I have to admit it… I always get a little giddy before opening my bundles.
As I never know what to expect. That sensation of a little bit of a rush before the unfolding.
My next class with Irit Dulman is “just around the corner” as she said. I can’t wait for January to arrive!
I did some dyeing this weekend. But first I had to go around my neighborhood to do some “shopping” for the right material.
I did found good leaves, but I also saw a men coming out from a driveway with the back of his truck filled with olive branches. I got so excited about trying something a little different from eucalyptus and after he told me to help myself as much as I could.
Then I found these leaves that looks like a type of acacia. Their leaves are very similar to the olive leaves.
After I got home I started working on my bundles right away. I made four bundles and put the whole thing to “cook”.
The hardest part was to wait, so I took my camera and I went for a walk.
A few hours later, I decided that it was time to take them out the pot.
Here are my bundles before unfolding them.
Here are the results:
The Eucalyptus yielded the most bright colors, the acacia-like leaves, left a nice subtle print and the olives didn’t print at all.
I discovered the world of felting several years ago, through the guidance of Polly Stirling, the pioneer of Nuno Felting and I vividly remember the feelings and excitement I had when I first dove into learning a whole new language that wool and silk speaks when they get together. Polly used to come to SF to teach her workshops at the Sewing Workshop, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to sign up for a couple of them on two consecutive years. Both classes were filled with so much information about how to lay the fabric, fibers, and how to get different effects and textures.
Years have passed ever since, and my felting went into a sort of a halt… until the day that I stumbled upon the work of Vilte and Irit Dulman. When I first saw their work I was taken aback by the beauty and the complexity of their pieces. The textures and layers express an organic rawness that almost look like the pieces are taken from tree barks, waterfalls, sand dunes, etc. They are photographs of nature captured into beautiful garments. I learned that they where offering workshops. Unfortunately for me, the workshops were held in far away places… bummer. But not for too long.
Work by Vilte
Going Beyond the Surface
I heard that a new workshop was going to be held here in California. In Monterey to be more exact. I signed up almost immediately and I started gathering my materials for the workshop with lots of excitement. I drove to Monterey with my car filled with smelly raw fibers, boxes packed with all kinds of leaves that I started gathering, since who knows when, bolts of silk, fibers of all sorts, and an unending list of accoutrements… and big expectations. I should have taken a picture of my car. It looked like the car of one of those homeless guys that hung out here in town. With all due respect…
I won’t go into details about the workshop, but it was a wonderful experience. It was intense and filled with so much information that I’m still slowly processing it, but I came home with a set of new tools that I will be able to apply to my work and renew that first love that I felt for the first time I encountered felting. Irit and Vilte generously shared their knowledge, but furthermore, what they truly do is plant the seeds for more experimenting and exploration, which enhances the true value of their workshops.
I retured home tired, but happy and with several pieces, some felted, and some pieces of silk dyed with different kinds of leaves, and an immense amount of inspiration that will last me a lifetime.
Rose leaf details
This was a fun experiment. I finished this piece a few days ago, but I’ve been collecting the leaves since last summer. Lately, when I go to my friends house I observe their gardens and neighborhoods in a different way. I try to spot plants that can be used for dyeing. I just discovered a nice ginkgo tree in Point Reyes near the Creamery and I think I can get nice prints with the leaves and using iron as a mordant.
I finished my piece on time getting it submitted for an exhibition at the Bolinas Museum for their Annual Miniature Show, but I wish I had more time to let the bundles cure a little longer, and get more defined prints of the leaves onto the felted fabric. The maple leaves left a nice imprint, but surprisingly not with the eucalyptus, although I’ve been thinking that it depends of the porosity of the fabric.
I would like to try next time with cotton and see what kind of prints I can get.
In the next few days I will posting an invitation for a Christmas Holiday Party that my friends and I will be hosting here at my house. Each of them will have a booth, offering their hand-made goods for sale. I’m so excited, because my friend Sophie Webb which wrote and illustrated the book “Far From Shore” with great reviews by the NY Times, will be join us to sell her art work, prints and books, so please, stay tuned.