Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nuno-Felting at OFFF

Nuno-felted scarf
For the past few years (the last weekend of Sept.), I've attended OFFF (Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival) with my friend Dean, who's a weaver.   In the past, I've purchased huge bags of dyed wool rovings, which gives me a great selection for machine needlefelting with my Embellisher.

I still did some shopping at this year's OFFF, but the big highlight was the nuno-felting class I took with Carin Engen, a wonderful fiber artist from northern Cal.  Nuno-felting is still a relatively new technique, where wool fibers are felted onto a silk base (or chiffon, gauze, scrim, or other light, open weave fabric), resulting in a beautiful puckered texture (see below).
Back of scarf folded over the front.
Unlike traditional felting, the entire base fabric is not covered.  Instead, the roving is carefully placed on the silk base to create a design, both from the colorful wool itself and the puckers that will result.
The beautiful puckers and gathers on one edge of the scarf.
A big sigh . . . now that I've learned this new felting technique, how will I find the time to fit it in with all the other fiber and mixed-media arts I love to do?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Going back to October . . .

Gelatin Monoprinting

I was the "presenter" at the October meeting of my mixed media group in Portland. [Each month, a member "presents" (teaches/shares) the workshop, which lasts about 4-6 hours.]  My topic was gelatin monoprinting.

The night before the meeting, each person made a gelatin printing plate, made from plain gelatin and water.  I doubled my batch, using two boxes of Knox plain gelatin (4 envelopes each) and 2 cups of hot water.  After refrigerating overnight, I had a nice thick rectangle of gelatin, about 9" x 11".

Some people leave their gelatin plate in its pan, but I take mine out for printing.  It begins to develop cracks and other interesting lines and marks without the confines of the pan holding it together.

The next step is to paint on the gelatin, then use strips of newspaper to create a design.  The paper strips act as a resist, so the areas they cover won't be printed.  I was thinking about one of our family's favorite children's books called "Barn Dance," and I painted a low, full moon illuminating a grassy orchard.  Here's my first print on watercolor paper:

Note the stick-straight lines in the trees, made by using torn strips of newspaper.

[Click on any image to choose another size to view.]

Before pulling any more prints, I misted the gelatin plate with water and wiped off the remaining paint with a paper towel.  I repainted the scene, but drew the trees with my fingers this time (instead of using strips of paper), removing paint like this:


and here were the resulting prints:

First print on white PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric

2nd print made from same gelatin plate, after adding more paint to that still remaining on the gelatin.                                 
(I love Jacquard's Lumiere paints!  That's what I used to get the luminosity in the blues and  greens.)
  By now, the gelatin plate was getting these interesting cracks and crevices, which give texture and character to the prints I was making.  The plate would last a lot longer, but was taking up too much refrigerator space.  So I went all out, covering the plate with paint as I composed this desert-in-spring scene:
 Note the large crack about 1/3 from left side, and the pockmarks on the green foreground.

While it's not my favorite print, this ones does have some interesting sections.  I like the brush marks in the blue sky, and those in the lower left corner.  The colorful dots will become flowers.  Threadsketching and quilting might bring it to life!
 This was my third experience with gelatin monoprinting, and the best so far.  I learned much more this time; it's a fun & exciting process and is very forgiving.   I can't wait to try it again!  But first, I want to quilt these pieces, which I'll show when they're done.