What I love about creating needle felted paintings is that they are tactile, you can touch them. I love the way the fibre unravels making the movement of the sea and the sky.
It is lovely to watch the fibres unfurl to bring waves to life. I also use tapestry wool which can be purchased in most charity shops at the moment for a bargain price. I like to let the grass remain upright to allow the observer touch it and fluff it up.
the grass is loose at the edge giving a distance to the foreground. I really love the variety of greens available.
I have built up the layers by using wadding on a background of cotton batting, it makes a delightful surface to ‘paint’ the needle felt onto.
You can see how the light and shadows are created using darker shades under the landscape by the horizon and the lighter shades where the sun would hit the sea.
The pebbles in my other seascape, are raised to create the illusion of coming towards the observer.
The piece was mounted simply onto a canvass – so that it can be touched and the grasses gently stroked and re-arranged.
This month’s travelling book belonged to a lady I don’t know at all, so I felt a little unsure of what to do, especially as the book was entitled “memories’. I leafed through pages of complete work, where happy childhood memories were celebrated in stitch – it isn’t a happy place to go – so grumpily I put the book aside for a few days. In the end, I was browsing through my photos on my external drive and came across my photos of Mexico.
My grumpiness forgotten, I was lost in fond memories of warm aqua sea, white sand and blue skies – except they weren’t always blue skies – what I loved was the way suddenly black clouds descended, then there would be an absolute downpour. Normally I would run for cover, but not this time, because the rain was delightfully warm. Oh, I cannot express my joy at being in a warm rainstorm! It was short lived, in no time at all, the black clouds had skudded away and we were back to glorious blue skies again.
So, at last, armed with my barbed needle and some delightful wool in various hues of blue and white, I set to work.
I had signed up for a day’s workshop with the Portsmouth Embroidery Guild – on one of the hottest days of the year! I have to admit, I was stepping well out of my comfort zone, never having combined paper and stitching before. I did not know what to expect as there wasn’t any ‘examples’ to see, the artist wanted us to spend time playing… there were no rules.
So – turned up I did with bagfuls of tissue paper, napkins and all kinds of threads, needles… I wisely took my own fan and some cucumber to chop up into a jug of cold water in the fridge. (Try it, it really is blissfully refreshing!)
I must admit, a lot of the machine stitching was done at home, we were supposed to do all hand stitching – but I made the mistake of using a type of cork backing paper, then built up areas of tissue paper and then followed it by watered down glued mulberry paper – while I loved the effect – seen in the cloud above, it was horrendous trying to hand stitch through all those layers! (I did take my awl, but it was hard going!)
I decoupaged areas with floral napkins – which created a contrasting texture to the stitched areas which were quite chunky wools, and thick paper couched in place.
I loved the thick wool contrast in the flower heads, but it was tough! To be honest, the day flew by – most of us quietly working away – I was amazed at how quickly the time flew.
I didn’t take pictures at the end of the day, but spent a very happy Sunday afternoon free motion embroidering over the top. I had forgotten the sheer pleasure of the way the stitches just flow in rapid succession!
As an experiment, it was successful although I have to admit, I really did not love it enough to carry on any further. I found the stiff cardboard too difficult to stitch. I just love the softness of cloth… but sometimes it is good to explore other mediums.
I learned a great deal about my machine embroidery through this sample, I am in love with variegated threads that flow from one shade to another, because the artist in me loves the play between tones.
I discovered some lovely shell buttons in my studio the other day – which reminded me of a sea scape / beach collage that I have been planning in my head for the 7 years since I bought them!
With the drizzle, blustery March weather – it was nice to consider warm sunny days, blue skies and the calming roll of the sea.
I layered the collage up a little towards the bottom to allow the stony beach to come away from the background to give it some depth. I love how the unravelled wool – curls itself into realistic seaweed. I used old sheer curtains for the foamy spray and beautiful silk roving to create the frothy waves.
The blue was one of those fabulous balls of wool that change from one colour to the next, the blues seemed to deepen without any need for direction – going from dark to light shades as they came. I dabbed in some green shades amongst the waves and let the wool loop slightly to give it a little more depth.
When I came to add the buttons – it just didn’t look right as everything else was made from wool – so they are still waiting patiently for me to turn my thoughts seaward again!
Mounted on a canvass it is quite delightful to see on the wall reminding me that summer will soon be here.