Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nuno Felting Experiments

I ahve been dreaming of playing with felting silk fabrics and silk fibers along with wool and mohair curls for some time now. It has all been coalecing in my brain and percolating down to a method tha I canapproach for some time now. I finally got it concentrated to an approachable form several weeks ago and gathered my bits and pieces and dove in. This scarf or shawl or wra above is the reult of all of my collecting and mental work and felting trials.
I collaged some vintage lace fabric from an Estate sale, a deconstructed silk gauze blouse found at Goodwill and some pink silk gauze fabric from Artistic Artifacts . I "glued it all together" using wool roving, mohair curls ans silk fibers. I overlapped the fibers with the fabrics , added soap and water and elbow grease and viola a cohesive whole of soft gauzy loveliness!!! I am so inspired to have another go with this method, but must gather more silk gauze!!!
, This NUNO experiement was much more straight forward. I hand dyed this 10 inch, two yard strip of silk gauze, and then felted wool roving mohair curls and silk fibers down the center 4 inches. this created a lovely loosely ruffled edge down both sides.
To increase the sparkle just a bit more I added some seed beads randomly wandering downt he length of the felted bit . So soft and floaty and luxureous!!!

This next piece is more of a small shawl rather than a scarf and has a curved wide area in the middle that tappers off to thinner ends with wool'silk tassles to finish it off. Again I used a wonderful length of hand dyed (by moi) silk gauze in purples and blues. I felted three narrow strips of fiber down the length of the silk with one strip of fiber capturing one long raw edge. By encasing the edge in fibers , the wool pulled the silk in in a ruffly fashion and thereby curved the bottom edge of the silk gathering it in. I love th lovely ruffling and ruching effect that can be achieved with the combination of strategically placed fibers.!!

I am now planning on purchasin some legths fo silk gauze fabric, setting up the dye vats and felting some more silky lovliness. I hope to have several of these creations posted to my revamped Etsy Shop soon!!

I hope that all of you can get out and enjoy some of the lovelySpring awakenings or Fall changes wherever you may be, this weekend!! I am off to dye some more silk!!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My 500th POST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I loaded these photos last night intending to write a post about a Collage Jewelry Class that I taught recently at Artistic Artifacts, Then I noticed the post counter!!! My 500th Post!! Can't quite believe it, but here it is!! I will be having a Blog Giveaway and I will be announcing it soon so watch for it!!! So back to the Collage Jewelry Class at Artistic Artifacts!! This was a first run for this class for me and as always happens ont he first time taught , I learned so many things. The first being to add time for everyone to look at each other's stash of treasures!!! Oh man did we have fun , and each treasure ahd a wonderful story to go along with it. As usual I had a fabulous bunch of gals who were anxious to dive in and learn about wire wrapping and link making.
In the class orphan earrings became charms, a pair of earrings became a wonderful pair of links with holes for more danglies, a wonderful piece of found coral became a focal piece and a beautiful twig became a large link and perch for a sterling lizard charm ! We had such fun!

We faced the challenges of figuring out the best way for each to hold their own set of pliers and how to hold things to get a nice wire wrap around items that have no holes.

It is so satisfying to put a jumble of bits and pieces of treasures and chain together to create a unique collection of personal jewelry. Each piece was so very different and spoke of the character of it's creator.

I will be teaching the class again on May 14th ( a Saturday) there are still one or two spaces left so if you are in the neighborhood come join us to create your own treasure necklace!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finally Meeting Susan!!!!

Monday arrived sunny and cold but the PLAN was on!! Monday was the day that I was going to finally meet Susan!!!! Susan lives in Maryland and I live just north of Fredericksburg in Virginia, so we met in the middle, at Woodlawn Plantation and the National Embroidery Show. I was so very excited. I have known Susan Elliott via her wonderful blog, Plays With Needles , for several years now.

But Monday was the day that we were going to meet each other in person, in the flesh , for real!!!

I first learned of Susan's amazing needlework, bead work and embroidery thru the Bead Journal Project, and artist Robin Atkins. You can see Susan's Bead Journal pieces here.
This was the first Plays With Needles blog post that I read. This was the post that told me that I would become great friends with Susan. Read this post and look at Susan's glorious photos, her wonderful beadwork and you will understand!! I got to see this exact piece in person, in the Bead, so to speak, at the Needlework Show at Woodlawn.
The personal stories that Susan tells are represented in the exquisite pieces that she creates. Her writing is amazing and her medium is beads ,stitch and textiles. Susan and I connected on many levels thru our blogs and knew that we would have the love of stitch and beadwork in common. But there are so many other things that we discovered that we have in common!
So, we met at Woodlawn Plantation to view the Needle Work Show. Susan had submitted seven of her Journal pieces and I was beyond thrilled to see them in person! Susan leads her readers thru the construction of many of the unique eleemnts of her Journal pieces on her blog- yet another delight!!! We viewed the show, and settled in for a wonderful lunch at the delightful tea room and then headed out to my favorite bead store in Alexandria.

I was delighted to be able to introduce Susan to this amazing jewel box of a bead store, owned and opperated by my dear friend Rosalie Lamana , or as we know her Ro! this truley is a hidden jewel of a bead store and MUST be added to your "To Visit" list if you are ever in the DC area and you love beads. Beads Limited!!!

Every surface of this shop is covered, draped and ladden with beads, many of them vintage and rare!

The back of the entrance is coverd with hanks of beads.

The windows are draped with hanks of beads.

Very quickly one decides that in order to see everything, one must crawl around on the floor and open every drawer that is filled with 20-30 compartments each holding treasure. There is NO other way!!!

And of course all of the walls are laden with rows of beads from the tip top to the very floor!!

Now let me introduceyou to our lovely hostess, the beautiful Ro. A wonderful treasure all on her own!!

Susan and I spent several hours in Ro's delightful company and left her clutching our wonderful satchels of beady luciousness. She won't have to worry about expenses for a couple of months! (Not quite, but close) If you go , remember to bring your checkbook or cash, Ro does not take credit cards!

We left each other to join the hordes leaving Washington on the long trip home, with plans to meet up again at the Maryland Sheep Show in May. I am going to work very hard to save my pennies! Perhaps we will carry each other purses so we can afford to drive home!!!!

I had the most delightful, inspiring and wonderful day and know that I will continue to be inspired by Susan's amazing prose, needle work and wonderful friendship for many many years to come. I am so very grateful to have found her!

Beads LTD
1801 Belle View Blvd, Suite A-1
Alexandria, VA 22307
hours: Sunday 1:30-6:30pm
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 11-6pm.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Latest Cuff Class Creations !!!!

Teaching this class has become one of my favorite sources of inspiration and excitement!! I am always delighted to see a students creation take on it's own life and absorb the spirit and mood of each artist. The piece always becomes a mirror of it's makers artistic soul!!
I think that Many of you that know my wonderful friend and amazingly talented artist Leslie Brier, would have little trouble identifying this work in progress as Leslie's work!! You are so right!!

Here you see Leslie's incredible collage of found bits and beads all sewn down on to the ulta suede fabric , ready for attachment to the cuff form.

Yes, you Can see various gears, metal battleships from a vintage Monopoly set, an amazing tiny sparkplug charm that was an advertizing give away, way back when, old buttons, all surrounding a wonderful info label from a small motor!! Fantastic!!! Leslie shared that she has been known to buy small motors just to pry the labeling tags from the carcass!!! Brilliant and so LESLIE!!!

This next piece glows with wonderful soft colors and exudes the lovely, calm and beautiful spirit of it's maker , the lovely Liana! I would never have put this combination of colors together, but this cuff is so shimmeringly gorgeous, I sure do wish that I had!!!

You See, I learn so very much from my students!!

The lovely coral colored bits on this cuff were loving pryed from a vintage buckle that had lost several of it's parts. We are not sure if the lilies are real coral or fabulous Bakelite plastic. No matter, they are divine and became the centerpiece for Liana's fabulous work.

The liliies set the bar for a stunning 3 dimensional garden themed display of color and light play and resulted in a stunning cuff of Artistic beauty!!!
Remember, that the vast majority of my students have never done any work like this before and several have never worked with beads before.!! Yet each and every student that has enrolled in this class has departed with an incredibly unique piece of bead embroidered jewelry!!! It really is stunning and it is NOT all due to my teaching- this comes form inside each person who opens themselves up to the artistic possiblities. I pass on tips and a few simple techniques and several well learned pit falls to avoid, but everything else comes from the hand that passes the needle and thread thru the bead and the cloth!!

This is the cuff that I used as my teaching sample and that I finished off as we dove into the challenges of attaching the beaded cuffs to the cuff blanks. It serves as a reminder to always Laugh and to NEVER take ones self too seriously!!! (This cuff is now for sale at Sophia Street Studios in downtown Fredericksburg!!!)
Release your creative spirit and allow yourself to find the artistic well that flows in all of us-where ever you are-
Take A Class !!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From the Inside Out

Quite a few of you have expressed an interest in seeing the Inside of my Make Do Journal that was recently published in Cloth Paper Scissors. I used buttons as decorative embellishment throughout the book and had held out a bit of hope that a spread might have been included but they left that to me, and that is fine. Now I can describe what I did and answer any questions that you might have. I would be happy to fill you in if there is something specific that you are interested in, so don't be shy!!

Here is the front cover. I tried to use lots of bits of fabrics that I ahd designed myself. On the cover you can see several pieces that I monoprinted from a gelatin plate.

This is the back cover. I added this sweet little partially finished needlepoint canvas that I ahd found in a thrift store. You all know how much I love anything floral!!

Inside front cover lined with a piece of a vintage linen tea towel that I hand stitched in with a button hole stitch.
The following pages are a small sampling of the kinds of bits that I included in the book. The book has three signatures presently with room to insert one more.
All of the pictures can be enlarged, with a right click , if you wish to see details.

I often include papers that had been work surface covers. They often have wonderful random color and pattern that I simply can't resist!!

This page was the surface protector for a bunch of papers that I decorated with gesso resist and acrylic paint washes.

These collaged pages are done with torn book pages, painted paper towel and napkin tops.

Several of the pages were connected to form a full spread with painted dryer sheets and some times lace.

Gesso resist and acrylic wash.

Large fabric pocket from the same fabric that I used on the inside front cover.

Inside back cover.
I thoroghly enjoyed making this book and I still ahve piles and piles of stuff to make several more. Now I just have to train myself to journal in them!!!!


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