The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

Blue Brooch in Progress

Artwork by Liz, Artwork In-Progress

The photos below show the various stages of creating a felt brooch. Except that I forgot to take a photo of the wool fibres with the silk bits included prior to felting. I will get better at this “in-progress” lark – I am certainly getting lots of practice 🙂

I made a “sort of” new year resolution to use what I have in my various stashes (yes, I have more than one stash – one of the penalties perks of working with mixed media). I have quite a lot of embroidery threads – some purchased, some gifted, some hand dyed by me or friends. Embroidery threads tend to tangle and knot and this tendency can be tamed by winding onto bobbins. There were quite a few in the stash that I had been reluctant to use because they were “untamed” and I spent quite a bit of time getting them under control so that I would at least consider using them. This was an enjoyable task sparking lots of ideas as I wound, and wound, and wound.

This blue brooch is now almost finished – it just requires another piece of felt to cover the thread ends and a brooch pin to be stitched to the back for it to be wearable.

A picture of embroidery threads being organised. Some wound onto bobbins so that they are easier to use.

Chaos tamed. Winding threads onto bobbins so that I actually use them. When they are not wound onto bobbins I tend to avoid using them because I know they will get tangled and knotted.

The threads chosen for embellishing a felt brooch. Not all were used.

I forgot to take a picture of the un-embellished piece of felt with the threads that I chose so I took the photo once I had finished. You can probably tell that I didn’t use all of the threads.

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the “barnacles” ended up looking more like flowers – mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I’m still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

A Solo Exhibition – Woo Hoo!

Exhibition, Uncategorized

Sometimes everything comes together to create an opportunity you just cannot pass up. That’s how come I am having a solo exhibition next week….

A friend noticed a Facebook post by The Basement Gallery asking for emerging artists who might be interested in holding an exhibition in their new premises (241 Hay Street, Subiaco) to attend an open viewing time. We both went along to find out more on behalf of a newly formed group that may be interested in exhibiting together – possibly next year. The gallery and associated Pop Creative graphics design are run by volunteers (mostly uni students) to gain work experience in the arts. During our discussions with the volunteer gallery curator we learned that there was a vacancy in November. We knew the group would not be ready by then (we haven’t even had our first meeting yet!) and I realised I already had enough work with a reef theme to fill the space. I have lots of pen and ink drawings, some collages and several textile pieces – all inspired by coral reefs and their inhabitants. I submitted the application and paid the hire fee so I will be exhibiting Mon 13 Nov to Fri 17 Nov and Mon 20 Nov to Fri 24 Nov (open weekdays only 10-4, closed weekends).

This is the invite to my first solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line

The invitation to my solo exhibition "Reef - A Fine Line" at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

The invitation to my solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line” at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

Altered States – Giving an Artist Talk

Artwork by Liz, Exhibition

I was one of several artists invited to give a 5-minute artist talk on Thursday 21 September about how it felt to take part in the WAFTA Altered States challenge exhibition. See below for the notes I used to jog my memory as I spoke.

Alpaca fleece stitched into net bags, pegged onto line "hammock style" for drying.

Alpaca fleece stitched into net bags, pegged onto line “hammock style” for drying.

Initial reaction

What a hodge podge of materials! How on earth do you marry up a beaded cocktail dress with smelly alpaca! And a guitar string with Watsonia leaves.

I think I’ll just put the whole lot back in the bag for now and leave it out of reach of my dog who is showing an unhealthy interest in the contents.

Initial Ideas

  • Make a triple-humped camel-like animal with a yellow beak wearing snow shoes and dressed to party.
  • A book of caricatures of the people who dreamed this challenge up. I didn’t like my attempts to create a scroll from that ridiculously stretchy cocktail dress.
  • It has a sort of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” feel to it – maybe I could sculpt or collage a scene from the novel. Mmm maybe not – this is going to be a public exhibition.
  • What is the smallest possible thing I could make? If I cut just a snippet from everything and roll it in glue I could a make a tiny fabric marble.

Adornment – that’s the direction I want to go in generally. Can I make a jewellery item from this lot?

Necklace

At the very least I can make a bead from everything else and string it on that carpet yarn. Ok, let’s go with the necklace idea.

I didn’t want to destroy the “good” things like the magazine and the pattern that had never been used. So, I trimmed all the excess paper from the pattern so that it can be used to make a very flattering prom dress and bolero for someone ¼ my age. And I used the Subscriber Newsletter to make some beads rather than cut into the mag. Free to any taker….

I decided I could cut into the dress (it had been repaired several times already) and use the doily as embroidery thread (as it was unravelling all by itself).

And me being me, I carded ALL the alpaca over a period of 2 days. My dreams of whiter than white, snuggly soft felt evaporating as 90% of it ended up either on my black apron or all over the house.

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

Washed and carded alpaca fleece.

Washed and carded alpaca fleece.

The challenge is supposed to be confidence-boosting so I went with that as my theme for the necklace.

The Benefits

I found making paper beads and embroidered beads very relaxing.

I enjoyed the designing – for balance, comfort, weight, fastening.

I enjoyed keeping it “secret” – after my initial blunder of posting about it on my blog – but I did show one or two people (hands up who didn’t show anyone!).

I learned that there is such a thing as a “closed” FB group and enjoyed the camaraderie of that – making friends with people I’d never met.

I really enjoyed the associated Textile Technique Toolbox workshops – thank you to all the tutors.

I “pushed through” the “OMG – everyone else’s is much better than mine” barrier.

It was more FUN than I expected it to be.

 

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Altered States – A WAFTA Exhibition

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Finished, Exhibition
The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

Altered States was the title of the exhibition challenge set by WAFTA. Buying a bag full of “bits” was the entry point for the exhibition launched in April 2017. The bag contained: A magazine, a dress pattern, a synthetic and very stretchy cocktail dress, 2 lots of wool carpet yarn, sea-grass rope, a piece of cotton fabric, a piece of yellow embroidered and beaded sari, some Watsonia leaves (a noxious weed here in Western Australia), and some unwashed and smelly alpaca fleece (my dog was very interested in that!), We could also, if we wished, use the bag itself.

Making an artwork from said “bits” to be shown in an exhibition at the Perth Town Hall from 16-25 September 2017 was the challenge. There were only 2 rules: One – to use a little or a lot of everything in the bag, Two – the finished item must fit inside a cube 30x30x30cm (if flat, 30x30cm).

I made a necklace titled Artists Amulet. The statement for the piece read: “This necklace has affirmation beads which the wearer may use to alter a negative state of mind by drawing on their courage and inner resources to meet the challenges of creating and exhibiting work. The amulet bead protects against those individuals that contribute negative energy.”

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

I was invited to give a talk about the making of my piece, including how I felt when I first saw the contents of the bag. I’ll put the notes that I made for the talk in my next blog post.

Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence, Artwork by Liz, Exhibition

Today both Robi Szalay and I set up our Artist in Residence spaces in the Shopfront Gallery, 149 Beaufort St, Northbridge. We were ably assisted by Gail Hawes (WAFTA AIR Coordinator) and Margaret Ford (a very willing friend). WAFTA have done a great job with the publicity – posters and postcards. Robi and I are both very excited at the prospect of 2 weeks to concentrate on our creative work and we look forward to visitors popping in to see what we’re up to and discussing our creations. The shopfront is open from 10-4 (weekdays only) from August 8 to 18th.

The brooch featured on the poster is prominently displayed in the shop window. Other finished items are displayed in the front half of “my” space and the other half dedicated to making. Margaret assures me that it looks like an atelier 🙂

Adam tagging electrical equipment prior to use.

Red Glove Brooch and Red Ripple Necklace by Liz Arnold on the shopfront mannequin.

Another disaster – felting this time

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

Needle Felting the Bowl

I spent several hours creating two bowl shapes by randomly weaving over a plastic bowl with Courtelle machine knitting yarn. I planned to embroider different designs on the inside and the outside of both of them and then dry-felt with hand-held felting needles to integrate the wool stitching. This was easy to do but took quite a bit of time and I was quite pleased with the overall look.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. After embroidering over the weaving I used needle felting to finish - this weakened the structure.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. Embroidered with tapestry wool on the inside and outside and dry-felted. In places where there was no wool the needles weakened the courtelle to the point where it could be torn easily by hand.

Then I noticed there were some weak areas between some of the circles on the outside. When I pushed (hard) with my finger I was able to push through and pull the fabric apart at those points. I wasn’t able to pull it apart where there was wool on both the inside and the outside (ie the courtelle sandwiched between the 2 layers). I cannot tear the other unembroidered bowl so clearly it was the needle-felting that has broken down, or cut perhaps, the fibres of the Courtelle. I was unimpressed – it had taken me several hours to dry felt (leave alone the time taken to make the bowl shape in the first place) and in so doing I had destroyed something I quite liked the look of.

Lessons Learned

I have learned a lesson – I will only dry-felt with felting needles on wool. This was my first foray into dry-felting with needles and now I am wondering how strong some of the embroideries I have seen made with the embellishing machines are when they have used synthetic fabrics/yarns. I am going to put these in the bin – I don’t want to incorporate something I am not happy with into any other artworks. I am going to embroider the other bowl base as I am quite happy with the strength of that structure – but I will not be using felting needles on it because of the Courtelle base layer.

Inspiration has struck! :)

Artwork by Liz, Artwork In-Progress, Uncategorized

Inspiration comes from the strangest of places. With all the printing I’ve been doing lately there have been quite a few painted baby wipes created by the clean up process. They are quite colourful and semi transparent so there were some interesting effects when I layered them (another thing worth collecting!).

The inspiration for these works were the semi-transparent clean-up baby-wipes with blue paint on them.

The 6″ canvas’s in progress. I’m debating the colour of the embellishments but I like the backgrounds I have created by layering clean up cloths (baby wipes)

They are a non-woven fabric similar to dressmakers interfacing so they can be stitched. They tear easily in one direction only. I have used those to make a background for the Fibres West donation pieces, on which I will stitch some embellishment in red. I haven’t yet decided which red to use – a more muted Indian Oxide type red to match the muted blue, or a bright “popping” Cadmium Scarlet. I’m going to paint the ribbon and the cardboard circles and then stitch them in place. I am thinking about the finishing process while I do all this.