Sunday 24 March 2019

If in doubt, cut it up!

As Cath promised here is part 3 of Marvellous Mixed Media Felting Workshop.  Those who read my personal blog know that I am very prone to cutting things up - especially those pieces that I think don't work or I just don't like.  Here you will find an example of both reasons.

I liked the colours I had used with this first piece.  It was only meant to be a sample.  The original piece of felt I thought was two big so I had cut it into two thirds and a third whilst we were at the workshop.  This is the two thirds piece.

I didn't think either piece worked so when I got home I cut up both pieces into smaller pieces.  Of course I could have left it as a sample but decided I'd rather make it into something.

I tried various ways of reassembling the bits.

I stitched on each piece separately and added gold acrylic paint.

I put the pieces together and sewed them to make this whole textile called Piece by Piece 1

These were  the two pieces I made on the second day of the workshop.  And I didn't like them.  Especially the one on the right that looked like it was an African or Aboriginal mask.

So you surely know what is coming next!  Yes.  I cut them both up.

Then I experimented with the reassembly until I came up with something I liked.   Some of the pieces were very thick but by needlefelting them I managed to get them thinner.

I stitched on the pieces and sewed the pieces together.  I added copper acrylic paint.  This one is called Piece by Piece 2.

If you come to our exhibition at the British Quilt and Stitch Village from April 12th-14th you can see whether these pieces stayed like this or whether I was tempted by more stitching or more cutting up!


Thursday 14 March 2019

Marvellous Mixed Media Felting Workshop Part 2

Please see previous post for Part 1 of this workshop.

We returned the following day, having some ideas of what elements we wanted to include but still very much prepared for the part serendipity might play.

As in Part 1, I'm grateful to Bernice (BH), Caroline (CM) and Deb (DD) for extra images.

Bernice produced several pieces and again documented the process well.

Experimenting with the orientation.

Adding surface decoration

A different kind of resist

Deb also tried this type of double resist ...


... with a beautiful result as she began to cut into it later.

Detail of the above, after beginning to cut into it (CM)

My piece using a similar double resist has a border of nuno felted recycled silk chiffon but it was still awaiting the scissors here ...

... but I did spend a lot of time thinking about the layers on this next piece!

My clothes don't always match my work but it does happen quite often! (CM)

Unfortunately, I was so engrossed thinking about the layers that I forgot to take many photos of the different stages of this but I began with a layer of purple needle-felted pre-felt, adding a copper shim circle, which I'd marked in a spiral with a 'dead' biro.

After adding more layers, including glass beads, more copper shapes and another resist over the copper spiral, I also used some of the purple pre-felt as added decoration on the top layer, along with some dyed Blue Faced Leicester curls.

I finally remembered about photos!

After felting, it looked like this ...

Here come the scissors ...

I was very pleased with it at this stage and resolved to cut into it more at home.

Deb's next piece had several resists in the different layers ...


... with added delicate surface decoration.


Cutting into the layers to remove the resists

Detail of the above after Deb has begun to cut into the felt (CM)

We were all inspired to continue working on our pieces at home. Deb made a fabulous new piece using the same techniques ...

Detail (DD)

I finished cutting into my rainbow copper spiral piece, concentrating on the purple pre-felt in the bottom corner ...

Detail of cutting into top layer of purple pre-felt

... and thought about stitching but decided not to.

Finished piece waiting to be mounted

Then, look what happened when I started cutting into my double resist piece with nuno-felted strips!

Still work in progress but, when I bent it in my hands to see more clearly what colour was under the turquoise, it became decidedly 3d and will probably be a vessel. Did I mention Serendipity?

Come and see us in Uttoxeter at Quilt & Stitch Village (12th - 14th April) to see this and more of our work in Traverse's new exhibition for 2019, 'Revealed'. We'd love to see you there.

We thoroughly enjoyed our two days at the Felt Foundry with Caroline and came away with many new ideas and techniques to explore. Bernice is writing a separate blog about what happened next with her work. Watch this space for Part 3 - coming soon ...


Friday 8 March 2019

Marvellous Mixed Media Felting Workshop Part 1

Last week, I spent a weekend with Deb and Bernice on a wonderful workshop with Caroline Merrell at The Felt Foundry in Bishop's Frome. We all had some prior experience of wet felting but it was those magical words - Mixed Media - in the title that particularly attracted us to this workshop. The idea of mixing metal, glass and other inclusions within the felt, then possibly adding paint, sounded really interesting and Caroline's work looked amazing.

Thanks to Caroline (CM), Bernice (BH) & Deb (DD) for many of the images in this post.

by Caroline (CM)

by Caroline (CM)

by Caroline (BH)

The Felt Foundry was a beautiful workspace with some wonderful resources ...


including goody bags for us all - not forgetting coffee, tea, a wide variety of biscuits and scrumptious home-made cake!


Moving swiftly on to the actual work (!) ...

Essentially, this will be a picture blog, without necessarily going into great detail about the processes and it may not be strictly in order. However, I will try to show the evolution of some of our pieces and maybe some idea of our creative processes.

Caroline began by demonstrating how to make different types of felt inclusions, which can be attached on the surface or buried underneath the felt - basically tubes, braids (thin and thick) and felt balls.

Beginning to make a tube around a resist (BH)

Adding more layers

Our tubes waiting to be attached to our samples

More from Caroline's demonstration - rolling braids of different thickness ...

Rolling a thick braid (BH)

Attaching thinly rolled braids to enable them to stand up, using resists to add an extra dimension ...



We built up small felt balls with several layers and rolled them in our hands before cutting them in half in preparation for burying them in our felt sample pieces.

Caroline showed us how to layer up our felt, burying various inclusions of our choice, including the felt items we'd prepared and also metal, fabric and glass beads.

Laying out the inclusions (BH)

Adding the prepared felt inclusions (BH)

Burying it all underneath the thick final layer of fibres (BH)

Feeling inspired, we began work on our own samples ...

Bernice was very organised and took several sequences of photos following the progress of her pieces.

Experimenting with folding the tube

At this stage, Bernice decided to cut this piece into two and she continued to work on the larger of the two.

The following photos show the sequence of cutting into the felt.

Removing the resists

This is my sample ...

Positioning the braid and felt balls (BH)

I changed the braid into a spiral before adding the tube, more inclusions and 'spikes' (BH)

When it was dry, the fun began as I started to cut into the felt.

I cut out some  circles

I wasn't sure about the spikes or the tube towering over the whole piece so I experimented with ways to make it smaller, folding and twisting it. I was quite pleased with this ...

Twisted tube and woven spikes

However, much later sitting at Deb's kitchen table, I decided that looked too much like a rose and I wanted something more abstract so I came up with something different ...

... which drew this comment from a friend yesterday - "So you got rid of the rose and came up with a bishop's hat!"

This is as far as I've taken the sample, having cut into the spiral and added a few more curls with needle felting. It needs more work and I'm planning to stitch into it eventually.

Here is Deb's sample piece.

Positioning the felt inclusions (BH)

Adding fabric & glass bead inclusions (DD)

Adding the top layer (BH)

Cutting into the felt

Cutting back into top layer (BH)

As you can see, Deb also experimented with the tube, shortening it by cutting some off the top and placing it over the tube and then deciding to cut into the remaining top edge.

We thoroughly enjoyed working on our samples and began to think about which elements to use in our own designs. Look out for Part 2 coming soon ...