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.
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.
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
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
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. 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.
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.
I bought these cords from Bunnings today to experiment with. The brightly coloured Polypropylene string (1mm x 60m) was $4 for the 5 reels, the white Venetian Blind cord (2mm x 30m) was $4 and the Grunt cotton sash cord (5mm x 5m) was $4. The Dunn braided cotton rope (15m) was $3.50 in Big W.
Art supplies from the hardware store – rope, cord and string from Bunnings and BigW to experiment with.
I’m planning to experiment with netting, knotting and weaving (maybe even *gasp* macramé) and possibly using them to create more collograph plates. Although with my present luck making/using collograph plates I should probably steer clear of those for a week or so 🙂
The blind cord says it is “abrasion resistant” and although it doesn’t say what is made from the end feels like it has been heated to prevent it from unravelling. I will have fun with all of these I am sure.
The invitation card for Linda’s Exhibition.
Textile Artist Linda Stokes is exhibiting her work at the Genesis in the Hills vegetarian cafe in Roleystone, Western Australia, from the 11th January to 1st February. More details and a couple of images on Linda’s website.