On Thursday, I went to a workshop at Heartspace Studios
in Bristol run by feltmaker Kirsten Hill-Nixon to learn more about nuno felting
with silk. I have tried samples before but only small pieces using very open
weave fabrics such as muslin, so I was interested to see how it would work with
silk, and also to take advantage of the table space available to work a larger
Kirsten had asked us to bring old bits of fine silk such as scarves and had some she had bought at charity shops. The lovely pink is a scarf passed on by a friend; it had gone into holes but as it has sentimental value, she asked me to use it and give her something back - you can see in the picture that I made a separate piece for her. The long strip of orange/brown fabric is a charity shop find and the rest are odd bits and offcuts I have dyed. I didn't have a planned colour scheme so just made a patchwork of rough squares and rectangles and hoped it would work. The felt is going to shrink by around 50% ,so at this stage it is around 2 metres long and 50cm wide.
Next stage is laying out the wool tops. I chose some lovely striped wool from Kirsten's stash which had all the colours in my fabrics. They have to be laid very thinly (which took rather a long time) and then lots of rubbing and rolling - at this point I stopped taking photos and got stuck in, but you can see more work in progress shots on Janet Haigh's blog.
And the finished piece - now about 90cm by25cm.
It is a bit too short to knot around my neck, so I stitched together the rolled edges from the pink scarf and made a little strap (woggle? is that the right word?). I love the feel of this material, the silk has scrumpled up and has a soft sheen while the back is cosy soft wool. Using the striped wool top has calmed the colours down and brought them together.
Finally, I made the little piece up into a wobbly notebook.