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Piecing Silk

One of the joys of a feltmaking practice is the many directions you can go and get absorbed for months, or much longer. As an artist, I have always been an assembler of images. This explains the large role fiber collage plays in my design work. I just love collage, and it is really fun to do it in felt. The way felt is made lends itself to assemble generations of pieces, layer them, build a visual narrative.

Early on I learned ways to piece silk, mostly with the goal to economize. I soon realized I enjoyed it. Wool is kind of a glue. Now, however, I am gathering smaller and smaller pieces, and more of them. I will always want to use even very small cut outs of my hand painted silk. It is becoming a thing.

In beginning a project, I select the pieces of thin silk or cotton I want to work with. Working on a big table, I connect them with a dry, herringbone layout of superfine merino wool roving, 16-19 microns. Often I leave some of the silk bare. As I wet and compress and begin working with the layout, it is fiddly and fussy to deal with the fragility of my surface. This is particularly true as I add elements, create visual connections, and surprise myself with color decisions. And true as I turn the work over to design on the back side. The fragility slows me down a lot, but in fact, the deliberative hand work at this stage is where I have the most fun, forget about time, and begin to experience magic before my eyes.

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