I was reading a post by Karen over on The Felting and Fiber Studio about a felt album cover she’s been making, where she keeps changing the design and unpicking the embroidery because she doesn’t like it. I know how she feels.
Before Christmas I made several manly scarves in various colour combinations, and they were very popular.
So I thought it was time to try some variations on the theme – but they haven’t worked out.
The first variation was using a preprinted silk scarf, using undyed merino. I didn’t like the result at all – the shapes and the colours just didn’t work together:
Then I tried using muslin with a more open weave. This was a bit tricky to work with, especially when it was wet, as it kept clinging to itself and was difficult to keep flat in one layer. Also, I had a problem with the wool, as the colour started leaching out when I wet it. You can see a bluish tinge where the muslin has taken up the colour on the left-hand side of the photo below:
(When I contacted the supplier about this, they said it was possible that an over dye had been used on it and that a small amount of excess was washing out. Has anyone else experienced this? It’s never happened to me before.)
The much more open weave of this muslin meant that with a bit of careful effort I could squeeze the plastic resists out through the muslin without cutting it (though it did leave a bit of a hole in some cases). I rather like the more subtle spot effect; up close it looks quite cellular.
However, because the muslin is so loose I think it would catch on things quite easily and become very irritating.
So I decided that maybe it was time to move on and try something else. Instead of changing materials, I changed the shape of the resist. Although I originally intended it to look like tiger stripes, I didn’t allow enough for the muslin to shrink, and the nuno areas are smaller than I planned, relative to the stripes. But in these colours it reminds me of the opening credits of The Simpsons – so welcome to my Clouds range!
When things don’t work out, it can be a chance to review your technique or rethink your design. But sometimes it may just give you a gentle nudge in a completely different direction. Some of my most interesting work has resulted from pieces that didn’t work out as planned – and in textiles that seems to happen more often than not!
I went to a talk by Grayson Perry at the British Museum just before Christmas, where he said it can be heartbreaking to spend a week on a piece that just doesn’t work. So it happens to everyone!