Sunday, March 27, 2011

Felt, another fiber art

Felt, a material made by taking pure wool knitted fabric and applying heat, friction, cold, and patience, is an impermeable, warm, draft proof and beautiful new art material.

It doesn't fray, so you can cut it at will, and join pieces to make anything from throws to wallhangings to clothing.

My first adventures in felt involved a bunch of thrift store sweaters, and one donated one, accidentally partially felted already, and resulted in a supply of various colored felts.

Which yielded this bag

and this matching shoulder purse for cellphone or mp3 player or other newfangled invention

and this set of three bags, showing the "wrong" side of the fabric, which worked much better than the "right" side for the finished items.

I keep on discovering old unuseful sweaters around the house, and have plans to make a bed covering for HP's hospital bed, which is in the living room and needs to look like part of the furniture.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Black gesso, wire and paper

A few years ago I had a year of black gesso. And copper wire. And paper I made and molded. And wood. And bronzing paint. And it infected other artist friends who all got into black gesso, wonderful medium to play or work in.

All the pieces are created using found pieces of styrofoam or board, sardine cans, wire, handmade beads, all kinds of interesting toys.

There's the series of three faces, starting with a figurative kind of likeness of a face

then deconstruction one

then deconstruction two

There's the little board with the rusty saw blade I found on the road, and twigs, and a bead I found, too,

to create a sunflower.

And the double pieces, with molded paper faces, wire and metallic pens swirling with paint.

And the dancing figures, handmade beads and wire, knitted, too.

The same figures, presented differently, using sardine cans, beads and wire inside

each different, to represent a different real person.

And the giant face, molded handmade paper with a potholder added.

No gesso here, but bronzing paint all over. And the bones and feather piece

Then there's the three bones piece!

this scares some people.

And, to bring us up to the present day, a work in progress, a hanging created from plastic bottle carriers, installed in the opening to a closet in preference to a door.

A matching one will be installed in the other closet in the same room, so they can be seen at once.

Many years since the earlier pieces, but the feeling for reusing and recycling is undimmed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tapestry and other weavings

In the process of making the red/pink/etc family tapestry, I took a right angle on finding a nice stash of my handspun in blue related colors, and made the first two of three small weavings, on a handmade cardboard loom.

Weavings, one still on cardboard loom, others posing beside it.

It amuses me to read about real weavers weaving with real looms, full of technical terms and skills, and then return to my simple little loom. But I remember that weaving started out this way and in some parts of the world, still happens this way.

I have a book of Taaniko, which is Maori hand weaving, and without the use of any specialized equipment, the weaving is at as high a level as anything you could achieve with a handcarved, polished, beautiful loom, complete with rosewood shuttles.

Modern big looms are things of beauty in themselves, even if I don't plan on working with one any time soon.

Anyway,back to the little weavings, which may already have a home, which I had better not explain too prematurely, since it's part of a surprise. At least this is my part of it, and if it works out, it will be fiiiiiiine.

It's profoundly satisfying to weave using your own handspun wool, from raw fleece to finished object.