I spent the weekend with a lovely group of women from the Susquehanna Valley Spinners and Weavers Guild. They were anxious and excited to learn how to wet felt wool fiber into a picture. They are all proficient knitters but working with fiber instead of yarn was new for most of them.
I instructed them in a method of making a thin white wool canvas and reviewed some principals of color. Everyone selected a landscape image for inspiration and got to work. It is magical when wool fiber transforms into a solid cloth right under your fingertips. It was rewarding to see the glee on their faces as they created their first felted picture. The work they did was outstanding, especially since it was their first time wet felting.
From left to right we have Martha, Julie, Maura, Debbie, Donna, Bonnie and Eva. Great job ladies!
Finally, a warm dry spring day. Unlike last year, my daffodils are not blooming yet. A few more days like this should get them popping. In the meantime, instead of garden flowers brightening my yard I have a garden flapping on my clothesline!
This large piece was tricky to make because I did two very involved colour combinations at the same time. It took a couple of days to lay out the design and I finished wet felting this morning. It is destined for pillows, trivets and coasters later this week.
Goldfinches have been constant guests at my bird feeders this winter and showed up in record numbers during the recent snow. Their less colourful off season plumage is starting to change back to the bright yellows and black we most often associate with this cute little bird. They are quite entertaining to watch and seem to not mind my presence if I remain still.
I recently completed a new felted tile featuring a goldfinch on one of my giant sunflower seed heads. It was one in a series of sunflower tiles that I just finished and posted on my website a few days ago. I’ve done several bird tiles but this was my first goldfinch. Based on the immediate success of this first finch tile, I will be making more. Within hours of posting it on my website it was sold to one of my collectors! She is enjoying this little ray of sunshine now.
The new color palette of this felted Garden Impression wall panel was requested by the customer. The pinks and lilacs say springtime to me. The room it was designed for has deep yellow walls so the brighter yellows in the art really stand out. I was fortunate to be able to deliver the commission instead of ship, so she showed me where it will be hanging. I am so happy that she was pleased with the results. This is the first large piece (the felt is 16″x40″) that I’ve framed in white. The framing was a challenge because of the size, but it all worked out!
This large commission piece is really taking shape now. I’ve been mixing bright colours of dyed wool and thinking about summer on these dreary January days. The inspiration for this design came from my own flower gardens. I have a series of raised beds that I plant with a rainbow of dahlias, cosmos, zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers. Looking down from my upstairs studio, the garden looks like waves of bright colours.
The canvas has taken shape. I used a hand tool that holds eight barbed needles to tack the wool fibers to each other. This canvas, the largest I’ve ever made, used more than a pound of wool fiber!
I’ve also added another layer using a mix of six different shades of green wool. This forms the background of the garden design. I tacked it in place allowing a border of the plain gray wool to show all around. In the finished piece it will have the visual effect of a mat.
The hectic December show schedule and holidays are behind me. January is typically a steady stream of show application deadlines but this year I am also working on a commission project. The customer liked my Garden Impressions design but needed a larger horizontal format for her wall. The size she chose makes this the largest felt panel I’ve undertaken. It is exciting and challenging due to the sheer size. This first picture shows the construction of the wool canvas. It is created with more than a pound of wool stacked in thin alternating layers.
Creating the wool canvas
Felted wool drying
This is the beginning of cat coasters, pillows and trivets that I need for the remaining five weekends of shows. It is tricky to engineer a four foot wide, seven foot long sheet of felt to have stripes and spots in the right places. Laying out the fiber for this piece involves eight colours of wool and three yardsticks! The next step is cutting this blanket into cat faces and adding silly eyes, noses and whiskers. Cotton batting and a felt backing will complete the coasters. I will have a batch ready for the North Penn Holiday Craft Market on November 19th at 1340 S. Valley Forge Road in Lansdale PA.
A new batch of characters just finished for my upcoming shows. These felted wool cat sculptures will also be available for purchase very soon on my new artspan website http://www.lindadoucette.com!
They are such cheerful flowers and one of the earliest to bloom. It is easy to understand their popularity. I have an additional reason to delight in their bright yellow heads bouncing in the March breeze. I make a natural dye from the fading flowers. I’ve also used them to make eco-prints on silk. I’ll collect and dry these blooms when they are past prime. Stay tuned for a daffodil dyeing project down the road.