Friday, July 22, 2016

Take a Walk on the Wet Side...

Take a walk on the wet side - wet felting that is... 

A month or so ago now... I know - its been that kind of summer - I decided to take a Sunday "off". My husband was at the beach and I stayed home, house to myself, heaven. What do I do with my time off? Make art of course! 

Joke's on me actually. I am a full time artist and part time art teacher, so while it WAS time off from production, custom work, replenishing inventory... it was still art/job/doing what I love. 

I took over the kitchen and made a mess:
Dive in, such rich colors... 
Sorry for the yellow kitchen lighting... first piece ready to begin! 
I had a plan to wet felt some ocean themed landscapes. The image above is the first one laid out. I "thought" it would shrink by a third... But I was using some lovely ivory batting from Sarafina Fiber Arts as my base 'canvas' for the first time and wanted to test it out. The landscape is built up with loose wispy layers of brightly dyed wool roving, and a few "curly locks". Here are the results of the first piece:

Can you see it? Beach, waves, ocean!
So it felted together wonderfully! The process involves soap, water, bubble wrap and much repetitive rolling of the piece on the counter. Roll it like 100 times, turn 1/4 turn, roll it 100 times... I used Sarafina's You Tube videos as my basic instruction manual. 
I love the way the colors blend as the fibers lock together. I am visually drawn to the curly locks simulating breakers in the waves; they need a little needle felting to secure them fully, but I like the accent of texture. And the shrinkage? Ummm. nope. The batting felted my top coat colors and did not shrink much at all. Hmm. This piece is rather large at  app. 12". Lets do another... 
Trying to go smaller: 2 before and after comparisons. 
My supply of wool  plays to my preferred palette, so I had a variety of teal and turquoise and not much for a light sky. I lone the purple stormy sky and the teal water together though. The second pictured here is a bit more abstracted, and I am pleased with that too. I WAS playing after all - experimenting with the materials, and not having any hard set expectations. The process is actually good for me - its nice to have some control at the start and then leave it up to the process and be pleasantly surprised at the end. 

Working most all of the day, I made 10 tapestries. The largest 12 x 12" and the smallest 4" square. My plan is to embellish them in some way, using beads and found treasures from the beach. I can't walk on the beach and slip at least a shell or 3 in my pocket... 

I imagine the long shell beaded on with 2 'ropes' of small seed beads... 
That saturated color thrills my eyes. 
Over the course of the afternoon I was able to size the pieces much better! I have some shadowbox frames I will use for the smallest pieces and fashion hangers/dowel rods of some sort for the larger pieces. I am not in a hurry - I did many and have time to play and experiment!

These 2 are the smallest at 4" - but they will fit into frames I have once they are completed. 
At the end of the day I threw a few more colors into the mix, breaking away from the landscape format... This was not planned, but after the felt dried, I saw the kelp... the polymer mermaid was made for my monthly goddess seed bead project, but was a little too large. I think she will settle comfortably here, don't you?
a few deep sea palettes? 
I'm sorry that they aren't finished yet for today's post - I have been teaching clay camp since mid June - and very much look forward to getting back to my work in the studio next week! Great kids, great times, great energy... but I have Bead Fest to prepare for.. 

Until then - I hope you get your toes in the sand! 


  1. Will we get to see some in person at the The Palette & The Page?

    1. LOL - yes! That inspires me to get them done before summer ends!

  2. Jenny, love the felted pieces. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

    1. Thank you Pat - I am addicted to color! The wool does not disappoint. and I can BEAD them....


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