My starting point for this picture is a photo which I took in one of the fields on our farm. There’s a sixty acre field with a round of trees in the middle and I often walk over there with our dog. The field is called ‘Downs’ and the trees are kind of an ‘I’m home’ icon for me when returning home from anywhere in the car.
The roads in Cornwall are pretty manic during the summer, and when I pull into the long driveway that leads to the farm and glance across the fields, I quite often breathe a big sigh of relief as I catch sight of those trees, knowing that I’m nearly back at the sanctuary of home. The farm is a relatively quiet place to live...we are very lucky.
The photo itself is pretty unremarkable, but putting it through a photo editor I played around with contrasts and effects.
I could see potential to use some of my favourite autumnal colours to create an abstracted version of my trees.
I then uploaded one of these into an iPad app called Procreate and played around with the image some more. Painting over it, smudging it around and generally just messing about until I found a good place to work from.
I enjoy using Procreate as a tool, because it just doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t ‘ruin’ anything or waste valuable materials - it’s quite freeing!
Before I’d started to lay out my fibres, I began to change how I wanted the composition to look...I didn’t want the straight horizon, I wanted to make it look more interesting and engaging.
My physical sketchbook game is not strong, but I did a very fast sketch with pencil just to simplify the composition right down. My brain seems to appreciate that simplification! I just found that little scribble sketch of a swooping horizon a real help, and everything else just followed.
So a little bit of a journey before actually laying out any fibres! But I think it was a journey worth taking to just clarify and make mindful decisions rather than just ploughing headlong into felting...which is something I have done before with bad outcomes! Preparation is key, right?!
So here is some of the initial layout stage of merino wool, silks, yarns and fabrics...again keeping layers fine. The layers are so fine you can just make out the zigzag pattern of the mat underneath.
I then added the trees...ready for the full felting treatment at this stage. Starting off really gently to keep everything in place.
Creating a story...
Once felted and dried, it lacked a certain something, so I needle felted some crows flying home to the trees to roost. This turned the piece into one that had a story...it was also very apt as my original inspiration was one of ‘coming home’.
The finished piece...
And so with a bit of tweaking, some further needle felting and playing with a mount to help decide on the final composition ‘Home to Roost’ is now finished and ready to be framed.
I hope you like it...I’ve really enjoyed making this one...some of my favourite colours, the lovely layers and the story.
I’m typing this blog at home, in my safe place, my sanctuary...home is definitely where my heart is xx
Feel free to leave comments below or let me know what you’re working on at the moment - it’s always lovely to have feedback.
xx Tanya xx