There have been other things going on here that have taken me away from my felting for a little while - making time for family, the allotment and garden and just generally keeping on top of the day job...oh and making masks/face coverings! Never thought that would be something I would be sewing, but I've made a fair few over the past few weeks so that everyone's got a good supply.
The sewing machine is not my natural environment, but with the enforced practice I think my skills have improved...slightly!! The upside is that it has been a good opportunity to use up some of my substantial fabric stash!
Not wanting to dwell on anything pandemic related in this blog post, I will move on to other things...
Since my last post, I continued with my hare wall hanging which I enjoyed making immensely - it's finished and on the wall in our sitting room.
I also managed to fit in a little needle felting and created a couple of small pieces which just need framing up before being ready to put up for sale. These were made on the surface of some thick off cuts of handmade felt that I had here - it was really nice to work into.
Now that the sewing machine has been put away, my table has been freed up and I can't wait to get felting again - I'm really looking forward to experimenting with a few ideas and did this little sample to see how some of my eco-dyed silk would work during the felting process.
Wet felting involves a lot of hot water, soap and rubbing and rolling, so I really wanted to check that the colours would stay 'fast' with all that action! Really pleased to see that the colours didn't run or fade at all which is great because I love the effect given by the variegated colours on the silk created from flowers and leaves...and look at those scrummy textures 😍.
I actually really like the little square piece as it is...
Encouraged by the results of the sample square, I have done some more eco-dyeing so that I have a slightly bigger stash of silk to use. I have some pieces in solar jars in the garden, and I steamed some silk bundled up with leaves, flowers and onion skins in the aga.
I will need to wait for the solar jars a few more weeks I think, but the hollyhock flowers will give a lovely purple shade - I've also got jars containing verbena, red onion skins, white onion skins and coreopsis. Just need some more sunshine and let nature do its thing on the threads and silks stuffed inside the jars.
The steamed bundles have given me some great results - I'm hoping to use these in some abstract landscape ideas I have.
So, before the week is out I hope to have a few more felting experiments on the go...I've been making lots of notes and sketches and trying to be honest about the the type of work I WANT to produce rather that the pieces I feel I ought to be making, because sometimes there's a bit of a difference! Thinking about the type of art I’m personally drawn to, I am currently being pulled towards a slightly more abstracted approach, and I'm quite excited about the possibilities...and felt is a really versatile medium in which to explore the ideas I have, particularly in terms of surface textures.
It's going to be a case of playing, exploring and trying a few new things...which may work well, or they may not...but I won't know unless I try will I?
Just a little update on the garden pond and new border we created during lockdown - I can't believe how well it's all taken off! From bare ground and little life to being absolutely stuffed full of plants (from a cheap box of seeds) and life seemingly appearing from nowhere in the pond!
That’s my lovely mum in the picture above...probably thinking we’d gone a bit mad!
There are LOTS of dragonfly and damselfly nymphs in the pond, as well as water beetles, pond skaters and water snails. There are also other tiny, swimming things that I have no idea what they are...but it's all good! We have more bird visitors, some of which like to have a little bath in the shallower water - before the planting took off, I even saw a swift swoop down to have a drink from the pond on the wing - fantastic!
The whole border is buzzing, humming and fluttering constantly with bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
So it really is true - just plant the plants and create the pond, and the wildlife will find it.
Have you been creative in the garden? Would love to hear about it...or any pond tips you might have?
So until next time, keep well, keep safe and find some joy in the simple things in life.