Monday, 28 March 2016

Starting life drawing and felting

Well, the two are obviously not directly linked: life drawing is a way for me to learn to look properly, get proportions right and to do something art related that isn't directly textile related. Felting is at the moment at the sampling stage to understand how different wools work.

First the life drawing: I did some as an absolute beginner in 1990 and have done nothing like that since so am still a beginner. This means that I am pretty terrified at the prospect of trying to draw the body, getting things wrong and so on. And of course my first drawings in the first class were wonky, out of proportion and not confident at all. The tutor was very helpful and she suggested ways of looking and marking up elements of the body to enable an appropriate set of reference points to get the drawing straight. 

Here's an embarrasingly wonky pose just to give you an idea of how un-confident I am, it is drawn with pencil, so the lines are a bit feint:

The very last drawing was the hardest. For some reason I got the worst possible position - an extremely foreshortened perspective with the model lying with the crown of her head towards me and her right shoulder uppermost. Needless to say I had no idea how to get that shoulder right, and the tutor adjusted things a bit for me. However I am happy enough with the result to show it here,although it is obviously a weak drawign made by a learner. The legs and the twisted body bits of her lower section are mine.

And now to the felt. I am pretty happy with the set-up in my studio, the table is big enough to take a large piece of fabric and wool and I have space for moving along the length of the table. So I laid out some pure white wool on a loosely woven wool fabric with a bit of colour to create interest and a bit of very hairy wool in places to create texture. But oh dear, the white wool has clearly been treated and doesn't felt and the creamy hairy wool is heavy on lanolin and so felting has been inconsistent with only the coloured merino properly taking. A lot of the wool has lifted and I need to remedy this first stab - and that on a very large 'sample'!

This picture is deceiving - it suggests the felting is working, but I am going to have to change the whole thing radically to get the wool to catch the base fabric. You can see I have been using a plastic holder to aid the felting. Someone advised me that the plastic holders that meats come in from the supermarket are useful for this and it is. You can keep your hands soap-and-water free during the felting which is useful if you, like me, easily get dry hands and split skin from the soap. Well, it is probably better that I add wool to the unfinished peice, the thing is a bit thin and I would like a bit of substance to it. More pictures to follow when it has been finished.

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