Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Felted Flowers

I hate to sound like I'm stating the obvious, however what a cold nasty winter we are having!
Since it's been too cold to play with Nuno Felting in the garage, I decided to study up on my You tube Library and learn how to make felted Flowers.

All you need to get started is:
  • a small piece of tulle
  • a small piece of bubble wrap
  • lukewarm soapy water
  • plastic grocery bag (ha finally a decent use)
  • wool roving

Pull out small pieces of roving and try to get the sizes as uniform as you can….get at least 6 layers. Then, get your fingers wet and twist one of the ends.

Petals laid out
Arrange the petals on the bubble wrap.

Then with contrasting roving, add different colors to create more detail.

Then add some leaves. Same twisted ends as the flower petals.
Adding details
Add leaves
Once you get everything laid out the way you hope it's going to turn out. (Remember that natural fibers have a life of their own!)

Cover the wool with your piece of tulle

Using your plastic grocery bag dipped in the soapy water, gently wet down the wool. It's not necessary to drench it. You don't want puddles.

After the wool is wet, g-e-n-t-l-e-y pull off the tulle and if any wool comes up, c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y smooth the wool back where you think it belongs.

Roll the bubble wrap over the roving, trying to take care that the bubble wrap is over the wool before you start to roll. If you roll and the wool over-laps on it's self it will distort the petal.

This is how your flower should look when it's all rolled up,
You then roll it 30 times. You don't' have to smoosh down on it very hard, just some gentle rolls back and forth as you count to 30.
After the 30 rolls, c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y unroll you flower. you can start to see the design. Make any necessary adjustments on the petals or leaves.
Then turn the bubble wrap the the next side and roll up and roll again.
you want to do this on each side to balance the rolling and pressure.

After all the rolling (120 times!) your flower is ready for the second half. Also, you can freely go ahead and make any adjustments to the layout of your flower.
Now, on to the stamen!
Pull off a length of green roving (or whatever color you want to use)
Cut about 7-8 cotton embroidry thread about 3 inches long
Lay the embroidery thread over the roving as shown above

carefully knot the roving so that the threads and roving look like above.

dampen the stamen with your soapy water, just enough that it holds together.

With a small pair of sharp scissors, cut a small hole in the center of your flower.
the hole doesn't have to be very big. Too big and you'll have some extra work on your hands.

Gently pull the end of your stamen through the hole, on the right side of the flower. Work the stamen through until you can feel the knot at the base of the hole.
Fold your flower like above
Start rolling the knotted stamen into the flower. Keep the pressure light at first but gradually add more pressure.
If you have to, roll the flower base and stamen in your bubble wrap and massage the fibers
When it starts to felt together, take more of your green roving and wrap it around the base and stamen

Roll on as much of the green roving and also roll the rest of your stem.
By the time you think your fingers are going to fall of, your flower should look like this. See the green has encompassed the flower base and look rather natural.
At this point, to make sure the felting process is done, I put a Tablespoon of White Vinegar into a bowl and pour almost boiling water into it and toss in my flower. The vinegar will neutralize the soap and the  steaming hot water will "shrink" the fibers into each eachother.
After 5 minutes, you can remove your flower and squeeze out any water. A rinse with cold water will get rid of any vinegar smell.
Fold your flower into a "bud" state (not tight) and let it dry.
and Viola!
You'll have a felted flower to impress your friends or to enhance your wardrobe.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I'm Late, I'm Late, I'm Late!! Arghhhh!

I am so sorry this posting is so late…my only excuse is that Mars has been in retrograde since October and believe me…it’s been a challenge! However some super awesome events have happened to make  even the most challenging “Mars please leave me alone” day a real great experience.
I FINALLY was able to get entries to the North Carolina State Fair this year.(been meaning to for years!) I know I posted pictures last month. The results were excellent; I won two Blue Ribbons and a Red!
This is the first time since 1982 since I’ve entered a County or State Fair so I was quite flattered that they awarded my work.
Painted Wholecloth
Nuno Felt Scarf

Batik Scarf, squares, Ice Dye

Something else I’ve done is register with Wholesalecrafts.com and I’ve stated to sell my scarves wholesale. I officially registered my site Friday November 1 and I got my first order on Wednesday November 6 from a lovely gift shop located in Cincinnati Ohio. The name of the shop is “Frame House Gallery” and Kathy, the owner was kind enough to send me photos of my scarves hanging in her shop on Saturday. Kathy was also kind enough to alert me that the first one sold there yesterday, November13. (Happy Dance cha cha cha!
Scarves Hanging at the Frame House

I finally got some creative flow going in spite of Mars and I made some really neat Sun Catchers and Greeting cards using Strathmore Artist Papers On Saturday November 9, I lead a demo on how to make these at the make and take room at the Art of the Carolina’s event that Jerry’s Art o rama puts on every year at the Raleigh Hilton North. My (peeps) guild, the Carolina Mixed Media Artist Guild maintains a “make and take” room for anyone that wants to play with products being sold at the super fantastic vendor area. 

Greeting cards

The way I made these was as follows:
Take a Strathmore Artist Trading card (ATC) or a blank Strathmore Card (mixed media stock)
   1)     Apply color in some way. I used water color pencils and gave the ATC’s a wash in different colors
   2)     After card is dry, I used a die cutter and punch out a pattern. (Sign your ATC at this time)
   3)     Then I took some clear contact paper (sold anywhere where shelf paper is sold) and after pulling off the paper backing aligned it over the ATC making sure that the entire card is covered.
    4)     I arranged some pressed flowers I had collected in the die cut. (don’t go too crazy, you want to be able to “see” the flowers)
   5)     Cut another piece of contact paper and carefully line it up with the card and quickly cover the flowers. (static electricity from the new piece of contact paper will pull the flowers off the other piece if you are too slow)
6)     Trim the card and cut away any excess contact paper along the edges.
7) Punch a centered hole at the top of the card and then pull a heavy thread though with a needle.
    8)  Viola, you now have a very pretty piece of art that kids can do and looks very pretty against a window.
You don’t have to only use pressed flowers for this. I also cut out a rectangle large enough to insert some fortune cookie words of wisdom. You can also use some scrapbooking punches to add more shapes to the project to make it interesting.
I did the same thing with the greeting cards, the only word of advice I’d like to give on this is:
 *  Cut out pieces of contact paper to JUST cover your flowers, or stamps, or anything else you are going to insert into your card. (if you cut out one large piece of contact paper it will create a “glare”.
 1 **  Be careful when you apply color (I need to follow this myself!) less is best and you can always build up color value and intensity however it you have it heavy handed already, it’s extremely difficult to tone it down. Pressed flowers are delicate looking and can get easily lost if the color is dominating the eye. If you use stamps or something else you can probably get heavier handed with color.

The ATC/Greeting card would be a great project to do with kids, in fact I’m going to do this with my Grandchildren the next time they are over and Papa Wonderful can’t take them bikeriding.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

PS: I have had a devil of a time getting the directions to format correctly...If you would like the instructions to make the cutout sun catchers, please send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to send them.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Whole Cloth Painting

Time flies when you are having fun...I truly cannot believe it is October and almost time for Halloween...I wanted to wait until after the opening of PAQA-South's new show, Freeze Frame at the Page-Walker Arts Center in Downtown Cary to show off some of my recent projects.
(I must back up a tad)
In May I took a class with Susan Brubaker-Knapp called, Whole Cloth Painting. The idea was to take a photograph, enlarge it, trace it on cotton fabric and then, using paint, thread and batting, re-create the photograph. LOVED IT and LOVE the technique!!
The above is how it looked when I finished with the painting. (The small photograph on the right is Susan's photo)
Then I added a fringe and beads around the flower center

Then I added french knots in the center and some hot fix crystals in the center as well as areas on the petals. (saw an awesome set of quilts at AQS in Grand Rapids, Michigan that used the crystals to embellish with) This will be in the North Carolina State Fair this month.
I also made another one for Freeze Frame, PAQA-South's  Fall Art Display.

This is the first time I made it into a juried quilt show. I really liked how it turned out.

Here is how it looked while it was in process.

The Freeze Frame Show is going on until October 20.
There are over 50 wonderful quilts by phenomenal artists from all over the Southeast. This show is a wonderful treat for the eyes.
The Page-Walker Art & History Center is located next to City Hall,  119 Ambassador Loop in Cary, NC.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Play Date with the Carolina Mixed Media Artist Guild in August

There was just all kinds of fun to be had in August!
The CMMAG (Carolina Mixed Media Artists Guild) held our quarterly play day at the studio of one of our members. on Sunday August 11.
We each brought a snack to share and if an adult beverage was wanted, that was OK as well. Four of us did demo's Linda did "Book Folding", Penny did "Homemade Washi Tape", Heidi showed us how to color clay beads with dye and shaving cream, and I demo'd how to make a felted geode.

Linda had worked at Barnes and Noble for a time and she had all these lovely books that had the covers removed. She showed us the different designs one can make when you just fold the pages in different ways.

This is a pretty neat way to do something while watching television or if you have itchy hands and need to do something. Follow the below link to see some other examples of folded books.
More folded book images

Penny showed us how to make Washi Tape using different varieties of tape. Penny used blue painters tape, cloth (first aid) tape, and masking tape.  The then used stamps, different inks and  pens to

create some very lovely tape that could be used in a variety of projects.

Parchment paper is the key in working on the tape since the tape won't stick to it after you work on it.

The results were stunning!

Heidi then demo'd the beads colored with shaving cream and dyes. This was fun! Heidi showed us how to make the beads using a clay, not quite a polymer but similar and easy to use. After she rolled out the beads, she put shaving cream in a small cup......

and then added some dye
and then started to color the beads...

You can add as may colors as you want and then you want them to dry with the shaving cream on them. Her husband made her a wonderful drying rack for her beads...

you can see in the background some finished beads...I'm just sorry I don't have better pictures of the final results.

Then last but not least I showed the guild how to make felted geodes.
Unfortunately I don't any photo's of the process however I do have photo's of the finished results.
I will say that my plumbers helper caused a ruckus....one word of warning, when you purchase a toilet plunger steer away from clear acrylic handles that have a bumps put into them for better holding power...it looks like something else....anyway, below are pictures of the results.

It was a very successful day!