I left you with some pictures from a mushroom walk at my friend Joei’s last weekend. In addition to making the 3rd piece in the ” Hole in a Tree” series I made 2 other pieces during that weekend. Both were based on the same photograph of a trail which I was going to show you. However, I apparently trashed the photo once I’d printed it out. Sorry, won’t do that again.
Moving right along….I started off making a small piece. I had found the perfect resist dyed fabric in with areas of light and dark, just like the trail. Here it is laid out on the wool and base.
In my wool layout I tried to mimic colors I saw in the photo. The gray follows the course of the trail. The upper green corners are where there was green, leafy vegetation. The areas of pink are splashes of light along the trail. Lastly the brown and black are where I saw a tree and rock.
So, the wool layout first, then the face cloth, and finally the wools and fabrics on the surface. Here is another instance of my becoming so involved in the creative process that I forgot to take photos along the way. So what I have to show you is the piece totally laid out and wet down.
I enjoyed the layout of this piece because I used prefelts (prefelts are partially felted pieces. They can be purchased or made. Prefelts can be used for a variety of purposes like when you want nice crisp lines. Or Joei uses them so the wool behind her very detailed images doesn’t show through too much). In this piece I used them for the imagery on the right side of the piece, the splash of light (yellow) in the lower right corner and the greens on the upper right and top. The tree and the roots are silk fabric. The trunk is chiffon and some of the roots are this interesting, shimmery organza I found somewhere and had to have.
Then I got brave and once again decided to throw the piece into the dryer. I was beginning to like this dryer stuff. Did I mention in my last posting that I realized that the dryer would take over the process just when I started getting impatient? I’ll be massaging away and then want to hurry things along and get that finished piece of felt now. My “now” seems usually to be long before the wool is ready. So, just at that point, into the dryer it goes and I go on to something else. 20 -30 minutes later, voila! and it’s ready to full.
Anyway, I kind of forgot about the piece being in the dryer. I believe I’d started making dinner, or something equally important. So about 1/2 hr. later , perhaps more, I pulled it out and here it is:
Can you see that it’s kind of hairy? That is because it was in the dryer for longer than necessary. It is hairier than I really wanted, but…oh well. That’s what happens when one gets distracted.
Another picture of it:
Here are a couple of detail shots showing the prefelt area on the lower right. They give you a good idea of the ruching (crinkling of fabric) as well as the hairiness of the piece.
I must admit I had trouble with this piece. I felt only lukewarm about it. Joei, on the other hand, thought it a huge success. As I thought about the piece and my process I decided I had been too literal as I was making it. Instead of taking my feelings upon seeing the photo and transferring them into the fabric, I tried to follow the photo. Like “painting by numbers”. Well, there was only one solution to that. Try again!
On Sunday I started on my third piece. Again, I used the photo of the path. First I laid out my wool. I used some Rambouillet batt I had dyed. Each of the colors was a combination of 2 — the carding mill hadn’t thoroughly cleaned the machine between carding different colors and so I have a bit of color blending. I didn’t want to use a full face cloth this time, but rather used the silk chiffon (hand-dyed) to designate areas. I also wanted some of the wool showing. Here’s the start of my layout.
By this point Joei’s studio is having a bit more of a “lived in” look to it. 🙂
You’ll notice that I used areas of brightly colored wool. Not necessarily colors one would find in nature. That’s also true of the silk I used. I decided this is what I do best: more abstract, with colors and shapes representing what I see and feel from the photo. It’s my way of distilling something to it’s simplest elements. This photo shows the start of the layout a bit better.
Now I’ve laid out more of my imagery using both silk chiffon and a few scraps of prefelt.
Wet down and into the dryer. Full it and here it is:
Fulling, by the way is the last step of the process where the wool and fabric are subjected to more agitation, and often heat, so that the wool fibers begin to shrink. It takes it from a more or less fragile state to a firm, strong piece of cloth. It is also when the ruching happens, as the wool begins to shrink it pulls the fabric with it causing it to wrinkle and scrunch up. Felting, the first step, causes the wool fibers to migrate into the fabric (at least in nuno felt, which is what I mostly do) and make the wool and fabric one.
And that reminds me of a joke my father used to tell. What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
“Make me one with everything”.
Anyway….Here’s a recap of last weekend’s work:
And now I’ve got to go. My friend Robyn is coming over today. Guess what we’re going to do? Yep, make felt. And also hike and take pictures. It’s wonderful autumn weather here. New England’s finest. Gotta enjoy it while it lasts. And this post is quite long enough, I’d say. Thanks for hanging in there with me.