Sunday, April 20, 2014

This year's Sydney Royal Easter Show (pre-William and Kate visit!)

For the past few years I have entered some textile work in the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, and this year I had two entries: a felted bag and a wearable art piece.  Both won 2nds which I was pretty pleased with considering the number of entries this year.

My felted bag was covered in coloured craters and felt balls with shoulder length felt straps with knotted coloured tips at the end.  The bag really cried out for a bright lining but the class was a felt only accessory - it may yet get its pink interior.

The wearable piece some may already have seen on my facebook page:

In this class there is as much emphasis on dressmaking skills as well as surface design, so the basic shift dress was made 'properly' with silk crepe de chine, bias binding hems, invisible zip, overlocked edges - everything I hate doing on slippy fabric really - before most of the 'fun' bits could start.
I dyed the dress to get the mottled effect I was after, and began constructing the hessian grid mesh.

It started as 2m of green hessian which became a haphazard grid through hours of drawn threadwork and even more cord making with free machining.

Separate machined cords in green and brown hessian threads were made on which to attach wet felted flowers and leaves.

In total about 200 flowers and 400 leaves were made and attached along the 1m lengths of cords.

The fun bit came when I could wind and twist and knot the cords into the dress, in an attempt to create a look like nature had taken over a dress hanging out too long!

and some of the detail:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fun at FibreArts Forum, Ballarat

For the last week or so I have been at Ballarat, Victoria for the annual Fibre Arts Forum there having fun in Pam de Groot's workshop "Freedom Construction in Felt". We had a small class, only 5 students, so for once we had plenty of space to work on our garments.
We worked from scratch - making metres of undyed prefelt, using fine merino tops

Maxine working on a section of her prefelt
and dyeing the prefelts and silks using various tools from Bunnings and empty wine bottles in shibori techniques with acid dyes.

before creating our ever evolving garments.  I have to say for me, who likes to plan meticulously, "going with the flow" and adding / subtracting pieces as the garment seemed to dictate, was a challenge but very rewarding in the end.

This is my (almost) finished dress and yes, I went for the purples and blues yet again - a creature of habit.

back of the dress

And some photos of the detail

arashi dyed silk paj with texture
swags of nunofelt with silk
arashi dyed silk lining

It really took me 5 days to get there mentally and physically but so glad I did.  I have often been inspired by Pam's work while I've been in the Craft NSW gallery on duty but I have now only even more respect for the skills involved in creating her unique garments.