Friday, February 11, 2011

Felting Surface Design

  I have a few feltmaking classes coming up, and so I've been making up some samples, for pictures, and for show and tell.
 One felting session is devoted to felt and surface design. This is a class I will be teaching at FibresWest in Abbotsford, BC in March.  There are so many places you can go with this! Wildly textured three dimensional pieces- such fun!  And for another class! This time,  I'm working mainly with surface textures and techniques that still produce a flat felt once finished. One that can be manipulated cut and sewn or further embellished to create bags, book covers or artwork.
  I used all Norwegian Wool Batting.  It costs a little more, but is so wonderful to work with- some projects just demand it!  It produces a great firm felt; very nice for sculptural work, home furnishings and art cloths that will be handled a lot!  The first layer, or the back, is Ochre, and the top layer is Magenta. I want to give the class the experience of seeing the shadowing that takes place as the fibres migrate and combine. The Norwegian wool is amazing for this, and the resulting colours have a real depth to them. The effect stands out most of the back of the piece.
  Isn't it amazing how flat the back surface is, considering the shibori "flowers" on the top?
I couldn't help add a few decorative elements on the back also.  I'm going to use this colourway to make a new bag- the smaller one I had meant to make originally.  Love the warm tones these two colours produce!
The basic elements I want to cover with this piece are nuno, with silks and cotton. I used silk gauze here, along with some Indian cottons that already had the silver sequins sew on. Those are a real highlight on the felt work. I love adding some reflective, shimmery, shiny element to felt pieces to interact with the matteof the wool.
Using found objects to make protrusions.

 Working with prefelts.
Creating pockets and loops.
 Shibori shaping.
Using yarns, natural and synthetic, for shibori shaping and flat felting.

We'll also be doing some cutting and slashing and using clamps for folding and shaping, but I want each felt work to also develop as a fibre art piece on it's own, so I expect to use some techniques with some pieces and not with others.  
  Lots of fun to play with... I need to set aside the time more just to create samplers like this. Investigating different fibres, colours, and techniques.   I'm developing this idea as an online class, where we gather and work on one sampler per week, with full instruction, guidance and shared inspirations. Is this a good project for spring- new learning and playful creating, or for Fall, back to "felt" school", at a time when we start to move indoors and work even more with wool?
Back to my dyepots - naturally dyed deep madder orange today!
Warm wishes,


  1. Hi Fiona,
    I wish I lived near you so that I could take some of your workshops. Great, beautiful work. You are an inspiration!

  2. Thanks, Annie! Warm wishes, Fiona