Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Birdies and books

As promised :)
This is the teacosy I made which was inspired by one of my new felting books..

Blue bird in a blossom tree
3 layers of English wool & 3 layers of coloured merino..  The tree was drawn with thin strips of wetted tussah silk.. the blossoms are small chunks of chopped mulberry silk fibre scattered on.  The birdie is merino laid on top of silk chiffon & outlined in merino.  After felting I hand embroidered his beak, eye, wing and feet.
and the back..
Quite simple, but I do love the bright summery colours.  The lovely thing about using silk to 'draw' the tree is the crispness of the finished lines.. you dont get the same 'bleed' or fuzziness that you get with wool fibres migrating outward from the line (wool fibre movement is all one way - IN to the silk).

Latest bookshelf treasures

I recently brought 2 new felting books.. they are both fairly newly published, and both focus on felt as ART.  They are written by 2 amazing felt artists, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both... I keep dipping into them just browsing through the loveliness..  My little birdie project was made after being particulary inspired after first leafing through Moy Mackays book, the section on birds was the first that I actually read in this book.  My little birdie picture is made rather differently (but I hate following instructions anyway - things have to be done MY way :)  but it was definitely the inspiration.

So, here are my little reviews.. :)

ISBN: 978-84448-563-5
Soft cover - 128 pages.  

There are a LOT of wonderful colour photos in this book.. finished pieces to inspire experienced felters or beginners.  The first 36 pages cover the basics; materials, equipment,colour, texture, blending, and basic felting.  I'm going to be honest here - I havent read these properly.. just skimmed them, but they look like they are thorough enough for someone to pick this book up and get felting without any trouble.  The 'how to make felt' section is actually the first decorative project - a little landscape with sheep on it and includes using silks and angelina, so much more interesting than many 'how to's'.  She then moves on to a step-by-step guide to adding freemotion machine embroidery and hand embroidery to finish.  

The following sections cover: landscapes, flowers, birds and still life.  Each section has an overview, lots of amazing photos of Moys work, then finished with a step by step photo filled project.

I think most felters will LOVE this book.. its a visual treat!  Also Moy suggests inclusions I would never of thought of using (like tiny flakes of real gold leaf).  If you fancy felting pictures.. or using machine embroidery to define your work this is well worth it.  I think it would be a lovely gift to a new feltmaker too.. 

ISBN: 978-1-84797-317-7
Soft cover - 89 pages

I had hoped to go to one of Andreas workshops this year, but by the time I spotted them they were full up.  I was over the moon when I saw that she had a newly published book and brought it immediately.  I was not disappointed! 

Again LOTS of lovely photos here!  And drawings, sharing the early planning stages.  Andreas work gives a sense of wild beauty and freedom which she manages to convey SO well.  I found this book immensely helpful learning about drawing with wool and silk fibres.. and the Inspiration section served as a refresher art lesson covering perspective.. reminding me of things I learned in Art classes 25 years ago.  Things that I mostly do now without thinking.. but sitting down and reading, and thinking it out has I think really helped.  Its made me more mindful of what I am doing.

There are no step by step projects in this book, and would possibly not be the book to buy for a new felter. But newISH; already knowing the basics, feeling confident and enthusiastic to learn how to 'draw' pictures in felt..  yes I think this felter would learn a lot.  As an experienced felter I can say it is a pleasure to see Andreas art and to get an insight into how she goes about her creative process, and I certainly learned a lot from it too!  I would say this is book would be good for all felters with an interest in art felt / pictorial felt.  


The majority of my work is intended for USE.  Either household or to be worn.. as such it has to be felted an awful lot more than a purely decorative piece, and I was unsure how much of the knowledge gained from either of these books would actually benefit my own work.  Certainly there are some things that  I have to do differently, but I think we all do that anyway... find our own way of working that gives us the results we want. Both of these books got my creative juices flowing, the cogs in my brain whirring and inspiration firing!  I highly recommend them both!