Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE!
ArtistsBillofRights.org reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

Creating Felt Fabric Collage

 

Felt and Fabric pieces for Collage

Felt and Fabric pieces for Collage

Fabric Collage refers to the creation of a new cloth from a collection of different types of textiles.  I have been playing with my stash of handmade felt, fabric and scraps to make unique textiles that can transform into a vest, pants, wrap or a scarf.

I begin by pulling out different types of complimentary textiles and laying them out on a big table. I like to work with one bigger piece of fabric that will be the base fabric around which patterns and themes can emerge.  Once I have my base fabric and a few anchor textiles, I begin the adding and subtracting process.  My fabric scrap collection contains lots of little treasures that can be added as design or accent elements.  I love working with selvage and raw edge scraps.  Prints with words are also fun to incorporate into the design.  I like to have my pattern pieces on the table as well so that I can begin to think about fabric placement.

The next step in my process is to start stitching some of the fabrics together.  I like to overlap

Collage pieces attached to base fabric with free motion stitching

Collage pieces attached to base fabric with free motion stitching

the fabrics as this creates more texture and interest.  Once I have a few pieces of my textile stitched, I place them on the pattern to see where they might look best.  An important tool in this process is a dress form as it allows me to see where on the garment certain designs will fall.  If you don’t have a dress form you can hold the pattern pieces up on your own body to see how the textile will flow.

 

 

 

Once I stitch all of the fabrics together for the pattern pieces, I am ready to construct the garment.  If I am lining the vest, I will sew in the lining and then sew the shoulder seams.  I try the garment on to make sure the armhole and bust area’s fit my silhouette.  Next I pin the side seams sew them together and I have a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.

Collage Vest, Felt and other complimentary fabrics

Collage Vest, Felt and other complimentary fabrics

felt vest

Collage Vest made with all felted fabrics

 

 

Spring Foraging

Mushroom season is just beginning in the higher elevations and I love to forage for the elusive Morel Mushroom.

Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

My husband Russ and I have learned to hunt above 3,000 feet as Russ has never met a poison oak plant that hasn’t found a way to his body.  I am transformed when I enter the forest.  It is the one place I seem to be able to let my mind relax and take in the sights and smells of the earth and tree’s.

I am fascinated with the look, shape and texture of morels.  Everything about them suggests earthy and organic.  I wanted to honor the morel by incorporating the texture of the mushroom into my nuno felt.  I started with a circular shape and cut out a spiral pattern.

 

Scarf Layout

Scarf Layout

 

 

 

I used silk, merino wool and wool yarn to create the pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

Nuno Felt Scarf

Nuno Felt Scarf

Scarf/Wrap Nuno Felt

Scarf/Wrap Nuno Felt

Can be worn as a scarf or a wrap.

3-Dimensional Wet Felting

 

3-Dimensional felting, also called seamless felting is popular among felter’s making garments, vessels, hats, handbags and booties.  I personally find a multitude of fitting issues with seamless garments and choose to utilize overlapping and hand stitching to create decorative seams for my vests and dresses.  Having said that, I do enjoy making seamless sculptural vessels, hats, handbags and booties.

Seamless felting requires the use of a resist or template that keeps 2 flat layers of wool from felting together and allows the fibers along the edges of the 2 halves to join to create an invisible seam.  It is helpful to have some basic wet felting experience before you attempt seamless felting but as I like to tell my students, almost any mistake in felting can be made to look intentional by embellishing with surface design.

Here are some examples of seamless felting:

Felted Vessels

Felted Vessels

Vessel:  A resist was used to create a hollow form and several little resists were used to create surface design on the vessel.

Felted Hat

Felted Hat

 

Hat:  A resist was used to create the basic shape.  Some hand stitching was used to adjust the fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Workshops:

April 16th, Nuno Felt Summer Scarf/Wrap

April 23rd, 2016 Sculptural Felting

Shibori Wrapping and Natural Dyeing

I just taught a workshop on shibori wrapping techniques and natural dyeing.  Shibori wrapping is a Japanese technique of manipulating fabric by knotting, twisting, folding and binding prior to dyeing to create interesting

Shibori wrap.  Fabric was folded and clamped

Shibori wrap. Fabric was folded and clamped

pattern design.  There are endless ways to create pattern design and cloth can be wrapped and dyed several times to get more depth of color and dimension.  Fabric can be wrapped with string, folded with clamps or clothes pins or stitched.  Marbles can be used to create a tie dye patterns.

 

Shibori Wrap. Twisting and tying.  Fabric was dipped in Avocado pit bath

Shibori Wrap. Twisting and tying. Fabric was dipped in Avocado pit bath

 

 

 

 

 

Dye Baths

In this workshop we used the following dye baths:

Black Bean-cold dye bath, purple color

Hibiscus tea bath-steeped then brought to room temperature, (needs a mordant to fix). Pink color

Eucalyptus bath-simmering, light brownish green color

Avocado pit bath-simmering, brownish red color

I experimented with folding, wrapping and dyeing some silk that I had previously botanically printed as well as blank silk.  We used raw silk, crepe de chine and charmuese.

Here are some samples of our work:

Crepe de Chine, Shibori wrapped, clamped and dyed in avocado pit bath

Crepe de Chine, Shibori wrapped, clamped and dyed in avocado pit bath

natural dyeing rose and euc print shibori avo

Botanically printed with eucalyptus and rose leaves, shibori wrapped and dyed in a hibiscus tea bath

Raw Silk, shibori wrapped, dyed in eucalyptus, then avocado baths

Raw Silk, shibori wrapped, dyed in eucalyptus, then avocado baths

Silk organza shibori wrapped and dyed in black bean dye bath

Silk organza shibori wrapped and dyed in black bean dye bath

It takes a village: How I made my coat

I attended Diane Ericson’s Design Outside the Lines Retreat in Ashland, Oregon.  The theme was “Coat as Shelter” and the guest instructor was Carol Lee Shanks.  This was my second year attending the coat retreat.  Last year I made a coat using Carol Lee’s method of pattern design.  Her process for approaching fabric is intuitive.    She works primarily with geometric shapes and transforms cloth into textural works of wearable art.

Diane likes to approach design with pieces of fabric that she makes into what she calls “bits.”  They are draped on a dress form and the creative process unfolds.  She utilizes paints, stencils and hand stitching to weave a story which becomes a theme for her garment.

Gwen Spencer was Diane’s “angel” assistant.  She is an extremely talented seamstress and works closely with Marcy Tilton.  She brought some discarded fabric pieces she acquired on a trip to Paris and I watched her transform these pieces into a beautifully textured fabric.  She offered assistance and guidance to all 19 of the participants of the retreat.

I decided that I would use Carol Lee’s method again this year.  The fabric I chose for the coat was a 1950’s

1950 vintage wool with applique

1950 vintage wool with applique

vintage embroidered wool that I purchased in the spring from Sandy Ericson, Center for pattern design.  I cut my fabric, put it on the dress form and started pinning.  The fabric did not slide easily on my body so I consulted with Gwen and decided to line the coat sleeves and shoulders with dupioni silk. Luckily I found a pale pink dupioni at Fabric of Vision.  It matched the embroidery on the wool fabric and made a beautiful cuff for the sleeves.  Gwen, with her expert eye and sewing skills, helped me construct and attach the lining.

Next came some fit issues.  The coat was too big in the back and the underarm/bust area in the front.  Carol Lee started pinning pleats in the area’s that were too big and I stitched the pleats with embroidery thread.  The coat was then hemmed with some asymmetrical lines.

Coat Front

Coat Front

I did not want to put a collar on the coat but I wanted something that could become a companion piece.  I found a grey fabric with lots of texture, cut bias strips (with Gwen’s assistance), and made a cowl.  Using one of Diane’s techniques for creative play and design, I made bits of fabric with the silk and attached it to the cowl.

The four days I spent in this retreat were magical.  I met some amazing women who were sharing, laughing and creating.  A little bit of their spirit is still with me as I go back to my studio for some creative play.

 

Coat back with strap detail

Coat back with strap detail

Coat with Companion piece cowl

Coat with Companion piece cowl

Summer Sewing

Summer Sewing

I have taken a little break from felting to focus on some summer sewing.  Summer is a great time to work on

4 Square Dress

4 Square Dress

lightweight frocks and improve my sewing skills.  In May, I attended Diane Ericson’s Design Outside the Lines Retreat.  Sandy Ericson, Center for Pattern Design was her guest artist.  Sandy has a wealth of information about pattern design and in my opinion is the “Queen of Drape.”  During the retreat, she demonstrated draping principals and I made a bias cut 4-square dress.  I chose a fun comfortable fabric with great drape.  Mary Glen, a very talented seamstress and a regular at DOL guided me through the process.  One of the things I loved about making this dress is that no pattern is required!  You just need enough fabric.  We played with the shapes, rectangles instead of squares.  The rectangles were different sizes which created a variety of options for styling the dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faultlines undershirt and capitola pants

Faultlines undershirt and capitola pants

The next piece I worked on was a casual summer vest.  I was looking for some whimsical fabric and chose “animal cookies cotton,” from The Smuggler’s Daughter.  I made the undershirt from Diane Ericson’s Faultlines Vest pattern.  I can never find pants that I love so I made Diane Ericson’s Capitola pant to go with the vest.

 

Back View

Back View

 

 

 

Marcy Tilton Vogue Pattern

Marcy Tilton Vogue Pattern

Now I am feeling my sewing oats and decide to take on a Marcy Tilton dress pattern: Vogue #9081.  I choose a lovely black silk linen and combined it with light weight Japanese linen from Fabric of Vision in Ashland.  I am now more in my comfort zone with color going with black/white and a little bit of red.  I decided to omit the bottom piece of the dress and opted to make this a top.  My friend Ute gave me some private sewing lessons and helped me complete the top.  It will look great with black leggings.  It is a piece that I can wear into the winter with a black shirt or sweater underneath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last piece was part of a design challenge to make Vogue pattern #8968.  I chose a beautiful piece of Japanese fabric that has been sitting in my “coveted fabric stash” waiting for the right project.  I combined it with some fabric from Marcy Tilton and some other stash fabric to make this Asian flavored dress.

Design Challenge Dress

Design Challenge Dress

Design Challenge Dress Back View

Design Challenge Dress Back View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a break from felting has sparked lots of new ideas for my fall collection.  I am now ready to start working on some new cape’s and coats.

Rockin the Runway at Liberty Arts Gallery

Libery Arts, "Filaments and Fiber" Runway show

Libery Arts, “Filaments and Fiber” Runway show

On May 15th, I headed to Yreka, California to participate in Liberty Arts Gallery’s new exhibit, Filaments & Fashion.  Three of my pieces were juried into the exhibit.  Opening night  kicked off with a high energy fashion show.  I walked the runway in one of my pieces and had two lovely models wear my Peach Melba nuno felt wrap and Wedding on the Beach nuno felt long dress/vest.  Laura Lawrence, www.mydancingthreads.com, a fellow fiber artist also participated in the runway show.  Enjoy these pictures and video.

 

 

 

 

Working Hands, A Journey of Creativity

 

Working Hands

Working Hands

When I was a little girl, I would watch my mother and grandmother’s work with their hands.  On Sunday’s they would make “a pot of gravy,” our name for marinara sauce.  Meatballs and pasta would accompany the sauce.  Sometimes I helped make the meatballs, my hands squishing all the ingredients together .   I can still smell the gravy cooking on the stove and hear the soft bubbling sound as the sauce simmered.

My mother’s mother would get together with her sisters once a year and make pizza dough in the basement of my great grandparent’s home in preparation for our summer family picnic.  The dough would be kneaded, set out on a big table and allowed to rise. Four generations of family would come to eat, laugh and tell stories. The pizzas could not come out of the oven fast enough and by the end of the day; we had consumed close to 50 pizzas, some eggplant parmesan and Italian pastries for dessert.

After dinner the women would sit around in a circle and knit.  They would talk about their children and recipes and their plans for the summer.  I loved listening to their stories and watching them create blankets, booties and sweaters.

When I was 10 year old, my mother and grandmother took me to our local yarn shop to pick out my first knitting project.  Little did I know that I would be turning this skill into a lifelong passion for working with fiber.  When I walked into that little yarn shop stacked with wool, I took in the bright and warm colors and was filled with a sense of beauty and possibility.

I was 16 when I made my first garment; a knitted dress made with chunky pink merino wool on size 32 needles.  It was the 1960’s; a time of changing and diverse trends in clothing.  This influence of breaking fashion tradition is visible today in the playful way I combine wool, silk and other fibers to create nuno felted fabric.  Nuno is a Japanese term meaning cloth.  I use silk as my base cloth and add merino wool, silk roving and strips of fabric that I then use to make clothing and accessories.  Recently, I have been experimenting with other “shrinking” techniques to create fabric to incorporate with my nuno felt. I enjoy up cycling garments; taking them apart and incorporating them with my felt fabric to create new fashion.

When I am creating, I feel connected to my mother and grandmother.  It takes me back to them and it lets me feel like I’m a part of a circle of women, working with their hands; connected and loved.

Botanical Printing and Dyeing

 

When I spent time with Polly Stirling in Ashland, Oregon last May, she strongly encouraged me to explore botanical printing and dyeing also known as eco-printing.  She has been botanically printing her felt for years and feels strongly about reducing the use of “toxic” dyes and paints in clothing.   I had the opportunity to study with Polly at her family’s camp in upstate New York last year

Felt Dress printed with crab apple's and leaves.  Dyed with comfrey flowers

Felt Dress printed with crab apple’s and leaves. Dyed with comfrey flowers

and as part of the felting retreat, she introduced me to botanical printing. She and her sisters gathered a variety of local plants, nuts, pods and flowers.  They were laid out in neat piles outside of Odd Fellows Hall, our felting room. It was exciting to set up all the dye pots and treat and wrap the felt for printing and dyeing.  I choose to print a felted dress with crab apples and dye in a copper pot with comfrey leaves and flowers  and a felted tunic top was dyed in a black walnut bath.

Since that time, I have been dyeing and printing my felt and silk with eucalyptus leaves and bark, onion skins, ornamental plum, maple and rose leaves.  The results have been spectacular.  The nuno felted pieces take on a leathery look once they are printed and dyed.  I have been experimenting with raw silk fabric, printing with eucalyptus leaves I collected in Northern California.  The raw silk prints beautifully.  I have added some raw silk tunics to my collection for those who are allergic to wool.

I held a workshop at my home last month and students learned different ways to prepare silks and cottons for eco-printing and dyeing.  On hand were eucalyptus, ornamental plum and rose leaves, onion skins, avocado pits and a few other “goodies.” We used a cold extraction/hot bundling process.  Once the fabric was printed, students had the opportunity to dip their bundles in a eucalyptus bark bath or a madrone bark bath.  The results were stunning.  It was fun to see how the plant material printed on the different types of fabric.

I will be teaching another eco-printing class in September.

Laying out flowers and leaves for printing

Laying out flowers and leaves for printing

Eco printed silk shirt lining

Eco printed silk shirt lining

Printed with Onion skins

Printed with Onion skins

Printed with Eucalyptus leaves

Printed with Eucalyptus leaves

Botanical Printing and Dyeing

 

When I spent time with Polly Stirling in Ashland, Oregon last May, she strongly encouraged me to explore botanical printing and dyeing also known as eco-printing.  She has been botanically printing her felt for years and feels strongly about reducing the use of “toxic” dyes and paints in clothing.   I had the opportunity to study with Polly at her family’s camp in upstate New York last year

Felt Dress printed with crab apple's and leaves.  Dyed with comfrey flowers

Felt Dress printed with crab apple’s and leaves. Dyed with comfrey flowers

and as part of the felting retreat, she introduced me to botanical printing. She and her sisters gathered a variety of local plants, nuts, pods and flowers.  They were laid out in neat piles outside of Odd Fellows Hall, our felting room. It was exciting to set up all the dye pots and treat and wrap the felt for printing and dyeing.  I choose to print a felted dress with crab apples and dye in a copper pot with comfrey leaves and flowers  and a felted tunic top was dyed in a black walnut bath.

Since that time, I have been dyeing and printing my felt and silk with eucalyptus leaves and bark, onion skins, ornamental plum, maple and rose leaves.  The results have been spectacular.  The nuno felted pieces take on a leathery look once they are printed and dyed.  I have been experimenting with raw silk fabric, printing with eucalyptus leaves I collected in Northern California.  The raw silk prints beautifully.  I have added some raw silk tunics to my collection for those who are allergic to wool.

I held a workshop at my home last month and students learned different ways to prepare silks and cottons for eco-printing and dyeing.  On hand were eucalyptus, ornamental plum and rose leaves, onion skins, avocado pits and a few other “goodies.” We used a cold extraction/hot bundling process.  Once the fabric was printed, students had the opportunity to dip their bundles in a eucalyptus bark bath or a madrone bark bath.  The results were stunning.  It was fun to see how the plant material printed on the different types of fabric.

I will be teaching another eco-printing class in September.

Laying out flowers and leaves for printing

Laying out flowers and leaves for printing

Eco printed silk shirt lining

Eco printed silk shirt lining

Printed with Onion skins

Printed with Onion skins

Printed with Eucalyptus leaves

Printed with Eucalyptus leaves