As you remember I was finished my 3rd quarter challenge except for adding the name. After chatting with others at one of our guild social evenings I decided to put the name on the bottom left. I think it looks right for us because that’s where we see it usually. And that is because usually when you see a map of Ottawa it also shows the 3 cities across the Ottawa river to the north.
It turned out terrible. I need to make the letters bigger and then make them farther apart so the finished word looks right. It actually looks better in the picture here, than in person. I ripped it off and will try again.
I started my 4th quarter challenge. the colours this fall were amazing and I thought about doing a landscape with lots of fall trees but I just wasn’t feeling it. This is what I have done so far. I cut some dark green prefelt to 12×20. this is always harder than it sounds. I do have a proper rotary cutter now and that works way better than the cheap one I had before.
Then I started adding colour. I am not sure why the pieces of fibre look so blurry. When I zoom in, it looks in focus.
Lots of nice fall colours. They are actually dull compared to the leaves this year. the leave glowed even without the sun this year. They looked unreal.
That’s as far as I am. Next time I will show you how it felted up and what I plan to do with it. And hopefully the city name on the cityscape.
I will show you how things have been going with my second quarter challenge piece. If you missed my last instalment it is here. seascape-progress
I finished adding the green for the vegetation.
Next, I worked on the flattened serf
First I tried this,
But no, and then this,
I might have been able to make this work by adding something to the edge of the wave but I didn’t like it
And finally, I went back to silk throwsters waste. I also broke the water edge up into 3.
Next moved on to the foliage. I added green stitching here and there to give it a more vertical look. It doesn’t show much but does add to it. I added some handspun yellow that a friend Bernadette made up for me on the spur of the moment when I was moaning about not having the right yellow.
After this, it was just a matter of adding more stitches. I did add more of the yellow to mingle them more and stop them from being a line across the picture.
This is where I am, stitching away and I still need to add a little dark wool between the planks of the path. I had forgotten about that until seeing the pictures. They are more defined in person.
I was going to just keep going with the stitching. The picture if you recall is quite plain but I was finding it boring, and to uniform in proportion. It needs something else. I wondered about a railing. Not this railing I think, it looks like a Japanese character (badly build temple maybe) or something.
I think I will finish the stitching even if I add something else. Anyone got another idea? I have seven more days to be finished in time.
After I felted it, the front wave mostly disappeared and the white for the flowers was gone too. I should have known I would need more. Oh well, onward I go.
I thought the best way to do the boardwalk would be to make some felt and then cut it up. This was the best match I had for the wood. It is not white but it’s not really beige either.
I laid out a small rectangle of the wool and of course that was much to flat so I added the next shade up and some black wisps.
You can see better when it’s wet.
After it was dry I cut it into uneven strips. The pictures above are taken in my studio and these are in the guild studio, much different light. There are fluorescent but also lots of natural light. in the guild studio.
And here they are just lightly attached. I needled them down more after. I may put some black or dark brown between the boards. I haven’t decided yet.
Next, I started adding the greenery. I wanted more texture. The picture had gone very flat and it made the boardwalk look like it was floating.
I will work on the lost wave and add some stitches to help the plants look more vertical and then flowers of course. It should be done before the end of the month. Are you doing the challenge? How is it coming along?
I finally pieced a picture for my second quarter challenge piece. If you remember is it seascape this quarter. this is the picture I chose.
I found it on the internet, where you find everything. It should be ok as I aske for free to use pictures.
I started with a piece of prefelt a little bigger than a piece of paper, with the idea it would shrink to an to be the size of a piece of paper. And for a change I have a piece the right size. It is a mazing what some planning can do for you. You would think I would learn.
Next I layered some more prefelt to make the basic shapes in the picture. the mottled piece at the front was dyed by a friend.
That is v
That looks very boring and flat so now it has to be brought to life. I added some silk hanky scraps to the water to give it some depth and movement.
Then I added the surf using throwsters waste.
And lastly I added some foliage and flowers
Now it is all ready for wetting down, I plan to add the wooden path to the beach later. I am not sure I have the right colour for the wool. what colour is that anyway?
Wednesday I taught an evening class in flowers at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild. It is a bit rushed for beginners to get both flowers finished but everyone got it done and we all had a good time.
As usual, I kept forgetting to take pictures but I did get some and Jan was in the class and got some but she was busy too.
First, we did a petunia/morning glory shaped flower this is me explaining how you layout the wool for the flower.
Jan remembered to take a picture of her layout. This is part way through.
Here everyone is diligently felting their flowers
This is Jan’s flower after scrunching and throwing. People usually look skeptical that this will be a flower at this point.
But then Ta Da!
Then there was no time to waist and we were on to Flower 2. Stems and stamens and silk hankies.
There was rubbing and rolling and gentle fulling and no throwing for these.
And lastly Jan to a good picture of her 2 blue flowers.
I think I may make this into a full-length class with a few more flowers. and maybe add some leaves to the stems.
Last week I had the opportunity to take a 2 day class with Moy MacKay. I went with a couple of friends and we had a great time. We did the wet felting on day one. We had 2 pictures to choose from for the landscape.
I chose the one the left.
Moy demonstrated and explained to us how to work and what to do. We got to ask questions. She told us to take lots of pictures as we went because you see things in the picture that you don’t see in just looking at it. Still I didn’t take enough.
First we laid out the background
Then we added the foreground and details. The house is prefelt and the flowers in the front are chopped up curls
We wet them down and gave them a 2 or 3 min rub and then rolled them for about 3 min one way and then the other for another few min and we were done. They are very lightly felted but that’s ok because they are pictures not hats.
That took the morning. After lunch we did another piece, a still life, flowers. We had a vase of red flowers and babies breath to use for inspiration. We were not to copy it but to use it to see how flowers look. You can see it in the group picture. Moy demonstrated again and explained again and then we only had about an hour to put the picture together and then a short time to get it felted before we had to be out of the room for another group.
We started with the table then the foliage and then the vase and then moves some leaves around. Then we added the flowers. The babies breath is nepps.
I quite like it at this stage. Not as much after it was felted.
On day 2 we started the embellishing. Moy talked about and demonstrated needle felting accents and refining the pictures. Also some machine embroidery and stitching. we could try the machine stitching if we wanted but my picture wasn’t ready for that yet. This is what they are like now. No where near done but works in progress.
This is after I straitened up the house and removed the mangled fence and added a new one.
This is where it is now. I added windows and ivy to the house. I removed the cobwebs from the trees. I added some shading to the trees. I added in some stems for the flowers in front and another fence. I think the field behind the left fence needs to be darker because it’s farther away. It doesn’t show well in the picture but right now it is lighter and more yellow than the front field. It needs a lot more work but I think I know what I want to do to it.
And the flowers. I forgot to take a picture of when it was wet felted but had no embellishments. But here it is so far. I am not as keen on the flowers but they are alright. I may like them better after I work on them some more. The table needs straitening up and lots more texture. And notice the nepps have stuck. We had chopped up some green fibers as part of the foliage and I think the short fibers under them made them stick.
And lastly a picture of everyone’s works at the end of the second day. the flowers we used are beside Moy.
It was a great class. I think it’s given me confidence to try some more. Jan will be doing more posts for us and I hope she will do one about this class too. She will have taken at least a hundred more pictures than me and be able to show you her works in progress too.
Last week I missed doing my blog post because I had no power or internet. My area was hit by 6 tornados. We were not hit we had no damage. Some areas near us were hit very hard, the large power substation near us was hit and some of the cell phone and internet towers too.
Before all that I did manage to work on my piece for the guild exhibition and sale. I do not think I will get it done in time as it is due in a week. The theme was a 100-mile inspiration. I decided to do a scene with the Parlement buildings. I am using 2 prefelt layers with a piece of cotton gauze in the middle for the background.
First I found a simple outline picture I could use for the outline of the building. I cut that out and tried it on the background.
I pinned it to another piece of prefelt and cut it out.
Then it was time to work ou the clouds.
After I took the picture and looked at it I realized I had made the clouds to symmetrical. Its funny how looking at a picture sometimes shows you more than just looking at it. I tacked all the pieces together with a few jabs of a felting needle
Next was adding fireworks as I am thinking it should be Canada Day.
Then I cropped the picture to see better how it will look.
I wet felted the piece and now I need to do some stitching around the building so it will show better.and my daughter said I should add beads around the fireworks like the sparkles you see with fireworks. I thought maybe some sparkly thread and a bead at the end of each firework. What else would you add to this silhouette picture?
While making little bags I also made a small picture. i suppose it would count for the first quarter challenge. happy-new-year-prepare-to-be-challenged/ I hope to do somthing a little more challenging before the quarter is over. I like little pasture scenes. I started with a piece of black prefelt and then laid the blue sky and pasture. I thought I took more pictures but it seems I didn’t.
This what the back looks like. I wrapped the coloured fibers around the prefelt . I use black prefelt because it will intensify the colours. If I used white it would take the colours towards pastel.
This is the front side felted. I made the contours of the meadow by using a multicoloured roving I had. I think it lets you give the meadow some texture and shape without painstakingly adding tiny bits of colour. I added some clouds to the sky and some flowers to the meadow with some soft silk and little white blobs of sheep as place markers for the next part.
I added the sheep using some embroidery floss and french knots.
Then added the heads and ears. I used a grey for the sheep that are farther away. I think it worked.
At this point it could have been done but I needed something else. Your eye goes to the middle and it is empty. I discussed it over on the Felting and Fiber Studio Forum and I decided some trees were needed. I only know how to do one kind of tree that looks half decent so ever greens were next. I did them in a medium green and then when back with fewer strands and added some darker stitches to give them more depth.
Here it is finished. I had to trim the top off so it would fit in the frame. I always seem to make to much sky anyway so that worked out well enough.
I looks quite nice in the frame. The frame seems to pop it out. I didn’t realise how many scratches it had until I took a picture. I will have to paint it. It is not a great picture, ther was so much reflection. this was the best compromise between the light reflecting or having a clear shot of me in the glass.
I need to learn to embroider more then far away evergreens and sheep. A little cabin or a nice oak tree would have been a nice addition to the picture. I am thinking of buying Moy MacKays book. Do you have a favourite art felt or how to hand stitch pictures or art books?
This is the Guilds display for the 2017 Ottawa Valley Farm Show in March of 2017. Lynda is hiding behind her loom, Ann is about to spend the day making felted beads with the kids, and Merilyn is spinning beside the empty chair where I was working. We do put on an interesting demo!
The Farm show is a huge display of farm equipment, seeds, antique display, farm oriented venders, trappers, government department’s booths, the wool growers co-op, and various breed and rare breed associations. It is really a huge event drawing people not only form the Ottawa Valley but the rest of eastern Ontario. It’s always early March so weather can be an issue. We had a blizzard the second day of the show.
I was getting lots of interest in the pieces I had already completed for the 150th Art Show.
It was time to start the next project. So before the demo it was time to decide what to do next. After much debate between Moose bison and polar Bear I decided to continue with the arctic theme.
By now you are likely starting to guess my working process. So yes it was back to the internet to find reference photos and work out a composition likely from a composite of pictures. Working with a square is a lot more challenging. The eye naturally is drawn to shapes that feel comfortable, shapes that follow the golden mean or Fibonacci to figure out stripe progressions (Rectangles). Shape that have proportions you find in nature. Squares are definitely more of a challenge. But I’m use to a good challenge, you should see my un-spell-checked spelling!
So the quest was on find an image I could made square. but not be too static. So either intensity or dynamic composition was what I was looking for. So find images that cought my eye, then crop to square.
As I perused the inspirational options I thought about the talk Robert Bateman had given at Halliburton last summer. He spent some time discussing some of his earlier work mentioning his frustration painting a polar bear in a snow storm then the next painting was a black timber wolf at night in a dark forest. He had mentioned that white wasn’t just white. So to look carefully and not assume you know your subject just because it’s “white”.
Some images were very interesting but just didn’t want to be square.
Then I spotted this one. The intensity of the look was amazing. The shapes were simple but if I could get the eyes it would work really well. The image dew you in, there was such contemplation and stillness. It was like looking a momentary paws in the action. I liked it! Ok I had my inspiration.
Day one demo
I brought my large foam pad, core wool (Rideau Arcott), and various shades of white grey browns yellow red and blue. (I as optimistic but didn’t think I would get the understructure done in one day.) I got dropped off around 7ish, parking can be very crowded so it was better to get there unusually early and I could set up and get started. Glenn had over time so it was a late pick up as well so I was there for over 12 hours. I got a lot done.
I had premade my background felt layer at home using my wicked 10 needles in a row tool. It was again impressive how well it worked on flat felting.
For the understructure I mostly worked upside down to help get the general proportions correct. I could have made a graph over the photo to make a more exact copy but I wanted the photo to be more an inspiration than an exact likeness.
I was explaining the backing layer that the understructure would be attached to.
I got a lot of “what are you making” in the morning, then by afternoon it was “is that a dog?”
Most said they would come back later to see what I had accomplished on their way out.
A couple more quick shots of the demo in progress before we go on to day 2.
This is a very cool loom from around the 1970’s. It was fascinating to see it working.
Ann had a lot of help making felted beads using pencils. She is really amazing!!
Merylin was busy spinning some of her Sheep’s wool she had dyed herself. She has a beautiful painted wheel.
Day 2 demoing
I had booked off 2 of the 3 days of the demo. So again I got there unreasonably early, got help to get the display set up again.
Today we had Gord with one of his great wheels (he has several)
I had the understructure to my liking and started working from the top down
Amada was spinning on her Hitchhiker wheel. She dose amazing natural dyeing some of which was on display.
As you can see in the foreground of the picture I had progressed to adding colour to my under structure. By the time I hit the eyebrows I was starting to get comments of “is that a polar Bear?”
I chose blue face Lester since my memories of my Grandmothers Polar Bear rug is still vivid in my memory. Since I think the last time I slept on it was over 40 years ago it really did make an impression. It had a yellow tint to the white fur, the fur was stiff but not really course. It was smooth if you patted it in the direction the fur grew. It was a wonderful polar bear I don’t know what happened to it. I hope it is still being loved by small children sleeping on it.
This is the progress at about ¾ of the way through day 2. I was definitely felting faster on this one.
Day 3 of the Farm show demo.
I had a short day of work so rushed back for the final day of the demo. We had a pretty full demo team and the weather was a bit better than the previous days’ blizzard.
Laurie and Julie are Weaving, Merylin was spinning and I was still felting.
I got a lot more of the face done. But it was slow going due to hand blending each section I was working on. I was still finding the hand blending less uniform, which was what I wanted, than using the carders. Also with the different lengths of fibre I was blending with the blue face Lester it was a lot easier to work with it just by hand. I wound up with alpaca as well as wool to get the colours I had wanted.
I had a couple more evenings of touching up the colour and the Polar Bear was complete.
The pieces made another appearance at the demo for Dickenson day in Manotick Ontario.
This is my show and tell the meeting before the show.
Here are all the pieces I did for the 150th anniversary show.
While I was making Polar Bear I thought about my western Grandmother and about my brother who has done most of his work in the North so I am giving this piece to my brother Dave. This is his Bio so you will see why I was thinking of him.
(Dr. David J. Scott is the Executive Director of the Canadian Polar Commission in Ottawa. Prior to his current post Dr. Scott had a long career with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), finishing as Director, Northern Canada Division.
At the GSC he also served as acting Director General, Planning and Operations Branch, and led the GSC’s Gas Hydrates and Northern Resources Development programs. From 1999-2003, he was based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, as the founding Chief Geologist of the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office.
Dr. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada) and a PhD in Geological Sciences (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada) where his thesis research investigated the tectonic origin of two-billion year old oceanic crust in Arctic Quebec. He was a Research Associate in uranium-lead geochronology at the GEOTOP laboratories of the University of Quebec at Montreal. He has published and presented over 80 technical papers.
I am very proud of his many accomplishments. I wonder if he will put it in his northern office his southern office or keep it at home. Where ever he puts it I hope he enjoys it.
I have a PS to this Post Jan won the peoples choice award for her Polar Bear at our Canada 150 Show.
I sent a card to my partner for the Christmas card on the forum. holiday-exchange-2017 She has it now so I can tell you all about making it.
First I went through my old felt bin to find a thickish piece of felt and cut out a tree shape. It’s a blueish green even if it doesn’t look like it.
I then cut out some red prefelt I had for the background. I did 2 layers for each of these. I did the extra on so if this didn’t turn out I could go with plan B.
Then I roughly cut out a tree shape form a silk scarf I got at the second hand store. I then layers the pieces and wet it all and trimmed the silk a little.
Even with 2 layers the prefelt is not very thick so I added red merino to cover the extra silk and make it thicker and more sturdy. I cut the wool to give it a nice straight edge to put up against the tree and give a nice clean line.
After that was done I flipped it over and wrapped the excess around to the back. I wanted to make sure the tree would stick to the finished felt so I did some poking with my felting needles.
This after the fulling. I blocked them to square them up. The blue colour of the tree came through the silk more than I wanted so I gave it a shave to bring the green back.
I went through my stash looking for some fuzzy gold yarn to use as tinsel but instead found this yarn with beads that I think looks like lights. I sewed it on and then added some shiny pony beads as Christmas balls and a star.
I thought it looked ok but lacking something. So I added some 3D sheep. I think they improve it and make it look finished.
I printed off a post card template from the internet and using fusible web ironed it to the back of the felt. I forgot to take a picture of that but I am sure you all know what the back of a postcard looks like. I like it and my exchange partner seemed to be very happy with it. No I just wait for Canada Post to decide to get mine to me. I am hopeful it will arrive before Christmas.