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.
Here are some of the finished items I made from the new large floral patterned felt. In addition to these 18″ pillows I made a smaller pillow and a couple of tea cozies. Most of the pillows are backed in green felt that coordinates with the grass and stems. One all blue flower pillow is backed in blue and a yellow/orange flower combination is backed in a soft gold. These will all be offered for sale this coming Saturday March 12th at the North Penn Select craft show in Lansdale PA.
I’ve been looking through seed catalogs and planning my gardens during these dreary winter evenings. The cheerful colours inspired me to make my wonderland felt design that will ultimately become pillows. I recently procured a piece of foam large enough to cover my dining room table! It is helpful when laying out large designs like this. Next step is down in the basement to wet felt the wool.
On Feb 14th while at a show I received a phone call. A fellow artisan had been in my booth at the previous show in Virginia and was quite taken with my hand felted wool art tiles. She was particularly enamored of my new water lily piece. I was pleased with her reaction but didn’t think any more about it, however she did. Evidently she told her mother about the piece and coincidently, her birthday is this week. So Mom made the call and the 12″x12″ wood framed art tile has shipped to NY for a birthday gift!
Twelve hours in the basement yesterday yielded a large felt “blanket” that is drying in the dining room. This is a very labor intensive pattern that I call Milles-fleurs. It is different every time I make it because I combine the fiber colours and lay out the design without following any pattern. They all end up with a happy bright garden feeling. This piece will get cut into pillows, coasters and trivets.
The inspiration for this design came from a trip a couple of years ago, with some friends to MOMA in NYC. I walked into a room and encountered one of Monet’s gigantic water lily paintings. It took my breath away and literally moved me to tears. I could feel an aura in the room. When I returned home I knew my next felt would be inspired by Monet’s gardens. This design is the result.
The coal stove kicks out some dry heat so even this thick piece of felt was ready very quickly. I hand stitched a backing on the piece and mounted it in a wood frame. I’ve chosen not to use glass on my felted wall art so the tactile textural quality has a room softening effect. This is helpful when the collector places it in a bank, an office or other “sterile” environment.
Every aspect of this piece relates to my environment in some way. Anyone who drives past my little farm in the summer knows about my towering sunflowers. The old picket fence offers a rustic backdrop for a constantly changing display of lilies, hollyhocks, zinnias and more as the season progresses. Many of the wool colors are derived from flowers growing in my gardens or fields. The finished framed size is 36″x 24″ and is available for $1429.
This weekend I am heading to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA to do my first show in 2016. The festival is Jan 29th-31, Friday and Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-5. My booth is #312 so if you are in the area come check it out along with 250 other crafters and artists.
After many hours of design work, my new landscape piece is ready for wet felting by hand. I saturate the wool with lukewarm soapy water and then rub it to create friction. I use a plastic bags so the wool fibers don’t stick to my gloved hands. Wool fibers are covered with scales much like miniature pine cones. The soap helps the fibers slide together from the rubbing, the scales interlock, air pockets are removed and what is left is felted wool. I start rubbing very gently at first and then with more vigor as the fibers condense and start holding together. I thoroughly rub both sides and when I am satisfied with the structure I rinse it several times to remove all traces of soap. It will dry over night or longer near my coal stove.
I’ve introduced a picket fence into my felted wool art piece. It is loosely based on the fence that runs in front of my house and past my garden beds. Recreating flower memories from last summer is a wonderful diversion from the dull winter landscape I can see out the window. My giant sunflowers will be the next addition.
The next step on this large felt piece will be the addition of a fence. Since I can’t draw a pencil guide line on the wool, I developed a method to mark the vanishing point. I tied strings to three needles and placed them in the work. That gives me a straight path to follow without making any marks on the project.