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Archive for October, 2010

Sorry to all who looked at my blog yesterday and earlier today.  I didn’t realize that when I saved a draft it got posted.  As you noticed, there was nothing there but a title.  Ooops.

My it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Somehow I lost a couple of weeks there in October.

This past weekend was North Adams Open Studios weekend.  I haven’t opened my studio for a few years.  It was fun and I had lots of interesting and interested people come through.  I hung all my finished and framed pieces in the hallway outside the studio. Here’s s shot of some of them.

I was also thrilled to unexpectedly get 2 new pieces felted.  I set up a piece and started laying it out on Saturday so folks could see (and better understand) my process.  It went well and people seemed to like seeing it.  I ended up finishing the first piece so Sunday I did the same thing with a second piece.

My first piece was based on a picture of grasses that I took on a hike outside Sedona, Az. Here’s the photo.

Here’s my layout using Rambouillet batt which I dyed myself. This first photo shows how I’m starting to use different colors of wool in the 2nd layer. My hope is that in the felting process the colors will blend some, giving the final piece more depth.

Here the layout is complete with 2 layers of batt.

Now I start adding silks, again all hand-dyed by yours truly.

Once the piece was felted and fulled I found myself quite surprised.  I had no idea it would be this abstract — and far from the photo.  I love the colors though.  I think this piece calls for a lot of stitching to bring out the grasses, and perhaps other details.  I look forward to continuing to work on it.

The second piece was based on the sky when I drove home from the studio Saturday night.  I don’t have a picture of it (I was driving) but in my mind’s eye I saw stripes of white, blue and gray repeated over and over again.  Nearer the horizon the hills were already that wonderful deep purple color, close to turning black.  I tried to recreate this in the second piece.

Here’s the wool layout .  Once again I put different colors of fleece down in the top layer. The bottom layer is all royal blue, but on the top layer the upper portion is a very pale blue, and on the lower portion I used navy.

The silks are all layed out in this next shot.

Did you notice the upper edge?  It curves upwards from left to right instead of being straight across. Guess I’ve had enough of this rectangular stuff. In the next photo I’ve focused in on the hills.  I added a few pieces of yarn with an idea to start the lines I’ll want to stitch later to give the mountains more shape and meaning.

I don’t have a picture of the addition of yarn and fabric to the sky.  You can see it here in the piece after it’s been felted.

I have to admit that I felted both these pieces in the clothes dryer.  I’m really liking that method, which is both humbling and embarrassing. But it works for me by taking over the process just at the point that I get impatient and would probably mess up.

All in all, it was a good weekend’s work. I also have started a list of people who would like to take classes.  I’m actually liking the idea of teaching.  Funny, it’s something I never really wanted to do before.  I remember my friend Martha (www.marthakennedy.com — check out her work.  It’s wonderful!)  saying she didn’t feel ready to teach until she felt really solid in her technique.  So maybe I’ve reached that point.  Or maybe it’s just that I love felting so much that I want to introduce others to it.

I also have a buyer for 2 small pieces. A lovely woman who stopped in late on Sunday.  And another one of my pieces,  “Roots” (see posts of 4/28 & 5/18) has sold as well.

Today I managed to ship off 2 pieces to West Virginia to be juried for the annual exhibit of the W. Va. Art and Craft Guild.  I do hope they are accepted.  I’ll let you know when I find out.

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October 1 – Rain

For the past 2 days we’ve finally been getting all that rain we didn’t get (and needed) over the past 4 months.  The rain feels good.  I don’t think I’d be happy living in the desert.

That said, work in the studio has been pretty sparse this week.  I am focusing on finishing.  I’m tired of having so many half-finished pieces hanging on my walls.  Also, N.A. Open Studios is just 2 weeks away.  I’d like to have finished, framed work gracing my walls.  So, what little I have done has been stitching, beading and framing.

Last weekend my friend Robyn came over for a short felting visit. We experimented with more dryer felting.  I had a piece that I’d “finished” quite some time ago.  It was just waiting for some appliques to be sewn on.  I decided I wanted it smaller so I could fit it in a standard size frame.  I wet it down and put it in the dryer for a total of about 1/2 hour. This despite the fact that hand stitching has already been done.  I never know for sure what will happen to stitched fabric when it is subjected to the felting process.

I am delighted with the results! Not only did the piece shrink in size, but the yellow circles have popped out and become more apparent. I’m also pleased to report the stitching looks fine.  A dryer success!

I have also been wanting to make another set of placemats for myself.  The very first set I made was last January as is reported on my first blog entry. I’ve had this beautiful hand-dyed silk earmarked for this very project for ….well….since January.  It a dense fabric, really on the borderline of usability for nuno. But I’d worked hard and made a sample and I knew it could work.  I just didn’t want to work that hard on 6 mats!  So, I decided to see what the dryer could do for me.

I laid out 2 of the 6.  Here’s a piece of the fabric.  Yep, the mats are round.

The wool partially laid out.

And the 2 finished placemats.

The dryer did a wonderful job with minimal wear and tear on me.  If you’re wondering where the image you saw on the fabric disappeared to I haven’t felted that piece yet.  Just for clarification, the dryer does the felting part.  In other words, it manipulates the fibers of wool into and through the fabric.  I still get to do the fulling, throwing the stuff around and watching it ruche.

I intend to take the wool around the edges and fold it onto the front of the silk and hem it — unevenly of course. And I’ve 4 more mats to make. But not this weekend.  I’m off to Worcester, MA for 4 days of study with my meditation teacher, Paul Muller-Ortega.  See you next week!

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