Slow Worlds

April 6, 2014

My ongoing fascination with teeny tiny changes that happen on a microscopic level  increases my own awareness of how much of our world is beyond our perception yet of course equally exists every moment. That world is invisible to us due to size but there are also wonderful things invisible to our limited human senses due to time.

This video by Daniel Stoupin  uses time lapse photography to capture the very slow but deeply beautiful movement of coral. It is stunning.

 

Potential IV

March 29, 2014

All that resist felting, dyeing, felt ball rolling and pocket filling has come together .

Potential IV

Potential IV

I’m still enjoying experimenting with combining silk and felted areas and pushing the boundaries of including increasingly 3D elements. Here’s a close up.

Potential IV detail

Potential IV detail

Any  feedback?

Snowy day felting cobwebs

February 18, 2014

A perfect day for having my hands in hot soapy water!

I recently discovered cobweb felt. I have visions of using this ultra thin, airy, almost translucent material as an overlay. The patterns of holes that form are deliciously organic.

After watching a clear step by step video by Greenwood Fiberworks, it was quite easy. I made some adaptations to the directions born out of laziness. For instance, the lay out for this felt is so thin, I stacked a second layout on top (over plastic) and rolled them all together. Worked fine.

I used Wensleydale roving bought at New England Felting Supply and embellished with lustrous Bombyx Silk. The fibers of Wensleydale  are straight but after felting they form intriguing curls and waves. And it does this transformation after only 100 rolls! My kind of felt!

cobweb closeup

cobweb closeup

Here’s the cobweb drying by the woodstove:

cobweb drying

cobweb drying

We’ll see how it behaves in the dye pot!

 

 

Small 3D felted elements or “What’s she got in her pocketses?”

January 26, 2014

I’ve begun to design my next piece which would incorporate many of the recently felted and dyed larger elements like these:

various dyed felted elements

various dyed felted elements

I’m excited by what’s coming together on my design wall but was struggling with what to put in some of those deep sculptural openings that would accentuate the 3Dness. My friend Kris, suggested small felt balls. So after finding a very helpful video online describing how to make essentially felted beads, I got busy (and wet and soapy) with undyed wool.

Of course there was a bit of a learning curve but I made some discoveries. Cheaper wool batt (“Peoples Wool” from New England Felting Supply) is easier to work with than pricey merino.  Wrapping each “bead” with a few strands of lustrous Bombyx silk will create a contrasting pattern after dyeing. And my daugther, Caitlin, discovered that other forms (tiny bananas!) are possible if you shape it before it’s too felted.

undyed tiny felted elements

undyed tiny felted elements

Yesterday these little babies got dyed along with some felting I wanted to overdye. Here are the results literally steaming just out of the dye pot.

Dyed felted small shapes and more

Dyed felted small shapes and more

Look for these in my next piece!

Dyed and ready

January 5, 2014

My fears that the results of all the hours of work experimenting with using resists ( including rocks) to felt would be unusable were unfounded! Even during the entire dyeing process, there was much grumbling and hand wringing (ask my partner in all things dyed, Kris McDermet!). Instead of the acid-dyeing-in-pots-on-the-stove method I was comfortable with, I tried directly applying the dye and then steaming to set. I felt this would give me more variation in the close range of color I was after. By the way, the direct application with rubber gloves on was like  squishy fingerpainting and a blast. But I had little control and feared a disaster.

Not so! after drying the dyed felting by my woodstove and pinning them up randomly on my design wall, I stood back and was pleased with what I saw!  I love the deep shadows and craters.
Many of these fragments will be the building blocks for my next group of pieces.

dyed resist felting

dyed resist felting

Rock and Roll

December 29, 2013

Ever get an amazing idea when you awake that resolves a problem you’d been ruminating about? I awoke yesterday and remembered the bucket of stones from my brook sitting for years in the garage. I had originally used them for dyeing on cotton with fiber reactive:

Life Goes On I

Life Goes On I

So why not use those wonderfully shaped stones as resists while felting to create cellular craters after the stones were cut out?
If you are someone familiar with wet felting, you probably have already spotted some serious flaws in this plan. Not me.
Even as I laid those stones out on a base surface of prefelt and wool…

rocks on wool

rocks on wool

…and even after it became clear that I’d have to try to TIE each stone in place becouse the overlay of Merino wool was not going to hold them during felting…

tied rock resists

tied rock resists

…and even after I began suspecting that using my preferred method of wet felting might kill my dryer as it strained to agitate this quite heavy bundle…I persevered. Of course I ended up rolling by hand this lumpy, unwieldy  sausage and couldn’t get it to felt really properly so (in hindsight) cut out the resist stones too soon so there was a bit of further unwanted felting within the craters. Hours later and with an aching back, here was the still wet result:

rock resist result

rock resist result

Not exactly what I envisioned but after all that, I’ll make it work! After dyeing and stitching, I think it might be somewhat usable or even extraordinary. I’m ever the optimist.

Worlds Apart

December 14, 2013

I’m continuing to experiment with combining areas of felting with areas of stitched silk. The felting in this new piece began last summer when I felted with my 90 year old mom and began using resists to create channels .
The composition of Worlds Apart was partly defined by those sections of felting I wanted to include. I like beginning a piece with some external constraints-it helps my indecisive and dithering mind to focus!

Worlds Apart

Worlds Apart

The title came instantly to me. It satisfies my need for a piece to be exploring many metaphrical levels at once (at least in my mind!). It is essentially about the relationship between two entities that share some similarities but have fundamental differences- be they cells, people, ideas…

Worlds Apart detail

Worlds Apart detail

As always, the felted areas were dreamy to stitch into-like carving into soft clay!

 

 

Felting 3D Cells Using Resists

December 8, 2013

While waiting for my newest piece, Worlds Apart, to be photographed so I can share it, I’m launching into my next piece. I have this crazy idea to felt individual “cells” that will have openings created by felting around a resist. If you’re into felting you know there are endless 3D objects that can be made using this technique-vessels, bowls, slippers or fantastical creatures like those made by Andrea Graham (whose work I love)!

I’m already incorporating different ways to create more raised, bas relief texture, like here:

felting texture

felting texture

-so I figure, “why not take it a step further?”

I first cut non-adhesive “foam shelf-liner” (I love hardware stores) into the cellular shapes adding about 30% for shrinkage. These will be the resists to create an inside space within each “cell”.

cutting out the resist shapes

cutting out the resist shapes

Dyed wool batting was applied on both sides of each resist with extra around the sides to fold over and seal the edges. I’m a beginner at this resist business so this step was not smooth…

laying out the wool on the resist

laying out the wool on the resist

But I finally figured out a way to get the pesky fibers to obey me.

wool laid on both sides of resist

wool laid on both sides of resist

Then came the usual felting routine-netting, hot soapy water, lots of massaging. I then rolled the three cells I made in a towel bundle, velcro strapped it and tumbled in a cool dryer. I really dislike all the rolling involved in felting and so have been overjoyed to find the dryer method! So after four rebundlings and retumblings, felting had been achieved and I could cut the cell opening and pull out the resist.

resist out and cut

resist out and cut

Woo hoo it worked! And I (surprisingly) put the purple wool in the correct place so it would be the color of the inside! Here are the three after much fulling and shaping-still wet:

finished wet cells

finished wet cells

I’m very happy with the results and my mind is abuzz with ideas to incorporate lots of these babies in to a piece of art! What will I do with those lovely openings?! Stay tuned.

 

 

 

One Piece -Each Month-30% off

November 19, 2013

I’ve decided to do something special for supporters on my mailing list!

Each month I will be offering an original one-of-a-kind piece for 30% off for that month only-a savings of $300-$900!
This will only be offered to folks on my mailing list!

How do I join this mailing list you ask?!
Look over there in the right hand column (if you don’t see a column, click on the banner at the top of this page and the column will magically appear)>>>>>>>>>>>>

Under “Pages”- Click on “Join My Mailing List!”

Voila! You will now recieve notice of each month’s sale artwork and maybe some studio news to boot. The first sale notice will go out December 1st so if you’re not on my mailing list yet, this is an excellent time to join.
Thanks, Karen

You Are Here - detail

You Are Here – detail

Beneath I (detail 1)

Beneath I (detail 1)

 

 

 

 

New piece “Worlds Apart” coming together

November 3, 2013

You may remember that last summer my 90 year old mother and I felted up a storm. I was specifically focused on experimenting with creating channels using various resists. Read all about that here.

I have since dyed that felt and am now working on a smaller piece incorporating that felting and some dyed and painted silk. It will be called “Worlds Apart”. Here are a few early glimpses at this piece taking shape.

What to do with those lovely channels?

What to do with those lovely channels?

Making silk and felt play nice together

Making silk and felt play nice together

Felt is very sumptious to stitch.

Felt is very sumptious to stitch.

I’ll keep you posted on how it comes together!

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92 other followers