Monday, March 25, 2019

Needle-felt Landscapes

I love teaching felting, both wet-felting and needle-felting, and I especially enjoy how my students are inspired to stretch their creative muscles and art through my designs! We recently had a class at Sawtooth School of Visual Art in Needle-felt Landscapes, and my students did not fail to amaze me once again. We had several first-time felters who really stepped up to the challenge, and a good time was had by all. Here are some photos of my students beautiful work:

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sawtooth Silk scarf-dyeing

We have had some gorgeous silk scarves dyed in our classes at Sawtooth School of Visual Art lately! With groups ranging from the fun "Taste of Art" Friday night classes to gatherings of business leaders of Winston-Salem, clearly art has no boundaries, is good for the soul, and is so much fun! Here are a few of the colorful works of art my students have created.

Sunday, December 9, 2018


We are really having some snow here, and so I thought I'd post a quick tute on how to snow-dye! It's fun and easy, and a great technique to add some beautiful colors and icy textures to your fabrics. You can snow-dye plant-based cloth such as cotton and linen, or protein-based cloth such as silk and wool. Be sure to use the proper kinds of dyes for your fabrics; Rit dye is fine for either one, but if using something like procion, you'll need to be more picky. Protein-based fibers can also be dyed with food-coloring based things like Easter egg dye and Wilton's icing gels; you'll need to heat-set these either in the microwave for 2 minutes, by steaming, or in a low-temp (225 degrees) oven.

Basic instructions: place your fabric in the bottom of a large-ish container, such as a plastic bucket or large plastic coffee container. Crumple the fabric into the bottom of the container; this will add to the beautiful texture you finish with. Then pack snow on top of it, packing the snow pretty firmly. Next add your dye to the top. You can use more than one color for added excitement. Keep in mind how the colors might mix; red and green will make brown, as will blue and orange, so you might want to go with analogous colors such as teal and lime, or blue and yellow, which will make green when mixed. I mix the dyes fairly concentrated, or if using powdered dye, you might try just sprinkling the powder on top. Some dyes will even separate into different shades of colors; for example, purple Wilton's icing gels separate into gorgeous hues of lavender, blue and pink.
This was some silk habotai I snow-dyed with Wilton's purple icing gels, mixing a small amount of the gel with a half cup of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, then pouring it onto the snow.

Once you have added the dye, you just wait for the snow to melt and the dye to slowly trickle down onto the fabric, leaving a lovely icy texture. You might want to move the container to a semi-warm area like your garage or basement to facilitate the melting. Then pour the dye off. Be sure to heat-set as necessary.
This was a pretty linen wrap skirt in celery green that I didn't wear any more so I decided to upcycle the beautiful fabric by snow-dyeing it in shades of blues and greens.
 The fabric came out so pretty! I combined it with some wool I marbled to make a simple kimono-style jacket like my #220 "Cut-up Kimono Jacket" pattern, shortening the jacket body and sleeves to fit my fabric. I had the nuno-felted scarf  that matched perfectly, and the little rose flower is from my #209 "Wooly Flower Basket & Wall Hanging" pattern. The tote bag was one of my samples I did for my "Marbling on Wool" article for Quilting Arts magazine last year.

Another technique for more specific texture and color is to use a grill and a pan to catch your melted dye. For the purple and blue textiles shown, I placed a grill or screen over a large roasting pan. I wt my fabric, then fan-folded it into diagonal pleats radiating from one corner, then pleated this down from the corner to fit my grill. I then piled snow onto the fabric, added my dye in ombre shades of blue and purple, and let the snow melt.

 This was cotton fabrics I dyed with Procion dyes, I used 5 rectangles and some strips to fussy-dye fabric to make my #212 "Quick & Easy Ladies' Vest" pattern.
                                                     My finished snow-dyed fabrics!

 Close-up, can you see the cross in the pattern? Dyeing is so serendipitous, you never know what you're going to get!
                                          My "Quick & Easy Ladies' Vest" pattern #212

There are so many fun things you can do with snow-dyeing! Hmm...I wonder what I'll try next, with 8" of snow and it's still coming, it's a perfect day to try a new technique!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

MAQF 2018 Nuno-felted Scarf Class

I had such a great class Friday at the show, my Nuno-felted Scarf class was packed with 21 students! They were so incredible, sharing workspace as needed and also inspiration and ideas. Each student chose their favorite hand-dyed silk chiffon scarf, and then their fibers and embellishments from my "fiber buffet". Every scarf was so different, and absolutely gorgeous! I am so very proud of all of my students, not only for their beautiful art, but in the way they supported each other and worked together. Here is a sampling o their work, still wet...I can only imagine how wonderful the scarves looked after they dried and the colors and luster of the fibers came out!
 This was such a beautiful and elegant scarf, can you believe she finished first?
 Whimsical flowers and vines on a sea of blue.
 A wonderful abstract art piece, full of textures and vibrant colors!
 What a beautiful layout in this flower garden on an earth-tone silk scarf!
 Beautiful colors in this very wearable art scarf!
 I love this composition, she created fish swimming in an ocean of blue!
 This snow-dyed silk scarf was transformed into a wearable work of art by this student!
 What a sumptuous ruffle in this romantic piece!
 Rich, vibrant wool colors on a hot red and yellow silk scarf, love it!
A group of sisters and their friend were sweet enough to come by my booth at the show Saturday and show me their gorgeous scarves after they'd dried, wow!
My new "fashionista" friend Anne came by my booth to see me too, what a blessing it was to meet her! Truly, we are kindred spirits.

MAQF 2018 Needle-felt Landscape Class

What a great time we had in our Needle-felt Landscape Class at the show! It was a full class, and the students only had a half-day to create their little mountain scenes from my "fiber buffet" of wool, curly mohair, silk, bamboo and sparkly Angelina fibers. They each got a pattern to use as a placement guide, a rectangle of Woolfelt to punch the fibers into, and a felting needle with other tools available as needed. The students chose their own personal color palette from the "all you can felt" fiber buffet, and happily punched away all afternoon. It was a very low-stress and artsy class, and they all created beautiful landscapes, each a little bit different! I am so very proud of each of my students, here is a little sampling of their work.
 Beautiful accents and use of curly fibers for the little flowers in the foreground!
 I love this warm, glowing sky in this work-in-progress, and the heathery fiber blending!
 I especially love her mountains in this piece.
 This is a very exciting landscape, lots of visual texture!
A beautiful design, and gorgeous composition of the silk and wool flowers and curly fibers in the foreground.

MAQF Quilts

What a busy show I had at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2018! Thankfully, I was able to catch a glimpse of a few of the quilts on display the last morning of the show, here are a few that captured my eye.
 I loved the linear design on this beautiful floral piece.
 The detail of this fabulous quilt was absolutely amazing!
 ...and the quilting, unbelievable, wow!
 A very different art quilt.
 So serene, just beautiful.
 I believe this quilt was done by a man, what a great idea! And a little bit retro.
 This little quilt was just stunning.
A Florida native created this piece to represent strength and beauty. How fitting, and timely.