Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2008 Weekly Mixed Media Project

The picture above is my sixth Weekly Mixed Media piece this year.

Last week I used sandwiched multiple pieces of colored yarn between a piece of black wool felted fabric and a piece of white wool felted fabric. After I finished it, I was curious if the result would be different if I used fleece instead of the felted fabric, so this week I went about the same process, substituting fleece for the felted fabric.

Knowing that the fleece is weaker than the fabric, I decided to add a layer of a loose knitted netting/fabric, to help hold it together, and to add some texture to the finished piece. The picture above shows how I paired the black and white fleece with pieces of black and white knitted netting/fabric.

I laid pieces of colored yarn on top of the white fleece and black knitted netting/fabric......

... and placed the black fleece and white knitted netting/fabric on top, creating a sandwich.

Then I used my needle punch machine and "felted" half of the sandwich white side up, and half black side up. The picture above is the result, from both sides, of the first pass, punching it in straight lines in one direction. I then repeated this step turning it 90 degrees from the first pass.

Then I only felted it with the white side on top. I concentrated on some areas more, so that the knitted netting/fabric started to show through.

After the needle punching was complete, I washed the whole thing with hot water and dish soap to shrink it so it would become more dense. After it dried, I sewed black lines that followed the different colors of yarn, to emphasize the colors. Then I used a template to choose the centering of the design, and I cut it down to the 6" x 6" size.

Below is the back side or the finished piece. You'll see from the upper left side of this picture that a section of the white knitted netting/fabric got stuck and felted on the back side in one corner. I didn't notice that until I flipped it over to photograph it, and decided not to try pulling it apart since it didn't matter. The back sides always get felty-er and fuzzier and I like the the other side better for my own exploration (though I do document both sides).

What I learned from doing this process a second time, using fleece instead of wool felt, is that the fleece can be manipulated more as felted, so I could see the colored yarn after going repeated punching from the top. When I tried the same thing with the wool felt last week, I could barely see the yarn at all. That's why I cut last week's piece up last, and rearranged it so that the extra yarn was showing. I'm really glad that I tried this both ways.

You can see my 2008 weekly mixed media work (so far) on my website, and read about my process/progress here on my blog.