Finishing the Tree

I worked on the umbrella tree for the last two days and it’s about finished. I need to decide if it needs a few more details such as moss and what I’m doing on the very top of the umbrella. I got the poem stitched to the trunk and the nuno felt is stitched down to the umbrella ribs. 

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI placed the poem on the trunk and pinned it in place. Then I stitched it on by hand. This took a while. 

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere you can see it stitched down. It definitely adds some texture and looks vaguely like writing but I don’t think most people would see that unless you told them.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThese photos are not very good but I think you can see what the trunk looks like with the stitching on it. 

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here is the umbrella covering stitched on. Can you see at the very top of the photo that there is a little silver umbrella top? I am trying to decide if I want to have that on the top of the tree or not. It reminds you that it is an umbrella. But I can’t decide. What do you think? I am going to work on the last few details and then get some decent photos taken. I need good photos to send in for the judging process of the exhibition. But I’ll post a good photo here so you can see how it turns out.







A Little More Groundwork

I have been continuing to work on my Shelter exhibition umbrella tree. I finished the ground and the roots. Most of the ground was fairly flat so I wanted to add a bit more dimension. I thought about using raw wool to pad underneath but I was being stingy and didn’t want to use it all up. So instead, I used some really soft wool sweaters that I had originally gotten at the thrift store to make wool flower pins. They were too soft for that but would be perfect to pad underneath the ground felt.

tree paddingIn this photo, you can see the rolled up pieces of sweater on the bottom of the felt. I just rolled it up and needle felted a little to hold the shape. Then I needled the ground felt down to the sweater pieces.

gopher hole paddingHere you can see a little round bump I made. Can you guess what it’s for?

padded rockHere you can see how the surface now has more lumps and bumps to represent rocks etc. I then glued the ground felt down to hold it in place on the wood base.

gopher holeThe round bump turned into a critter hole. There was already a hole in the felt so I decided that the ground critters might need a little shelter too!

ground and roots completedHere, you can see what the ground looks like from above. I worked more on the roots as well, tacking them down and adding some texture with the felting needle.

close up rocks and rootsI really love how the roots came out. They look quite realistic in with the rocks and ground felt. I haven’t decided if I should add more details such as moss or just leave it. I don’t want to overwork it or make it “cutesy”. So there won’t be an animal popping its head out of the hole.

stitched poem on soluble fabric

Next, I wanted to add more texture to the tree trunk and I wanted to incorporate the tree poem inspiration into the piece. You can read the poem on my recent post at the Felting and Fiber Studio.  I used soluble fabric, put it into a hoop and stitched the poem in dark brown thread. I only messed up one word but as you’ll see in a minute, it didn’t really matter.

poem lines before dissolvingNext I cut all the lines of the poem apart and soaked them in water.

stitched poem dryingAnd this is the result. Stitching that vaguely looks like writing but you can’t really read it. Perfect for adding texture to my tree trunk. Now I just have to attach the lines of poetry. I will most likely stitch them on but I haven’t tried it yet. I could always glue them but I thought stitching would hold better.

Dennis and I did get started building the yurt frame. There will be a post tomorrow on the Felting and Fiber Studio if you’d like to see how the yurt is progressing. I’m off to LaConner, Washington next week for Level 1 Color Studies class at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts. I’m looking forward to it, I love being able to spend 5 full days immersed in creativity.



Umbrella Felting

Hmmm… What does umbrella felting conjure in your mind? A new technique using an umbrella? A bunch of beach umbrellas at a felting party? For those of you wondering what I’m making for the Shelter Exhibition, I think this post will give it away.

Umbrella with BaseThis is where I started today. I had already removed the fabric from the umbrella and my husband fabricated the stand. He also painted it brown. Have you ever tried to spray paint the ribs of an umbrella? Not the easiest thing to do. So I was ready to start my umbrella felting.

First layer of woolI started with some tan wool that I rarely use to add a bit of bulk to the trunk. I wrapped it all around the umbrella handle first. I needle felted the wool in a few places so it would hold.

Wetting Down First LayerThen I wet down the wool and started rubbing away. This was a bit messy and water was going all over the place, dripping down my arms and all over the floor. But I persevered.

Adding Locks


Next I added some dark brown Romney locks in hopes of adding texture to the final layer.  As it turns out, I could have skipped this step as it didn’t really show through the final layer of wool at all.

Adding Final Layer


Then I added a batt of mixed Corriedale and Moorit wool, wet it down and rubbed away. The color is perfect but I really had hoped you would see the darker wool coming through in spots. I will be adding more texture to the felt but that will happen later.

Trunk FeltedHere it is after the trunk was finished. You can see that it shrunk quite a bit. There is about a 2″ gap now at the bottom. I’ll fix that when I add the roots and what ever is going to go on the base. I haven’t quite decided on that yet.

Adding Wool to BranchesNext I started wrapping brown wool around the ribs of the umbrella. Again, I used the felting needle to hold things in place as needed. The first one I did was kind of painful but then I got the hang of the wrapping and covering all those angles at the top.

Beginning to Felt BranchesMy husband came home at this point and said “Oh that looks like a spider.” So then I had this idea of taking the top part of the umbrella off of the handle and making umbrella spiders. Wouldn’t that be cool? But no, I am working on “Shelter” not spiders. So I started felting the wool around the ribs. I did the first one on the table but holding my arms up in the air that way was very tiring. So I put the whole thing on the floor and that worked great with me sitting in a chair and rubbing all those “limbs”.

Felting CompletedAnd here is the felted umbrella tree. I thought it would take a really long time to finish the limbs of the tree but it went fairly quickly. They aren’t fulled completely because I didn’t want the wool to shrink so much that the ends would poke out. It’s not meant to be functional so it didn’t need to be shrunk down all the way.

Nuno Felt on TopSo for those of you that were wondering how the green nuno felt would be used, I bet you’ve already guessed. In the photo above, I just have the green pieces draped over the umbrella frame. I will be cutting these up and sewing them back together to fit over the umbrella. This is just to give you an idea of how it will look.

Under the ShelterAnd I love this view from the inside, under the shelter of the umbrella tree.  Lots more work to do yet but I’m happy with it so far. If you’re interested in entering a piece for the exhibition, take a look at the Call for Entries on the Tangled website.










And Then There Were Two

I am continuing to work on my exhibition piece that I started a couple of weeks ago. I made the second piece of nuno felt yesterday. I hope this will be enough for what I need but I may need to make one more piece that is this size.

Second Nuno Felt LayoutThis is the lay out of the second piece. It looks just like the first!

Two Completed Nuno FeltsAnd here are the two completed pieces together. I am happy that they look similar because the next step is to cut each of them up into four triangles and then sew them together. With this much texture, the stitching the piece together might turn out to be very interesting. I wrote a post on the Felting and Fiber Studio site about the exhibition. If you didn’t see it, go check it out. It’s a call for entries for an exhibition and I’d love for any fiber artist that’s out there to submit an entry.  See the details here