How I make my textile pictures
Here is a short video showing the stages of making 'Autumn Reflections'
Each picture is unique, being individually hand crafted using traditional felting techniques. Luxury natural fibres are used, including merino wool and silks, as well as angelina fibres, bamboo tops and mulberry silk noil.
The initial process involves the laying out of the fibres. A background base layer of white is used and then colours built up thinly and slowly onto this, much as I used to lay down oil paint when doing a traditional painting. I mix colours using a process known as carding, basically combing the fibres between a pair of carders, rather like hair brushing!
Laying out stage
Once I am happy with the composition of my picture, I move on to felting it. This process matts the fibres together to form a dense and stable fabric. Hot water, soap and lots of rubbing and rolling achieves this.
Wet felting process
Once dry I will use needle felting to add definition and finer detail. Felting needles have barbs which catch on the fibres to help them bind together, so need to be used with care to prevent accidently stabbing yourself!
To add further definition and detail to my picture I will use free machine stitching. Working with my machine feed dogs lowered and presser foot removed allows the felt to move around freely around underneath the needle, rather like drawing with a sewing machine! Different effects can be achieved with using various types of threads.
Hand stitching is the final part of the process, used to add further details or strengthen highlights and shadows to add more depth to the picture.
Take a look at my gallery 'Work in Process' for pictures showing some of the stages of recent pictures I have created.