Glacial – Felt/Ceramic Wall Hanging

I finished this in October, but I’ve been bad at blogging lately. I’ve been having problems getting accurate photographs of the fiber work.

The main section of Glacial features natural colored fleeces from the farm, wet-felted. The “buttons” are pit-fired earthenware with amorphous, needle-felted wool attached to each. It is backed with a commercial felt fabric (ie., not craft felt) to hang on a wall. It’s about 18-20″ across.

Glacial wall hanging
Natural colors in Shetland wool
Glacial wallhanging detail
Pit-fired buttons with amorphous wool "nubs" (I don't really know what to call them).

Carding my brain away…

This weekend I was down at the farm. I dyed a batch of purple wool and spent many, many hours carding. So much so that when I drove home after sunset Sunday night, the clouds in the sky looked exactly like the bits of fleece I had been carding. Like exactly, down to the “crimp.”  Rembember hair crimping in the eighties? Pretty much looks like that but it occurs naturally to a degree is some fleeces.

For non-fibers folks: Carding is a process that gets all the fibers going in the same direction, which must be done before wool (or any fiber really) can be spun into yarn and then into textiles. I am a lucky duck and have access to an electric drum carder (or du-da-duh, Supercarder!), as  seen below. Each batch is called a “batt.” So over the weekend, I carded something like 17 batts, which doesn’t sound like alot, but then again, some batts have to be carded up to 4 times each if I’m blending with another fiber. I was blending some angora bunny into the purple this weekend, for example. It also takes much longer if  I’ve over-agitated the wool in the washing and dyeing process, which tangles the fibers. Apparently I have a problem with that.

I cannot even imagine doing this with a non-electric carder or god-forbid, old-fashioned hand carders. That would simply not happen. Anyways, I know I had promised a blog on the carding process, but this is all you get right now! Deadlines loom!

drum carder
Supercarder or medieval torture device? Well, I have had a few bleeders when unattentively poking fingertips with the metal spines.

Bub Vase

This is a walnut vase I turned on my Delta Midi Lathe and carved channels into with the idea to inlay a mixture of crushed glass and resin. However, I did a test of the inlay and a person who I trust for their candid opinion said that it looked like someone threw up glass, so that idea got put on hold . So it sat on a shelf for several years just waiting to be finished. So here comes the felt! This is a functional vase with a glass test tube insert.

Bub Vase - turned walnut w/ mohair & shetland wool

The wool is a mix of mohair and shetland. The nubs were initially needled felted to strips of cotton, which were then affixed to the carved channels. Then additional needle felting took place, carefully working to get symmetry.

First of Ceramic/Fibers Hybrid Series – Neb

Sort of a tester. Just a little guy. First attempt to combine one of the pieces from the pit firing with some wool and silk that I had dyed. The wool was more of burgandy originally, but when carded (will try to post more on this process after July 4th) with pink to purple silk, it created a much better tone, and the silk adds nice sheen to the matte shetland wool.

image of neb front
neb 1 (front) : slip cast, pit fired earthenware; needle-felted silk & shetland wool : 3x3x2"
image of neb back
neb 1 (back) : slip cast, pit fired earthenware; needle felted silk & shetland wool : 3x3x2"

The name “Neb” refers to a spiral nebula, since they kept popping into my head as I felted this. Due to its small size, it’s simply shortened to “Neb.”

New Work – Translation: I will never understand.

Hand-dyed and needle-felted Shetland wool. 10’L x 12″H x 1.75″D  This piece covers an entire wall, so sizeable length makes it difficult to show online. Thus, the detail shot and I will put a higher resolution shot on the website. Individual “letters” are three-dimensional felted objects, each pinned to the wall. Each shade of blue was dyed separately and color gradations were carefully created in the needle felting process.

The “letters” do not have direct meanings or pronunciations, though the phrasing was carefully chosen through extensive writing /sketching. Though I am usually Google Image-happy, I purposefully avoided researching languages, as I wanted to let the shapes be influenced only by my  pre-existing references, subconscious or otherwise. Frankly, I’m not certain why that was so important, but it was. I guess a thought would be that I should make another after taking a look at world languages and see how the additional visual references get assimilated.

See website for larger image.

Translation: I will never understand.
Translation: I will never understand.

Translation Detail

Detail of Translation: I will never understand.