About my Fiber Art
In order to work with fiber art, I have taken a break from painting. I use the same design concepts with my fashions as I do with my paintings. It’s all about composition: repetition of shapes, color scheme, focal point and contrasts of various types. Although my work is mostly nuno felt, I needle felt Merino wool and silk into some of my designs. It's a soft wool that can be used against the skin. I like the sparkle of adding beads and Angelina fiber. I also love the texture of the waste products such as the curls and the silk rod carriers. I hand dye the rod carriers, and if I use silk, I hand paint or dye it.
As a young woman, I hated to sew, but I find the creative process of felting is very different. I depended on patterns back then, but now the exciting part is cutting my own designs and pushing my mind into areas that are new. My new spring collection includes scarves, shawls, vests, vest coats, hats and handbags. The fashions feature cut lace work, and hand painted three dimensional work. I also do pins and smaller items to compliment my garments.
The Technical Process
Nuno felting: I use silk or a thin see through fiber as a base and felt fine merino wool into the fabric. This is done through laying out the design on bubble wrap, wetting the design with soapy water, rolling it up on a PVC pipe and continuing to roll hundreds of times until the wool comes through the fiber. I then unroll it and throw the bundle into the sink numerous times to finish it. It is rinsed well and sometimes soaked in a vinegar solution.
Handcut lace felting: These pieces are wet felted and eah hole is cut with a razor blade and massaged against bubble wrap to heal the cut. Many garments have a layer of silk or bamboo roving as a "lining". The silk or bamboo fiber gives the piece extra strength.
Three dimensional work: This work is felted, and at the halfway point, I paint it with dye, then I finish felting it. The rosettes that are made out of silk habibti are stuffed with slivers of merino felt. The merino wool acts as a glue to adhere the other fibers.
Wet felting: My handbags and hats are wet felted. With wet felting the fiber is laid out on a plastic pattern with slivers of alternating directions of merino wool added in three to four layers on each side. It is then wet down with soapy water and finished in the same manner as the nuno felting.
painter, fiber artist