wallflowerarts

Adding Gold to Our Rainbow

Archive for the category “felting”

Art, my connection to where I live, the dissonance between that and my cultural heritage.

Widdershins – an exhibition of Moorland Mythic Art I so, so want to go to this gorgeous exhibition in Devon. Artist involved include Alan Lee and Brian Froud. So much gorgeous art that makes me cry. Oh god I wish I could see it in person.

“Dartmoor’s landscape is steeped in magic and mystery and it is home to many artists whose work is inspired by mythic themes. Widdershins showcases the work of those who live on Dartmoor (or have local connections) Widdershins explores local legends, world myth, folklore and faery tales in diverse, surprising ways… and although it all starts ‘Once Upon a Time’, it is definitely not for children only.”
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This is the sort of stuff I’d love to draw and sculpt and bring in to my work but I am so far removed from the landscape that is linked with British Folk Law.
I feel a real connection with the land out here but the myths and legends out here are either still set in European landscapes or they are Aboriginal law and to create with those is appropriation.

How do I work with Myth, Legend and the spirit of the land I live in without being disrespectful to the people that were here long before? How do I work with my cultural heritage when living and connecting with a land that is so vastly removed?

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I can make up new stuff on my own, I know, but there is something about working with legends and myth that goes back thousands of years, that other people connect with and have connected with.

I sit here in this ghost town of a gold village and I spin yarn from wool straight off a sheep. I embroider artworks with needle and cloth. I light my fire and sit by it’s warmth. These things were done by women in this spot since the 1850s. These slow ways of being, of creating, of living are something that connects me to the history of this place but I want to create art based on the spirits of this place, on the mix of landscape and imagination that brings the place to life.

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Water here is precious. Sun is plentiful and in summer it is dangerous. Summer is not the warm, pleasant, plentiful time of joy that it often is in England where I was born. Winter isn’t ice and snow and a baron land.
This village, at 850m above sea level and the other side of the Great Dividing Range from the coast is the closest I come to the weather and plant life I was born in to in Easbourne, Sussex, England.

We have milder summers and much colder winters than the coast. We have lots of European trees planted in the village. We actually get a proper Autumn here where all the leaves change.

Autum in Hill End

Within a short walking distance though it’s back to Gum trees and Wattle, which I love, but it is green all year round, or at least our version of green witch is really fairly grey. Summer is drought and heat and storms. It’s fire and floods and sun that burns everything brown and grey and brittle. It’s full of flies and mosquitoes, snakes and spiders. It’s certainly not a green and plentiful time.

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We get a few days a year of 40c. Much less than we did on the coast but still awful. We get some winter nights at -6c. Much colder than the coast but we’ve only had one decent snow fall where it stuck. And even that was gone by morning.

snow in Hill End

We get less water and more floods. This land is a harsh and dangerous paradise. It’s hard work and red dust and wide open spaces. It’s coal and steel and gold. It’s sheep and cattle and kangaroos that well outnumber the people. It is beautiful and harsh and so very, very old but at the same time it’s brand new.

High Water in the Turon

Road to town

I want to make art to reflect that, to connect to this land that lives and breaths with me. To show others the savage beauty and the things you can’t always see. The things that were and the things that weren’t and the things that are.

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I have been considering paintings that show European myths and legends in an Australian landscape and how out of place they look.
I want to go and sit out in the bush and take photos and draw the things I don’t see. I want to needle felt creatures that fit within our landscape but don’t exist and the ones that do.
In a less literal sense I want to spin wool dyed with the plants and ochres of where I live.

Now to find the time, space and money to make a start on this. Not sure I have enough of any of those to get much done any time soon though. I have only the space of my arm chair and the small amount of time when my health lets me think and do at the same time. Money is even more scarce at the moment.

2013 Heritage Wool and Natural Fibre Muster Part 2

Part one can be found here

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Such pretty yarn

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Felted fire

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Felts and dyes

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Gorgeous fibre

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Cute placemat

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These were all fantastic. Ruth ended up buying one

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So much pretty

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So many things we wanted but couldn’t afford

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We left the Arts Centre and walked over to the Court House where the rest of the stalls were.

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Outside the Court House

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I ended up spending ages feeling these Artisan Lace yarns. So soft and amazing colours. I wanted to use them for embroidery. I ended up narrowing it down to the purple and the peacock green/blue. I went away for a while to look at other stuff as I’d just bought some Woolganic from them but ended up coming back and grabbing the green/blue one. It’s stunning. Not sure what exactly I’ll embroider yet but I think it will be on the back of a black hoodie.

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This stall had the most amazing felted alpaca hats. I fell in love with the grey one. The prices were good but I just couldn’t afford it.

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Here it is. Isn’t it pretty. I also love the little alpacas

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And here is our spoils. From top left we have a new cable for Ruth’s interchangeable set as the old one broke. A gorgeous yarn by””, 8 balls of Woolganic wool. It’s so soft and pretty.
Second Row: The peacock blue lace weight yarn, a bag of white corn silk fibre, a lovely nostepinne that looks like a beater’s bat from Harry Potter.
Bottom row: black, purple and white Merino/Silk fibre, a bunch of business cards and some needle felting needles.

I did enjoy the show a lot and will try and get there again soon. I ended up with my health crashing badly after walking around for so long. Still managed to get to Orange and get some shopping done.

Summertime blues and a creature that likes it colder than I do

With a spate of hot days here in Australia I’m afraid my ability to do anything goes out the window. Heat causes a lot of my health problems to get a lot worse and I’ve just not had the brain to do anything.
Both Ruth and I have a lot of trouble with the heat and we’re not able to have an air conditioner here in the cottage so things pretty much crawled to a stop this past week.

For now I’ll look back at one of my most successful needle felting projects. A friend of ours is totally in love with Polar Bears. I decided to needle felt her one for birthday/Christmas present.

It took me a lot longer than I thought it would but most of my needle felting projects at that point had been rather small like the teeny sheep.
The Polar Bear was slightly bigger than my fist.

I started with a pipe cleaner armature and from there built it up until I could get the right shape.
A felting needle has barbs along it and when you insert it into wool it tangles the fibres together. You can use this to create a 3D sculpture or to felt wool in to a piece of felt to create a 2D picture.
Unfortunatly this project was done at a time when my good old Konika-Minolta stopped working (Well it was the lens that went but I couldn’t afford a new one)  so there aren’t any progress photos.

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I looked at a fair few photos to try and get the shape right. I didn’t realise until I was part way through the project how few photos there are of Polar Bears from above.

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By coincidence, while I was still working on it, we ended up seeing part of a Polar Bear documentary and although I was really sick with a migraine that night I saw enough from various angles to be able to correct the anatomy a bit.

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I’m not completely happy with his paws. The toes aren’t really long enough but by that point I wasn’t able to fix them.

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Over all though I was very happy with the completed bear. He has a great personality that shines through and our friend was over the moon with him and that’s what counts.

I am available for needle felted sculpture commissions. Something of this size and complexity would cost a couple of hundred dollars. If you are interested you can email me at wallflowerarts@gmail.com for more information.

New in my shop

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Just a short note today to mention the newest addition to our Etsy shop.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/114663529/cute-felted-teeny-sheep-earrings
Sheep earrings for Christchurch
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These cute needle felted earrings are one of a kind creations. Each Teeny sheep is slightly different.
You can choose a white body, a grey body or a dark grey/brown body. All with black heads. If you want something slightly different please don’t hesitate to send me a message.
Cute and wooly these are great accessories for your favourite knitter or just someone who loves sheep and animals.
If you have problems with metal allergies I can upgrade the earwires to a specific metal or anodized or stainless steel. Message me and I’ll let you know what price I can get.

I’ve been making these earrings for a while now but I’ve finally managed to get them listed on Etsy. The first few pairs I made were sold off for charity. The money went to the NZ Earthquake appeal when Christchurch wouldn’t stop shaking.

Teeny flock

I’ve seen lots of lovely needle felted sheep around but still none quite like the Teeny Sheep.
I love their chubby little bodies. I have some I’ve made up as stitch markers. It’s so cute to see the teeny sheep getting all cuddly with the wool as I knit.

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I also have teeny sheep in a terrarium and some teeny sheep that hang out on my monitor (I have a bog old CRT). Well they start off on the monitor but as it’s one of the cat’s favourite places to sprawl they often end up on the desk. I even found one in the washing machine the other week. I must have had it in my pocket. Thankfully no damage done as they’re already felted tight.

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Sometimes they hang out with the Owl Randolph or the Teeny Cow

Owl and teeny sheep

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