It feels so good to be starting to experiment with something I have been thinking about for a very long time -- landscapes in felt. It's funny how ideas can stew for a long time, and then all of a sudden, they're ready to pop and I explode into action. I go through cycles like this, where I am not actively creating, but mulling ideas as I drift off to sleep at night. Then something randomly piques my interest (like an inspiring picture or a conversation), and all of a sudden I'll start a new project. Then I become an obsessed insomniac, unable to stop thinking about the project and the next time I'll be able to work on it. Sort of sounds like a scary drug addiction, now that I think about it... I wonder if there are similar chemicals being released in my brain? Guess I'd rather be addicted to art than anything else.
In this particular case, the trigger for starting a new project was a photograph of a gooseneck barnacle I saw on an old nature calendar -- I was intrigued by the colors, patterns and textures of this amazing creature, and started to envision how I would recreate it in felt. It's a bit of a roundabout chain of thoughts that lead me to felt landscapes instead of barnacles, and that's a topic for another day (in the mean time, you should Google gooseneck barnacles if you've never seen one - amazing!). I do intend to work on a gooseneck barnacle project, but that idea is still incubating a little more.
Anyhow, I've been working on some felt landscapes on days I'm not working at my real job and my little one is napping. I figured out the other day that this probably affords me about 4 hours a week to work on artistic endeavors, and although that's less than I'd like, I'm actually kind of impressed with how much I accomplish in that time. I think part of the reason is I spend a lot of time thinking before the actual doing. So when the opportunity arises to work on a project, I know exactly what I want to do.
So, here are some photos of works in progress. These aren't finished pieces, and since this is a new format for me (a smaller wall hanging rather than a big thick rug), I'm experimenting with different techniques.
Laying out the fibers to gauge color combinations (decided against a dark sky):
A mountain landscape taking shape, loosely based on Camel's Hump (or at least the Camel's Hump in my mind - the view from the north, of course):
Adding some foothills and firming things up a bit:
And made smooth with a final wet felting:
I'm thinking that I may add some texture to this with some hand stitching, but am not certain what style I'll use, so am giving it time to stew for a while. I have a second felt landscape in the works where I am experimenting with various embroidery and stitching, and this will probably influence how I approach the Hump piece.
Starting to stitch:
A little more progress on the stitching:
It's difficult to see in the photos, but I like how the stitching makes the felt puff up and add some dimension to the piece. My plan is to stitch more heavily in detail in the foreground, and have less density in stitching towards the background. I think for the sky I will use very small stitches with a single strand of thread and lines emanating from the sun. I'm excited to see how it turns out!