Merino wool / bamboo fibre blend, thread, water soluble fabric
For millennia, our watery planet has been spinning in space sustained by the Plantae kingdom. Insignificantly small by comparison to the size of earth, trees and plants ‘en masse’ are the main contributor to terrestrial life, being the viable and dynamic operation of the earth’s ecosystems. Producing oxygen via photosynthesis – they create the invisible life-giving element that shrouds the globe.
Closeup of free machine embroidery incorporated into the felt
Veiling with wool to represent ‘mists’
Densely stitched threadwork done on water soluble
Profile showing depth of piece
Mists of time in gallery
Another angle in gallery
Exhibited flat, but designed for hanging
Vertical / front view
Integrating Felt and Thread
The global reference of this piece determines the colour as well as it’s shape. To keep the shape as perfectly circular as possible, there needs to be support for the shape. After allowing for shrinkage, and using a resist, the large circular pre-felt is made. The thread-work, which in this case involves very dense stitching on water soluble fabric, is put in place. Very gentle massaging is necessary to get the wool fibres to adhere to the thread. Although flat, the density of the stitching means it takes a while to encourage the wool fibres to migrate through the available spaces.
Once significant shrinkage becomes apparent, the thread-work, which is quite stiff, buckles. Creating this dimensional effect as well as some careful layering of wadding, results in the partial dome shape. The circular art-board was inserted once the piece was fully felted.
Because this piece consists of relatively delicate elements, it is under glass to prevent damage, which makes taking photos a bit of a challenge. Pik-a-poppy expresses the fragility of poppy petals in stark contrast to their sturdy stems, leaves and seed pods. Apart from the stems, the entire background is painted including the poppies and leaves. The poppy petals are cut from 3 shades of red organza with a heat tool which seals the edges. The painted area gives more depth to the layers of almost translucent petals that are then applied over the top. The stems are made with many layers of machine satin stitch which start off narrow, becoming wider, until a rounded effect is achieved.
Pik-a-Poppy – Sold
Closeup leaves – silk carrier rods
Layered organza for poppies
In gallery under glass
Silk carrier rods
As a by-product, silk carrier rods are pretty nifty for textile artists. They form as firm little cylinders around the carrier rods on the equipment used for unreeling the cocoons. They still contain a lot of sericin and can be used to make silk paper. In this project, they were hand dyed, split into thin layers, ironed and laid down with stitch to create the leaves. As the dye spreads unevenly through the layers of the carrier rods, different shades and mottling results, creating more variations.
As well as texture, Rainbow Burst is an expression of my love of colour. In particular I love to graduate coloured fabrics, which in this piece included feathers. In fact, it is a bit like a flat version of Dreamkeeper, but without the zips.
Bit of beading
Feathers and fabric scraps
Closeup stitch and layeres
Fabrics include synthetic and natural, and for the most part are feather shapes. Thread colours change as often as the fabrics and blending both became an organic process. I seldom work with black, but this one works and I guess somebody else thought so, as it was the first piece to be sold on opening night.