etsy mini

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Painting with fibres, how to make a felt picture. 1.

I often get asked  'how do you make them?'. It is not really a difficult process but easier to show than explain. Today I will show you how to lay out and needle felt your fibres. The next post will be how to wet felt your art and then we will cover the stitching.
The first thing you need is subject matter. When felting it is much better to work big and bold than to try to be subtle. Subtle is possible but when you get to the wet felting stage things blend and merge together and you can end up with something that just looks 'muddy'. Perhaps that is why so many people just needle felt?
To start with you need to select your colours and have a base to work on. It is best to use a white pre felt. You can either make this yourself or buy ready made pre felt. It must be 100% wool and it is sometimes called needle punch. Cut your pre felt slightly larger than you want the finished picture to be and lay it on a piece of foam.
Begin to lay out you wool fibres on to the pre felt. If you are creating a landscape start at the top with the sky. This will give you a nice tidy horizon. The sky can set the mood for the whole picture so be sure to use your colours carefully. For a sunny day yellow, white and clear blues. For storms purple and grey can be mixed with darker blue. You can mix the colours as you can paint. The easiest way is to use carders but it is possible to mix with your fingers. Make sure all of the fibres overlap each other so you do not end up with holes and the white background showing through. When you are happy with an area begin to needle felt with a special , barbed needle.
This will begin to tangle the fibres together and hold everything in place. Continue to work down the felt building up your picture as you go. Bear in mind that things which are far away look smaller and less distinct than those close to the foreground. A flower at the front of your picture may be bigger than a house at the back!
Here is my picture after needle felting. Note that I have not added any fine detail. Unless you are working on a very large scale felt is too unwieldy for fine detail. That can be added later with stitching.  See how I have mixed different greens together and laid them in different directions to suggest the contours of the land? All of these things help to make the finished picture more interesting and lively.
Tomorrow I will show you how to wet felt your art work. Have fun!

9 comments:

  1. Brilliant Sue, thanks for sharing this. I have wet felted but not needle felted

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should give it a go Karen. If you want things to stay put before wet felting it's a real help.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very good. I think that some promotion is needed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You make it look so easy!! Thanks for sharing this.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is easy. The technique, as you know, is simple. It is just practise in positioning the fibres that takes time. My first felt picture, about 9 years ago, was not great.

      Delete
  5. You make this look easy and I am excited to start my project. Thanks for the easy instructions and visual aids. I did find the post difficult to read because of the font you have chosen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anaplus3, so glad you found the post helpful and hope you have a lot of fun. Thanks for the constructive critism about the font as well. I will see if I can find a better one.

      Delete