Sunday, June 20, 2010
Felting + Dying + Book Making = FUN!!!!
Just returned from a 3-day workshop taught by Chad Alice Hagen... Had a great time learning about felt and how to dye it using resist methods. Wanted to make more (many more) pieces of dyed felt to use in my various beading and collage projects. But after a day of dying, we moved on to book making, which (of course) was also way fun even though much of it was not new to me.
The reason I signed up for the class is because of the luscious, gorgeous, fantastically beautiful pieces of resist-dyed felt made by Christi C. (Sweetpea Path), two of which I've used for Bead Journal Project pieces (here and here).
I LOVE, LOVE the way Chad embellishes bits of dyed felt and creates books and pins with them. Below are a few of her pins... Notice the stitching details and bead embellishments, carefully chosen to enhance the dyed designs on the felt.
Some of her pins were for sale... I couldn't resist (ha! pun intended)... bought the one on the top left in the second picture. Difficult choice... I liked them all!
Below is one of her little Coptic-bound books... Ooooh, again, the stitching and beading makes it extra specially precious, don't you think?! Knowing we would be making one too, I just about couldn't contain myself!
The first day we felted two large "sheets" of wool, needle-punched, pre-felt bats. Imagine the din as twelve of us literally THREW wads of wet felt onto our tables! When the wool was felted, we cut it into pieces and started up the dye pots (4 baths, 3 color choices each bath).
For each dye bath, we clamped various things on our felt pieces (hair clips, paper clips, metal parts, Popsicle sticks, clothes pins, etc. etc. etc.) and then tossed the pieces into the dye pot. After their 45-minute dye bath when the clips, etc. were removed, the piece would be the dyed color except where the clips were pressing on the wool and resisting the dye. Here are the 11 pieces I dyed that first day.
Above, Chad is giving some feed back to students about their felt pieces. I'm a tad, just a tad, disappointed in my results. Maybe some of them look a little too much like 60s tie-dyed t-shirts for my taste. I really wanted to spend a second, less rushed, day... further experimenting with this method. However, we moved on.
Day-two, we chose one of our larger pieces of felt and constructed a small, hand-bound, wrap-cover journal. Here's mine... the felt, the bound spine and the finished book...
At the end of day-two, we selected felt from our stash to make an embellished mini-book with Coptic binding, like the one Chad made pictured above. That evening our home work was to complete the thread embroidery and beading on both the front and back covers of our books. Here is the felt I chose.
Two other students joined my roommate and me in our room... beading, stitching and talking until well past midnight. That was the most fun of the whole workshop for me!
Below are my two embellished covers ready to bind into a book.
Below are all the embellished, felt cover-pieces made by the students in our class.
Below are pictures of my book, which I finished on the late ferry home just last evening!
Notice that the covers have a hand-stitched edging. We did this with the same waxed linen cord that we used for binding both books. This took longer than any of the other steps and was quite difficult. None of the students finished their edging or had time to bind their books in class. Fortunately, we received good handouts with excellent illustrations which I was able to follow for the binding.
I love constructing hand-made books!!!! And I love working with hand-dyed wool felt. I'm not so sure I love the dying process, especially the chemicals, the need to carefully monitor time, temperature, water-acidity, etc. I don't think I'll be buying any dye... but I would happily join a dye party at the studio of one of the other students!