then I added the finishing stitches.  Layers of intention.  I used some lovely fine silk yarn in gold, but the predominant yarn is a Koigu KPPPM. 

  I find it a bit crazy that I have my own yarn company and don't dye my own embellishing yarns, but I really love Koigu for this. I love their colourways and the colour intervals, and since it is perfect for me, and my desired outcome, I am happy to support a wonderful Canadian yarn company!


Combinations of craters, organza circles, prefelt stitches, and then hundreds of french knots. It is so wonderful to be working on a piece that can have as much time as I want to give it....no commercial pressure....this piece will be for sale, but it is not made with production in mind. 


Onto the next celestial piece...this is just the start of the collection.....

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Immersion Multi Colour Dyeing

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  I get a lot of emails/messages with questions about techniques and ideas, and sometimes it takes me a really long time to answer them....Usually because I want to answer thoroughly and have difficulty setting aside the time to do so. I thought I'd answer some of your questions here, as the information may be of interest to others as well....



When I am dyeing my felt work, silks for felting, or yarns for my fibre company, I most often use a simple immersion technique for achieving multiple colours. I enjoy the very hands on aspect of adding colours in this way, working directly over the dyepots, and adding dye as needed to to the pots to achieve the exact colouring on the felt or fibres.


 I use a big dye pot, filled only with about 6 inches of water. Having only a small amount of water keeps the majority of the fibers out of the dyebath without having to hold the fibres high up above the bath.



 I add the acid and the dyes to that bath. I usually use citric acid, available for relatively low cost at brew your own wine and beer shops, but do use ordinary vinegar in a dyeing emergency when I have run out! The citric acid does not have the strong smell of the vinegar and is less expensive if you are doing a lot of dyeing.  I mix up my dyes in a measuring cup with some water, to ensure the dye powders are entirely in solution, then add the dye to the bath. To dye a small section of yarn, a medium to deep colour, dyeing six skeins at a time, I will use about 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder. (Note: be sure that work with the dye powders in a well ventilated area, wearing a dust mask!)


I dip only a small section of the wool into the pot at a time, and leave that colour to steam and exhaust the dye bath completely, before rotating the skein and dyeing the next section.  For this tutorial, I am dyeing my Seaglass colourway, and have dyed the top 4 -6 inches in tobacco, then the bottom 4-6 inches in silver grey. The yarns are quite damp, because I want to colour to migrate up the skeins a bit, to get a graduated colour shift. The dyeing shown here will produce a yarn that is predominenelty turquoise blues, with small sections of grey, green, and ochre.


 I don't rush the process at all....I make sure that each section is fast before moving on...but much of this time is passive so I can work on other projects while the dyes are setting. Sometimes I create a hanging rack to suspend the yarns over the dyepot, but if I am working only on small batches or on felt pieces, I position the fibres at the desired depth in the dyebath, place the lid on top of the pot, and drape the extra fibres over the top if the lid. In this way only the section I need to be dyeing and setting remain in the pot, and my hands are free to do other things.   The colours in any previously dyed sections are already set, so the colours will not bleed out in any way on the rest of the fibres.  It's all very low tech....but simple and highly functional for me in my studio.


Here are the results so far. Each end is dyed in a neutral colour. Now I will dye it in the main colour, a handblended mix of blues.


 Both of the dyed ends are looped over the spoon, so that both undyed sides of the yarn can be immersed in the bath. I have added extra water to the dye pot now as there is more fiber to be immersed.

 An initial dipping, to get a basic coverage, plus get a light, transitional overdyeing at the ends.


Now I will leave most of the fibres in the dyebath to develop the colour and set.
I just use my trusty wooden spoon to hang the fibers over the dyebath. I cover it with the pot lid and leave at a low simmer for about 20 minutes then turn off and leave until the dye bath is exhausted. Then rinse as usual.


I plan my colourways so that there will be small amounts of overdyeing in each section. Blues and reds I always dye last, and leave overnight in the dye bath to ensure they are very well set. 




Using this immersion technique,  I can get a handpainted effect, but without the sponges/brushes/applicators, or the use of plastics to wrap it all up in to steam set.  I handpaint only occasionally if I need only a very short run of colour- so short I can not achieve it through immersion.  

I have found I can have up to 5 different dye applications on an ordinary skein of yarn, so with all the over dye effects also, that is an amazing range of colour....

This method also works very well with natural plant dyes....

 After the dyeing process is complete, I usually reskein my yarns, as customers love to see the colours blended together in the skein. It looks more as it will when knit or woven. Reskeining feels like the completion of the process for me- it tidies up any loose thread.....

I hope this is helpful....in writing this I came across my notes that are part of a dyeing class I teach.  I'll post the introduction to acid dyeing here next...a little backward...but better written than not! 

 Also coming up, tips on felt bag making, and fibre arts and internet....
But for now back to the felting table!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Sculptural Scarves

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This summer I'm exploring ways to incorporate as much three dimensional texture as possible into my work. It such a fun experiment...I love that I can be making items to sell, while playing..... These experiments often involve trips to the hardware store...hardware and building materials seem a good combination with feltmaking! And lead to some very interesting conversations in the shop, which I'm sure they are quite used to on an isalnd of artists! For this texture it involved finding wiring that would hold it's shape while being very lightweight.  The scarves can be folded, twisted, wrapped and crimped into any shape the wearer desires...simple...dramatic....traditional or wild.....The wool is ultrafine organic merino....and it is so soft and luscious...delightful!


A few wearable sculpture possibilities....I like to think that the wearer can feel like an artist when they put on this scarf....that they can take a moment to create a wearable art piece that reflects their mood in that moment... or maybe where thay want that mood to go...That the wearer gets to partake in the creative process, as well as a the maker....


As always, these are all handfelted in white, then overdyed...I love this process....I love the whiteness, and everytime have to re-commit to myself, my sensibilities, and my love of colour...



I want to make an extra large version of this scarf for myself, for exuberant wearing at shows...and just for when the mood strikes...Plus I'm seeing sculptural bags and jacket lapels....so much to make! But first I have to finish my fibre art bike....next posting!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Trickster Tales

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Last week was the last week in our Storytelling and Arts day in the studio. This was a weekly series of classes I have been running since the early Fall. So much fun! What a sweet, talented, and creative group of children!

In our Spring session we studied Trickster Tales, and we explored these through storytelling, painting, drawing, plant dyeing, and of course, feltmaking! 

 The children each chose the Trickster they most identified with, and slowly transformed themselves....This picture was taken on the last day of our classes- introducing Squirrel, Fox, Coyote and Monkey....I was Raven, but also photographer! They did wonderful work...on all of their projects!

It was truly a pleasure to get to have these afternoons together.... 

And now the studio is cleaned up and transformed once again into my full time adult space ...ready for visitors and for me to focus on my exhibition work and book....here we go!

Happy summertime....
Fiona

Red Textures

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 I am having a delicious stretch into new work....making pieces for the felt::feutre exhibition....It is so delightful to work out ideas without too much time pressure; just exploring pure creativity.


This is a technique that I teach in my Surface Design class....using slow felting wools to create nodules....and in this case, worked on a foam resist to make the finished piece take on a three dimensional form......


  I'm quite enjoying having these displayed in the studio, just as they are...I love their redness...it's powerful, and especially in combination with the charred wood piece underneath. The wood is part of a collaboration I am working on with my eldest son, Finn McGuffin....an interior design line in charred wood and felt...more to come on that....

  These red pieces are part of a sculptural piece that is another exploration of Joomchi felt.  They will be turned inside out and become the inner layers of a snowy white multipocketed piece...reflecting on what we show on the outside and all the layers that exist behind that social facade....the life experiences that inform our every movement and word, in multiple ways, but that those we interact with cannot always fully know....

Finishing up the white outer shell today...will show you some pics when complete!

This week is bringing on so many creative ideas...it's been a big week for communication, imagination and manifestation....a "yes" kind of week. 
I've got to go out and get another sketch book....most of the new ideas are for collections of pieces, and I just can't start on those until....until.....maybe December? The calender is very full....so I'll just  fill up the notebooks, and let those collections come to realization when the time is right!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

30 Minute Felt Project- The Mountain Vessel

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Over the last few weeks I've been playing a new studio game.....15 minute felt projects.  Just once a week, as an opportunity to approach design work with a blank mental slate, no commitments to outcome and sense of fun experimentation.  This is actually the third of these projects.....the mountain vessel....


  It's so easy to head out the studio with the timer set at 15 minutes and just see what happens. It's allows a simple opening for some spontaneous creating.  This morning I had mountains in mind....and shadows....and laid out a circle of two layers of Norwegian wool.  Problem number 1 in meeting  the 15 minute felt deadline (Norwegian wool is not a quick felter!)! Problem number 2 was that I made my surface too large to complete in such a short time.....


Then I used some strips of resist material I had handy and started to alternate layers of resist, with triangles of merino prefelt. These were not pre-cut- just quickly cut randomly and added to the surface.


Wetted out and ready to felt...This is the point that I started to realize my folly in wool selection and size......



 I did get the piece designed, laid out, wetted out, rolled and hand rubbed....and then my timer went off! Okay...So a little ambitious...but it is an expansion activity not a limiting one,  so I gave myself another 15 minutes to finish up....since the purpose is to have a freeform felting session, but also to not let it take over the whole morning/day/week!



At 30 minutes I rinsed well and shaped the mountain spines....


 Then shaped into a vessel form using a steam iron.....and dried in the morning sun on a pedestal in my studio window....all morning it made me happy to look over at the finished form...



A great creative practise and one I plan to continue over the summer.....but with the expanded, but still limited timeframe of the 30 minute felt project!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

The week of unfinished objects....

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I did a quick tour of the studio today to compile a list of projects started in the last two weeks that are are waiting for finishing touches....It's quite a list!  
As of July 1st, I had absolutely not one piece of feltwork left in studio. I haven't been able to switch my sign to "open" as the studio is empty. Pieces are selling more quickly than I can keep up with making them.  A good problem to have, but still a little frustrating.  I've hired two part time assistants to help move things along-one to help in the dye studio and one to help with the feltmaking. All of the finished and partially finished projects are testament to the success of this decision! Now it's just up to me to add my final embellishments and add hangtags and move my studio sign to "open" each day!


The piece above is a wall piece, exploring sculpturally shaping felt. It is just waiting on it's frame.


Another wall piece....a bit of celestial drifting developing. This piece is now almost fully felted on the table...just waiting one more felting session this evening, then framing....


10 new pairs of earrings to keep my stock up....5 pairs almost done....5 more pairs to assemble...These are made of absolutely gorgeous ultrafine merino, with a thin layer of naturally black Finn wool felted in the middle for shadowing and firmness of structure. Nice to have some tiny projects to finish!

 
Three felt bags....The first two are both itajame shibori dyed...awaiting steaming, shaping and stitching...the last follows my recurring theme of striations and topography, awaiting overdyeing, shaping and then stitching? Maybe....

Oh my gosh...there's still more.....


Four nuno felted scarves....dyed and dried..only in need of a quick press with the iron..that's an easy task to check off the list!


Background layer is finally complete for the DEAR piece.....soft and ethereal blue tones with little seeds/bubbles of memory/thought planted between the sutures.....


A new adjustable tunic design. I want to do some silkscreening on this piece and I have my tools all out and ready...then some last stitch details in red.....mmmmm....red silk thread are already dyed and rinsed and waiting for me....This is a fun project- I'm looking forward to getting this piece completed and sharing the process here.



Oh...this is a sad, neglected project.....I still love the concept, but this piece drifted from my attentions. I think I will finish it...and come back to the original idea afresh another week....

And one more......


This is another large wall piece....felted to the prefelt stage and now dyeing...supersaturated reds....It is the next exploration in the sculptural felts series.....It feels unfinished enough at the moment that I can complete the other works and then move into this one with a fresh space...I was thinking of mental space...but the studio will also be fully refreshed with all of these finished pieces on the walls....

Back to work...lots to do!  What wonderful creative whirlwind this summer is!

Warm wishes,
Fiona


30 Minute Felt Project- Stacked Vessels

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These 30 minute felt projects are an opportunity to come to the creative table with no expectations- just a short intensive, mind-wide-open exploration...It can be easy as a craftsperson to get stuck in productions ruts, and this is an exercise to give ourselves permission to play within our medium. This is not about creating felt quickly;  it is about setting aside an amount of time that feels reasonable in our busy days to create freely.

This mornings inspiration came from a stack of handmade ceramic bowls that my sons made in a brilliant class with super talented Julie MacKinnon. They are so beautiful in their form. 


I knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge, but also an exciting pursuit!


I started off with my two wools- Norwegian and Finn, some pencil rovings, two round foam resists and my hot water/felting solution ready to go.


I started with the smaller resist and laid out the wool to cover both sides.


Hand-dyed silver pencil rovings wrapped around the form. I am using these almost everyday in the studio right now. I am so drawn to very simple white and grey shadings.  I was not entirely certain on how they would be positioned once I attached the two forms together and later shaped them, but that's part of this exercise- it doesn't matter too much how the end result will look...so I let go of that wondering and moved on...



 Covering the second resist with two layers of wool rovings.


And now I hit an A-ha kind of moment. If I laid my smaller vessel on top of the other, they would be joined to form a shape like an insect body or two bubbles attached together....not the intention...( although a fun one for another day!)...
What is the inside-out-backward way of thinking with resists to get them to create the form I wanted them too?  Ah yes.....A little cutting was necessary, but first I felted the vessels to the prefelt stage.


To create the correct form for this experiment, I needed to nest the one resist within the other, with only a small area of wool in direct contact.  I cut away an opening of wool, and also the underlying resist.


 ...then laid the second vessel form on top, wool now in contact, with some bubble wrap around the edges to keep them from joining completely.


Lots of rolling and rubbing and kneading....


I decided to make some openings in the larger form, so that the inner felt form would be revealed.


Time to get the resists out, and felt fast....



 Time is up and the double form is revealed.  Very fun....It's interesting like this. Reminds me of those dolls that can have their skirts turned to reveal a second figure. The two vessels are now felted together, one inside the other, in a seamless whole.


Rinsed, shaped, stuffed and drying.



Quite a fun experiment! In the next 30 minute felt project,  I think I'll scale back my scope...as these last two "small" projects have been a challenge to finish, and something a little less complex would make the whole exercise even more light and interesting! Definitely successful in achieving the goal though- I'd love to make another dozen of these, giving them more time to create more complex forms, layout the wool fibres more evenly, and full the felt more thoroughly. Most often when working off an image or object for inspiration, I don't want to have that around me when creating, so that it has inspired the piece but only as a notion. In this case I actually wish I'd kept the bowls in front of me, as I wanted to achieve those very simple, shallow forms and smooth surfaces. I got a little carried away! Next time..


Sharing these projects here has got me thinking about how great it would be to be able to share them in a video format...and that leads on to another topic for another day!
Happy fibre play!
Warm wishes,
Fiona




From Vessel to Light

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As I was working on yesterdays 30 Minute Felt Project, I kept thinking about about felt lighting and how interesting this piece might be turned into a lampshade.


I love felt in lighting. There is nothing so soft, warm and inviting as the way light travels through the wool fibres.  I have made many pieces , small and large, contemporary and whimsical, and once showed my felt lighting range at the Interior Design Show in Toronto. I have a whole new series designed...just need to time to make them...

This piece is more in keeping with the playful and experimental....I may hang it up in our living room for a little refreshing change of inside scenery.....

Lovely and light!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

felt::feutre artwork

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  As many of you will know, felt::feutre has been my big undertaking for this year....It is a fabulous and awesome project....and mammoth!  I work on the felt::feutre project at least 2-3 hours a day most days...there are so many components...and all of these components are what will come together in the last week of September to create a fantastic event....

For my part, the lists are getting more detailed, so that I can have every little thing attended to when the time comes so I can relax into teaching my classes and spending the evenings with the other feltmakers.  The exhibition is all set, today I'm meeting with someone who will be able to help organize the FELT fashion show, the community sculpture invitation is out, and I just need to get the approval of the local Arts Council to approve the site for the installation. Check.Check. Check.


And all of this work, in service, is amping up my personal creative world too....while all the organizational work is keeping me from my felting table more than I would like, I do have some amazing projects in the works that should be making their way to the felting table this week...so very exciting! 

I have not been writing much about felt::feutre here- and I only just realized this, this week. I think it is because I write about it so much in other places- emails, the website, facebook....It sometimes feels like I am always writing about it...but not here, and you may be interested too!

I've got a big morning today- a large order to ship, an exhibition proposal to finish and send in, and then my FELTfashion show meeting at lunch....

More felt tomorrow- I have a new feltwork outside to show you!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

New Work Outside-Pollination

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 This week the time was right to make a new outside feltwork for my display area down by the road.
  I wanted to play with shadows, layers of felt, and lace cutwork.  I imagined the types of flowers created in kirigami, while not trying to replicate that style...more beginning with that in mind and then allowing the openwork to develop....I'm quite fixated on traditional Chinese chrysanthemum designs right now.....those are working their way out into this felt openwork.


It is quite a different thing to work on a piece that you know will be living outdoors- it needs to be able to withstand the climate, and will only viewed from a distance. The felt needs to be dense and strong, but light enough in this case to allow light to permeate.  I would have been inclined to add more stitching and detail to the surfaces. Silk pieces were calling...but this piece is more about the impact made in the quick viewing as one drives or bikes by...less about the subtleties of surfaces...so a few rows of red stitches made it into the piece, but simplicity was the main domain here. An opening, flowering, dropping of seed....dispersal....Summer.....


 Every morning the light shines through creating beautiful, shifting shadow patterns.  It is quite lovely and uplifting. Delicate and feminine- a fine thing to balance this house of males I live in - and they can live with it more than the giant flowers I once wanted to paint over the house! (the boys/men have to live with a lot of wild ideas! I think it's good for them! Grin!)

  This piece has been a good prototype for a series I am working on for an outdoor installation this fall....One that will have multiple layers of shadowing effects....Very exciting!  Just waiting for my next batch of Finn wool to arrive so I can start on those pieces....



  In the meantime, a glorious box of silk charmeuse was delivered yesterday....oh, how sumptuous...and will soon become silk/felt gowns and coats....this week's work!

Happy weekending!
Warm wishes,
Fiona


Family Visits....

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 We have just had some precious visitors that we just do not see often enough. My sister in law and my lovely nieces and nephew came to stay for a few days....on their way to a wedding in Vancouver...Mostly we visited the beaches, and ate blackberries and bounced on the trampoline....and chatted endlessly...all good summerly things....and of course we had some creative time together....


Terri Bibby of Saori Salt Spring had organized a workshop on Bengala Dyes- a form of earth pigment dyes created in Japan. This, of course, was irresistible! My two nieces and I attended and had so much fun....The colour potential in these dyes are incredible.  They seem to produce more intense colour on cellulose fibres like cotton and hemp and linen. We dyed several lengths of a delicious hemp/organic cotton blend jersey that I have in the studio, planning on going home and sewing up some simple T-shirts with the fabric. We also dyed a selection of silks using itajame shibori techniques....My nieces are bringing these home to flutter in their forest home....


 The dye baths are created with cold water, and the pigments need to be kneaded into the cloth. As a long time plant dyer, I was interested in the process. I've dyed with earth pigments a few times in different parts of the world and understood the naturals tannins and oxides of the soil to act as the "mordant".  It is one point I have with the Bengala dye literature that it does not use mordants in the process- it feels like an unnecessary differentiation. Really, as with many plant dyes and natural pigments, the "mordants" are inherently part of the chemical makeup of the pigments, allowing it to act as a substantive dye. These dyes are very fun and easy to use...with beautiful results.


After the wonderful workshop we came home, stopping at a few of Salt Spring's roadside farm stalls to collect of bounty of freshness for our lunch. We played around with the fabrics in the studio and with some simple cutting and stitching created a dress, a skirt and a T-shirt....We were all amazed at the stunning range of colours the earth and these pigments provide.  A great day....and an interesting new dye process....

 Although my nephew did not come with us on our dyeing adventure, I can't miss including him here....


They are all so dear...and such sweet company....
Happy travels, happy dyeing and happy summer days...
Fiona