Wednesday, 12 February 2014


At one of the Christmas shows last year I met Nikki Brown an artist who creates the most amazing miniature fairy shoes from polymer clay, each exquisitely made with such precision and tiny detail... And of course we fell into conversation about fairy wear, specifically shoes & slippers and the possibilities of making some from felt.  I had made some fairy slippers a while ago which I called my goblin boots (these now belong to Nikki) - I knew these ideas could be developed further.

So I let my imagination run wild and made these...

A pair of fairy slippers (or pixie boots) felted together in one piece from 
fine layers of Merino. Once cut from the resist and separated into two
 the slippers were individually shaped by hand. 

A pointy fringe was cut around each opening and the off-cuts made 
perfect little felt leaves to decorate the sides. 
I wanted to create an fairly free, organic effect with hand stitching 
using thick threads and simple bold stitches. 
The finishing touch was the soft green suede for the leaf shaped soles... 

While I was making these slippers the words of a poem by Keats I'd 
learnt at school kept going through my mind

"Ever let winged Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home...
Open wide the mind's cage-door
She'll dart forth and cloudward soar..." 

He was writing about letting the imagination run free because in truth
the reality of life is so temporary! 

Beauty will fade away, pleasure is short-lived, 
it's only our dreams and imagination that are ever-lasting.

What better way to enjoy daydreaming and the occasional flights of fancy 
than by musing on a pair of felted fairy slippers!!!!

As we all know fairy feet rarely touch the ground!

These slippers are designed to be purely decorative and definitely 
not recommended for tip-toeing over mossy stepping stones 
and skipping along damp forest foot paths !

A complete fantasy...  

And another pair are waiting for decoration! 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

FELTING - large scale!

For a while now I've been wanting to felt some large pieces of fabric with the eventual plan to make something wearable, like a simple waistcoat. I've always been limited by the size of my work tables at home but at the start of the year, while things were quiet at Oliven, my felting friend Soosun & I took advantage of the large workshop tables for a day of experimenting... 

I did some preparation and dyed a large 2 square metre piece of cotton scrim using Dylon. Although I have done lots of natural dyeing (usually outdoors) for my knitwear, using cold water dye was another first for me. I always avoid anything potentially messy but it was SO easy! Not even a tide mark in my sink. And the scrim came out a brilliant Flamingo pink - total coverage, no streaking.

Using this as a base for my fibres I was able to spread the 2m x 1m scrim out on the large workshop table and laid out fine layers of Merino on top...

I then used a mixture of threads (see 'Textured Treasures') silks, fibres and snippets of fabric to build up the final layer of textures.

This was a day of experimenting and an opportunity to try out the electric sander just to kick-start the felting process. KC has used it before when felting scarves and it proves invaluable working on this scale. It would have taken so much time hand-rubbing over such a large surface area. No photos available for this stage - I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing!

Then I began rolling, only stopping when the fabric started to shrink alarmingly...

The finished piece measures about 60 cm x 120 cm and the felting is still rather soft for me -  I would have preferred a stronger finish but it would have been so much smaller.

I will work over the entire piece now with the sewing machine to give more surface decoration. This will also help bond some threads but most have felted in well enough.

The scrim base certainly gives the felted fabric a strength, it's light-weight and drapes beautifully. It's ended up rather small and I'm reluctant to cut into it now, but it does make a rather nice wrap.

I've learnt lots... And I have another 6 metres of scrim ready
for the dye pot - tropical green & purple

but the pink is SO cheering for this dull time of year!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...