Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shibori Dyed Alpaca Felt Purse

The white alpaca fiber was first needle felted on the Table Top needle felting machine that can be seen at After needle felting I rolled the pieces - wet and soapy - on the rolling machine. Then they tumbled in the dryer - again wet and soapy. I had 7 pieces of felt and I dyed each a different color. Then I wrapped or otherwise folded the pieces to achieve different resist effects. They were then all dyed in the same dye bath - a brownish color.

The bag is lined and leather is sewn on one side of the strap.
The bag is currently on sale at the Tactile Arts Center in Denver Colorado at the 5th Annual "Member Showcase"

Table Top Needle Felting Machine and visit to Illinois

We had a quick trip to visit Susan and her husband Ron at Waldron Grove Alpacas in Illinois. She is doing some very exciting work on the table top needle felting machine. She is felting into all kinds of fabrics using alpaca and wool and also using her rolling machine combining with the needle felting machine.
Me and Susan
I have a pile of needle felted romney wool - natural brown color - that I can picture to become a coat. It was made while testing finished machines waiting to be shipped out to their new owners. I want to wet felt onto the needle felted fiber and see the results of a twice felted piece. Today I finally had a chance to do some samples. First I laid out different colors of gauze fabric on top of the solar pool cover rolling mat. Then I cut pieces of hard felt - sometimes called "pebbles". The pebbles were placed on top of the gauze fabric. I used gauze because I want to see the effect of the pebbles and have them stand out. I covered the pebbles with two thin layers of merino wool, some matching the fabric and some in contrast. The needle felted romney in natural brown and natural grey was placed on top and everything was wet down with cold water and liquid Dawn - soap (from a watering can), then placed on the rolling machine. I didn't use pressure, I just let it turn on the bottom two rollers checking it every 3 to 5 minutes. After about 20 minutes everything was felting together so I used hot water with olive oil soap and flipped the piece over and now placed it on the machine with 3 turns of pressure. I left it for 5 minute intervals before rolling it in the opposite direction. Everything felted together after around 20 more minutes and I rolled by hand for about 5 minutes then let it tumble in the dryer wet and soapy for around 8 minutes total. I like the results and now I can plan the final fabric color and the merino wool color I will use.  

brown needle felt on left, grey needle felt on right. Test sample in middle.

Creative Design Retreat

In my new quest to learn all I can about sewing and fashion so I can use my hand made felt for garments, I attended a 4 day workshop in San Marcos, California put on by Cochenile Designs.

Missoni - made for the World Cup

Ballet and Opera costumes
The retreat focused on creative design for sewers and knitters. Anna Walden, a knitwear designer and Susan Lazear - Professer of Fashion at Mesa College in San Diego were the instructors. I took copious notes and many pictures and came away with a new appreciation and understanding, (though just scratching the surface), of garment design. We spent a day in the LA garment district and visited Beverly Hills - Rodeo Drive and a highlight was the "Il Teatro alla Moda" Theatre in Fashion, an exhibition of the theatrical costumes from Italy's world famous haute couture designers.

Button selection at Mood Fabrics

LA Garment District

"Animal Felt: Art Informs Shibori" Exhibition in Hong Kong

I was very happy to have my submission to the 8th International Shibori Symposium accepted. It is a bolero made from hand made merino wool felt, shibori dyed with resist techniques and immersion dyed. The title is "Russet Bolero.  Here is the link to the Conference:

Monday, October 24, 2011

New techniques in feltmaking result in a full outfit.

After making vests, jackets, scarves etc. I am excited to be completing full outfits using some new feltmaking techniques I have been working on and also dyeing techniques. The ArtWear Fashion week fashion show in September gave me inspiration for making a total "look". The model, make-up artist and photographer came together in this photo shoot to really get the look I wanted.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New! 80 inch Needle Felting Machine from FeltCrafts

Now we have an 80 inch table top needle felting machine that can needle felt 14 square feet per minute.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiber Celebrated 2011

This is a kimono top I entered in "Fiber Celebrated 2011" an international juried fiber art exhibition sponsered by the Intermountain Weavers Conference. It is at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. It is open July 21 through September 24, 2011.

The technique used in this top is labor intensive and no rolling is used. I describe it as a "Hybrid Felt Collage".

May 2011 in Lofthus Hardanger Norway

Monday, July 11, 2011

SDA Conference Fashion Show

I was privileged to have my garment "The Polar Sea" accepted into the Surface Design Associan Fashion Show at their conference Fashion Show in June 2011 in Minneapolis.

(Fashion Show Photos taken by Susan Bowman)

Felting in Sweden

Gunvor with her hat! Wearing what we made. Finishing the berets.

" The Ost Cafe" Felt Yurt in Cafe garden

Don and I had a wonderful time visiting the Bredsjo Dairy in Bredsjo Sweden. They are located in the "deep woods" near Hallefors, about 93 kilometers north of Karlstad. We spent two full days felting the wool from the dairy sheep using the 40 inch rolling machine. The wool felted well and we made hats, scarves, bags, and "vegan sheep skins". Lena, her husband Lars and daughter Sarah are hard workers and they produce the most delicious cheese I have ever tasted - especially the roquefort. The "Ost Cafe" (Cheese cafe is open on weekends in the summer). Gunvor is working with them to produce products from the wool and she has made yurts - completely designed from the wool to the frame.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Alpaca Bag for Grand Nationals

I finished the bag for the auction/sale to benefit education for uses of alpaca fiber. It is 100% alpaca with leather trim and a cotton lining. The alpaca carded batting was first needle felted on the table top needle felting machine, then rolled on the rolling machine to remove any needle marks, then tumbled wet and soapy in the dryer to full it more. I pole wrapped one tan piece and dyed it using lanaset dyes along with a couple of other tan pieces. It has a polished stone button on the front. The natural colors of alpaca used are tan, dark brown and white.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Needle Felting Machine at the Great Western Alpaca Show!

Last weekend we brought a 36 inch table top needle felting machine to the Fiber Fiesta area at the Great Western Alpaca Show. We learned a lot about using alpaca fiber in the machine! Especially interesting was that Huacuya alpaca required a coarser felting needle. The fine needles caused it to back up in the machine. We couldn't find a difference with wool from using fine versus medium felting needles. Luckily I had half of the machine filled with fine needles and the other half with medium needles. I used the tan alpaca batting and when I came home I placed the needle felted batting on the rolling machine then let it full more by bouncing around in the dryer. I pole wrapped and shibori dyed a piece and dyed a few other pieces and now I am constructing a bag that will be displayed at the National Alpaca Show in Denver the weekend of May 21 and 22. The completed projects by a number of artists will be auctioned or sold with the proceeds going to programs which will further the awareness and use of alpaca fiber.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I will be adding more of the shots soon.

Photos of garments from 1990 to the present

Seamless coat from Garments and Surface Design Video - 1991

I gathered together a group of work that I have made since 1992 and brought them to a photographer in Colorado Springs. He found a model and I have some great shots of my work. The earliest coats were done for the Video - Feltmaking: Garments and Surface Design techniques.