So sliding in on a cloud of dust I have the branch finished just as the quarter runs out. I know we don’t have to get it done in a specific time but it is nice to get it done in the quarter the challenge is posted.
After looking at it and especially seeing it in a photo I decided the larger flowers at the bottom of the flowers should have yellow centres. So I added them. I used mostly french knots with 2 threads. The single french knots are smaller than the colonial knots. The Yellow stands out more in the photo than in real life.
It still looked pretty sparse so I decided leaf buds would help. I looked them up online. It was best to look up flowering trees and look at the buds in the background. It didn’t seem to matter the kind of tree the leaf buds looked pretty much the same. I made all the leaf buds at the same time so I would get them about the same size. It didn’t take long and I only poked myself a few times. That’s the problem of working small.
first I had to make the green I wanted. I had Christmas green, lime green and a very yellow-green. I mixed them with a couple of dog brushes.
I made 2 at a time. Then cut them in half and finished shaping them while holding them. I poked myself working on the pad not in my hand and I know Jan will tell me she just gave me a tool so I wouldn’t do that. But I forgot until after I poked myself, naturally.
I fiddled around placing them. and felted them down…… without poking myself.
I had originally thought I would add a bit of brown near the base of the buds but I didn’t like it and pulled them off.
I am quite pleased with the finished branch. Now I need to steam it a bit, to block it square. The dent on the left is really bugging me.
I have moved forward a little on my tree limb. I decided to go with a grey sky as a background so that I had more choice with colour.
I added a branch in brown It isn’t as flat a brown as it looks in the picture but I think I need to add a different brown to it. I will work on that.
Then I sketched the branch to think about colours. I decided on an orange central vein. That is probably not the right name for it but it is what I can think of to call it. Then a purple fuzzy haze with flowers in it. and some idea of budding leaves.
So far people here like the pink ones. I am not sure. Which ones do you like?
After searching my stash for another brown to go with my branch I had nothing. So it was good timing that there was a fibre event near me called For the Love Of Fibre. This is its second year. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167963160700589
I was looking for brown but it seems I turned the wrong way went in and ended up in Top of the Whorl Spindles https://topofthewhorlspindles.ca/ She had no brown wool but she had these amazing sample boxes that are just the right size for me.
I wandered around and stopped at the Black Lamb https://theblacklamb.ca/ They have lots of wool but not the right brown so I got a piece of Black Felt (it’s more than prefelt but less than felt) It is thicker than the prefelt or felt you typically see. In the picture, it looks like there are lots of white hairs in it but that is just what it picked up in the stack of prefelt. I think if I run the lint roll over it, it will be good. They also gave me a size 40 spiral needle to try out.
Then after doing a full circuit of the room just to the right of the entrance, there was Farfelu Fibreworks https://farfelufibreworks.ca/ and she had the perfect brown. It is a little darker than it appears in the picture but lighter than the pencil roving in the picture with it.
It is Finnish wool so I was surprised at how soft it was. I asked her later and it is a lamb fleece. I asked people at the guild social to guess what it was I got superfine merino, alpaca and angora as guesses. I will have to see how it wet felts as well as needle felting. I think I will be wanting more so naturally she lives on the other side of the province. Oh well, maybe we can get her to come for our guild Sale and Exhibition in November.
I have been thinking about my spring tree for the 2nd quarter challenge. I have decided I will not try to make my tree a real tree but an imagined one. That will give me more scope to play. I did some thinking and the best way to show flowers will be to do a close-up of a branch. I did some sketching on my pad for that. I am not a very good drawer but I think it’s not a bad branch.
I’ve decided I want some long, hanging flowers.
Next, it was off to the internet to look at long, hanging flowers. I think I know how I want to do them.
Then I had to have a good rummage to find the felt I used last time. How do things become lost so quickly? Well, I know really, I don’t put things away. 🙂 I did find it, and some felt I had forgotten about. I will try not to lose it again. It is just a white rectangle at the moment. I am trying to decide if I leave it that way or if I felt it light blue for the sky. I am not sure.
That’s as far as I am at the moment. We are working on clearing things that don’t belong out of my studio. I need to rearrange in the house, to get another piece out. Another job for the list.
I picked a piece or felt I had and added the sky and snow backgrounds. I used 3 shades of natural white wool for the snow so that it wasn’t so flat. I used Merino, Corriedale and something strong and shiny. the shiny wool may have been BFL or even Mohair.
Then I started working on the tree. I worked on a separate surface so as not to disturb the background too much as it is only lightly needle felted. I decided to work in two layers for the tree so this is the darker back layer. I started by just fluffing it up and then using a knitting needle to move fibres around to get a better tree shape. Then gave it a dry felting ( just flattening and wiggling it a bit so they the fibres stick together) to move it onto the background.
I picked a redder brown for the second layer. I forgot to take a picture of it when it was separate. I must have been in the felting zone. I put the tree slightly off-center. I tried it in the middle and I didn’t like it.
Here’s a close-up so you can see the 2 layers
I poked the tree all over to tack it in place and started fiddling with the roots, so it won’t fall over in the wind.
and some more snow
And that was as far as I am right now. I will probably fiddle with it more before wet felting it and then fiddling more, of course. I am thinking of adding a shadow but not sure how to tackle it. I am not sure where the sun is. I may have to go out to the field and look at shadows.
Have you started your tree challenge or maybe you’re going with making something useful or both?
We would all like to see photos of challenge pieces and if you are unable to upload photos directly onto The Felting and Fiber Forum ‘studio challenges’ thread, then please use the link below.
Lyn and Annie have set us a challenge for this quarter to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909. The challenge is here If you would like to see it and maybe you could join in. first-quarter-challenge
I have in the past thought about doing a piece inspired by her amazing work. Lyn and Annie have given me the push I need. I thought I could do something similar in felt for my own farm. First a prototype. This is a flat piece and not of my farm but just a farm. I used an old sweater that I ran through the washer then dismantled and ran through a couple more times. I wanted a nice sturdy base.
I did this picture by needle felting into a square cut out of the sweater. I have one of the little 6 needle holders that I used for most of it. Then switched to a single needle to put in the details. It is done in a very minimalist way with
The sweater piece.
The background and the road and the start of a field.
Added the fields and the house and barn.
Then some sheep of course.
I folded all the wool
Lastly used some green curls to make the trees.
It was a lot of stabbing, too much stabbing. I think I will try to do all the main features like roads and the fields by lightly needling them into place and then wet felting them. Just adding the detail and features with needle felting. The next one will be more 3D. I have some ideas for the house and barns. Have you started thinking about his challenge? We would love to hear about it on the felting and Fiber studio Forum. Here’s the link to the place to post pictures. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4247/2021-first-quarter-challenge. or use the Forum button on the left to get there.
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.
Last week in Ruth’s post Batik Post she had a scribble tree. I have always liked them so Ruth suggested I make some. Ok them what to make. then I remembered these felt pieces I made a long time ago, I think, because I do not remember making them or what they were for.
They seem to be white felt with black silk hanky on them that were make to the prefelt stage, then cut out and put on some black prefelt(maybe) and felted again. I had no idea what to do with these but then thought why not just treat them like pieces of tile and just make a picture on them like painters do.
First I needed some tree green yarn so bot out my carders. It is some sort of curly fiber maybe Blue Faced Lester as that is what I have most of and the curls are small.
I made some rolags to spin. It is full of lumps and nepps so it will be a textured yarn.
I spun up a single, then plied it and made it into a center pull ball ready to use.
I used the yarn to needle felt a scribble tree onto one of the bigger pieces.
I decided it needed a star so used some embroidery thread to add one. I would like to add some hanging Christmas balls but there really isn’t room for them. The piece is only about 4 inches square.
I decided to try it on one of the smaller pieces too about 2×3 inches. The picture on the right is the back. I love how all the little stabs of fiber stick out.
So thats been my weeks worth of daily doses of fiber.
As It is so close to new year I am going to Wish you all a Fibrey New Year full of creativity. I am planning to do more hangable art work, work out an online workshop and an intermediate vessel class for my guild. But also to learn how to use my new camera to make and document my work. See you next Year(8 whole days form now).
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.