Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wet felting 3D shapes

It is a week since I posted last, so my self-imposed schedule means I have to post today.  But there is not much to post about. I have been experimenting with making fruit shaped wet felted pieces with little success. I have never quite understood why people would want textile fruit so my heart hasn't been in it really.  I am doing it for a friend who has asked me to work with some of her primary school art classes again this year.  I will have to either convince her that 3D wet felting is not for young beginners or come up with a really good idea!

I have found some good info online. This site  was very helpful (I have put the second post as it has a link to the first.). I have made a pear - sort of.  It is vaguely pear-shaped (in many senses of the phrase) but is still flattish, not spherical like I would like it to be.   The apple looks like a heart too. That is due to my inexperience with 3D wet felting and adding layers.

There is a disparity in sizes as I did the pear first and thought it would shrink more than it did.
More work to be done to get it better.

On a more self-promoting note, here is a link to an article about the Beneath the Southern Sky exhibition which is still travelling the world.  It doesn't mention my work specifically but I am basking in reflected glory.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Winter Delights exhibition

The Alcove Art Shop is having its Winter Delights exhibition in a couple of weeks.

I have been trying to think of what to make that might sell - it is a sale/exhibition.  There will be much more work available for sale than is usually in the shop, and there is a great variety of techniques.

I find that I like to play around with ideas and rarely make things that I want to sell.  They are either not suitable for a shop, not well enough made or, if they are, I don't want to part with them! So I will have to play around a bit more and see if I can come up with something that I think is good enough to sell and that someone might actually want to buy.

Maybe I need to stop trying all different techniques and actually concentrate on one.  Then I would get more skilled at it AND I might make enough to sell.  But where would be the fun in that?

Most of the artists who put work in have other outlets and are professional or semi-professional artists.  It is just so hard to make a living as an artist, especially in the art/craft area, that they often have other jobs as well. But the standard of work is high.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making slow progress

I am away from home. I went away for the weekend, hoping I would do more weaving than I seem to do at home. But I have read a book, watched a football match, gone to the local town, etc.
I have done some weaving but I keep needing to take a break - for two reasons.
One is that my back gets stiff after a while and I need to go and do something else.
The other is that the weaving is FIDDLY!! I have lots of windows and doorways that require sewing up, often side by side. There are lots of decisions needing to be made about colours, especially as my cartoon has no colour or shading. And I am putting in some elements as the mood takes me. So I suppose I can only blame myself for all the deciding I have to do.
I am gradually getting there but much more slowly than I had anticipated.
I am also spending time trying to see if I can do a post using an iPad. More technology to learn. Not that I need to really, I am not going to do many posts with an iPad.
However, after a bit of fiddling around, I have discovered how to take a photo using the iPad and then upload it. So here's hoping it works. Not that it is much of a photo, I don't much like taking them with the iPad.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I really should have woven it sideways.

I don't know what I was thinking when I warped up the frame.  Maybe it was that the roofline would be lots of straight lines and they are quite long.  But, now that I have started, I realise that the house is set at an angle in my cartoon, so the roofline is not likely to be big long straight lines.  However, the fence and windows do have them, lots of little slits that need lots of sewing up - lots of needles dangling.  Something I am most definitely NOT fond of.
Oh well, it will be good practice for me - and there will be some practice at fixing up bad sewing later, I can already see some places where it will be necessary - and I'm not pulling it back that far now.

The other thing I didn't really think through was that a black and white line drawing isn't really a good final cartoon.  I am having to make up the shading as I go.  This is because I am using two photos of the house, taken years apart, from different angles.

One has really good shadows but lots of trees that obscure the house. The other shows the house better but doesn't have such strong shadows.

As you can see, I have stylised the design a bit too.

So far there has been a bit of pulling out but not too much.  However, it will be one of those things where you do what you think is right and then put in other bits which change how it looks.  (Some colour theory here, which I am researching for another project.) Unlike painting, I can't go over it to change it. I either live with it or take it out.  And that's not easy because of all the bits that overlap! So living with it seems to be the option, let's hope it is not too disappointing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Still playing around with Olga Walters' workshop ideas

Yesterday I used a piece of fabric that was made in the workshop but that had not been sewn.  I wanted to make it into a pouch with sections for the different parts for a TomTom (GPS) for a family member.  However, it was too big for what I wanted and was also too floppy.  This may be because I used polyester filler rather than wool or cotton.  The sewing was also less dense than in other pieces we were shown and that we did in the workshop.

Back to the drawing board.

I had a piece from the original Olga Walters workshop that I did not finish, I had just sewn it so that the fabric strips were well and truly attached.
Today I got it out and sewed it a bit more.  I attached some medium weight interfacing to the back of the piece and sewed it more densely.

After making the basic fabric, I then fiddled around, trying to work out how to close it.  I didn't want to use press studs because that might mean you were pressing on the screen.  I wasn't sure if you could use magnets near a computerised item, I seem to remember that magnets do dreadful things to computer monitors.  So I decided to put on a button with a loop.
Do you think I could remember how to do that??  NO.  But the amazing internet came to the rescue.  I found this useful video of how to turn a tube of fabric inside out.  The woman in the video says she doesn't use many tools in her sewing but that this tool is one she loves.  As far as I can see, it is just a straw, or a small tube, and a stick with a rounded end.  That is what I used, a straw and a meat skewer.  It worked a treat.
I came across this useful site, telling me how to make a clutch.  I didn't do it their way but I did learn how to make the button tie thingy.  One very useful tip was to use a button with a shank, so that the tie can go around it. This might be obvious to you people with sewing experience out there, but it was news to me.  I am going to have to become a more proficient sewer if I am actually going to use these fabrics I keep dyeing and creating.
Here is the finished item.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Yet another bowl

I had to blog today, 7+6=13.  Just a little quirk I have.

Today I decided to try making a fabric bowl.  No really good reason, just wanted to see if I could.  I had been looking at books of bags and, suddenly, there I was, making a bowl. It seemed too complicated to make a bag.  And a bowl is smaller.

So I got out the template I made up for my thread bowl and cut out some fabric.  I used the technique I learnt recently at Olga Walters' workshop.  I used white cotton for the base fabric and some wool batting I had that was the right size.  As I was making a bowl and you can see both sides, I chose some fabric I dyed years ago at a dyeing workshop.

Winter is approaching and there are starting to be ads for Christmas in July, so I decided I might play around with some Christmas stuff that I didn't get around to in December.  I might even try some decorations too - we can always use them in December.

That is one of the advantages of having Christmas in summer, people want to do the whole hot meal thing and have another celebration in July - not that my family does but I can still play.

After I laid out the template, over the three layers, I cut it all to the shape of the template.  I'm still not sure if this was a good idea or not, it did work but there were some fiddly bits under the sewing machine.   Then I cut out the Vliesofix and ironed it onto the top fabric.  This is when I realised that the template is not perfectly symmetrical and had to do some adjusting.  It might have been better if I had done the cutting through all the layers at once.  Live and learn.

I then laid out some scraps of fabric I had, I also used the wedges I had cut out for the template.  I have had these tiny scraps for years, being rather obsessive about not wasting things.  Finally, a use for them.
I am having issues with focus on my camera, sorry.

I sewed over the surface to attach them more firmly.  I then decided to do a red pattern to give added solidity.  It was easier to see from the back, so I did that.

I then butted the pieces together and used satin stitch to join them.  Then I sewed across the top edge.

Voila - a reversible bowl.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Abstract portrait

After deciding that I wasn't that keen about my portrait, I looked around the internet and found this image at 123RF.

I then got out some cut off threads from my tapestry weaving and my machine sewing, and some small scraps from my quilting.  All recycled elements, very happy about that!
I laid them out on the surface of the fabric, which had Vliesofix ironed onto it.
Then I just sewed over them.  

I am not sure how well it would wear but it was fun to do.  
It is not a self-portrait, I don't have blue eyes.