I would rather make my fiber art ending up with a finished piece but it's a
good idea to make a sample of felting techniques. This sample is made
utilizing nuno felting and 3-D shibori fabric manipulation.
You'll see later that I made a mistake!
Rae Woodnough is an artist who makes beautiful felted framed pictures
and is the inspiration for this post. Here's how she does it!
I use 5 m/m habotai silk and dye the fabric before I start. My colors will be teals and yellows/golds and the fabric is dyed Caribbean blue.
I buy my fiber reactive dyes from Dharma Trading which come in powder form and is mixed with hot water to make a deep blue color or lighter color, depending on the dye to water ratio.
I dyed two pieces of silk fabric, one teal blue and Caribbean blue, just to see how they took the dye. Then I rinsed the dyed silk and in a bath of white vinegar to set the dye and keep it from discharging as I felted the fabric.
The best part about beginning to make
something is choosing the wool colors!
The colors I chose were
gold, citrus, lemon, sunset, jonquil,
jade, peacock, teal and aqua
The blue colors are placed on the fabric first and then the yellow/golds are added in spots.
As I felt the piece, the fibers will intermingle with the fabric, making it pucker.
As it is felted, the wool shrinks the fabric.
The partially felted fabric is flipped over and the buttons are placed over the puckered side of the fabric. Then the wool is gathered about each button and secured tightly with rubber bands.
When I was happy with the colors and shapes, I placed the fabric on a bamboo mat and covered that with bubble wrap and rolled it up. I rolled it 100 times, unrolled everything, turned the piece 90 degrees and rolled it another 100 times.
I check to see that the felt is attaching to the fabric by pulling on it and if not, then roll more than that.
See how much the fabric shrunk?
I learned from this sample that I had made a mistake!
After I flipped it over, I covered the buttons with more wool instead of only adding wool around the button. As I felted it, I couldn't get the spaces to felt around the buttons so the space left wouldn't gap open once the rubber bands were removed. I ended up adding another rubber band and that held everything together so I could finish felting.
I hadn't done this technique in a year and forgot some of the steps. If I had instead made a big piece, it would have been frustrating to get everything to felt. I also wouldn't place the buttons so close together.
So that's why it's a good idea to make a sample.
Don't cover the buttons with wool. Covering the buttons with wool makes it
Instead, add wool around the buttons difficult to felt around them. I had to add
another layer of rubber bands to finish felting
Nuno felting with shibori fabric manipulation
copyright images of Carol Jensen 2019
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Carol Jensen Felt Art