Monday, September 2, 2013

Wet felting a mountain landscape

I decided to do a wet felted landscape from this picture at Rocky Mountain National Park. I really liked all the yellow aspens and thought it would look great in felt.

First I set up my table. I have clear plastic on top of the wood table to protect it, then a towel to absorb the water during felting. I am using a bamboo matchstick blind as my rolling mat. I then put clear plastic on top to hold some of the water in during felting.

I put two layers of white wool roving, the first one horizontal and the second layer running vertical.  I probably should have put another layer or two, since it is a fairly large piece, but didn't have enough in my stash. Since my landscape is horizontal and I plan on laying my colored roving horizontally, I made sure the last layer of white was vertical to help the layers felt together. Here are my two white layers and I am just starting the sky in the upper left.

I finished the sky and then did the foreground of aspens and evergreens. The dark green texture is from some loopy wool yarn.

I started on the mountains and the middle ground between the mountains and the trees.

I added black details around the mountains to make the scene more graphic. From previous felting, I know it is important to have a lot of contrast or the whole picture tends to look the same value.

It's good to photograph the work and see if it feels balanced.  I felt like the yellow section and green section were too divided so I added some more yellow in the green area, and some green in the yellow area. I also had my husband look at it and he thought my mountains were too small so I made some of them taller.

I put tulle netting over the wool and wet it with hot water and soap that I sprinkled on. I gently started rubbing the wool with my fingers, and after the whole thing was flattened, I rubbed harder and used a plastic roller that I have for this stage.

After probably 15 minutes, I took the tulle off to see if any of the wool had shifted or if I needed to add anything. I thought the sky was a bit too uniform so I added some additional silk and bamboo fibers. I then put the tulle back on and rubbed with my hands a bit more.

Once the fibers were holding together, I took the tulle off and put a piece of clear plastic to cover the top, I rolled the assembly (bamboo mat, clear plastic, wool felt, clear plastic) over a pool noodle and rolled it for 5-10 minutes. I unrolled it, turned the felt/plastic sandwich 90 degrees, re-rolled it, and rolled for another 5-10 minutes. I did this multiple times until the piece had felted and had shrunk quite a bit. I then rinsed all my equipment to get the soap off. I rinsed the felt piece separately in the sink with cool water to remove the soap. Then I filled the sink with hot water, enough to cover the piece, and let the piece sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. (It was folded up to get it to fit in the sink, at this stage it's okay to manhandle it a bit). I then squeeze as much water out of it that I can and go to my work table to roll it some more while it's still hot.  I put a new towel down on my table, then the rinsed (soap-free) bamboo mat and the felt. I don't use any plastic at this stage. I rolled the felt in the mat again, unrolling, turning, and re-rolling until I feel the work was completely felted. I did at one point feel like it needed to be given another hot bath, as this helps with the felting, so I did rinse it in cool water and then in hot, and rolled some more.

The bamboo mat made the felt a bit rippled looking so I pinned it flat to some foam board to dry. I'll post another picture once it is dry as the silk pieces usually lightens up.

Here is a photo of the piece after it dried. The silks really lighten up when they are dry. I will do a little needle felting to add some details and may do some free motion stitching as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment