July "Seed Pods" Blog Hop

Magical Reveal time has come again!!! :)

July's art theme was "Seed Pods" hosted by Jennifer Cameron over at Art Elements. This theme was inspiring because I love the shapes and textures created by the variety of seed pods found in nature. I think many of us are captivated by the promise that seeds and seed pods hold. The potential of something SO small having the ability to propagate new life and often grow into something immense and magnificent is just awesome!
I knew I wanted to try wet felting wool ever since Cathy shared her tutorial for the making of her gorgeous work in our May Tidal Pool challenge. I even ordered myself a Palm Washboard felting tool, after watching her tutorial, so that I would be ready to wet felt as soon as I found the time and inspiration. This seed pod theme seemed like it would lend itself really well to a felted landscape with some embroidered detailing and that would also allow me to learn some new hand embroidery stitches. BONUS!!

Although my finished piece was drawn from nature, I definitely utilized some "artistic license" when combining several varieties of plants in one field that most likely do NOT grow together in the wild. LOL ;)

My pre-existing art inspirations were these two textile art pieces and the well known and easily recognized, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

Prepared with my visual aids and concepts, I then got to break out my extensive collection of wool roving, wool batts and sheep locks. I've been stockpiling these supplies for needle felting (which I don't typically do, ahem) and that stash came in handy for my very FIRST wet felting project.

I used a cost effective plastic boot mat as my water proof work area in my living room! No specialized tool there.

I knew I wanted to emulate a sunset look for my "sky" and selected basic earth tones for the lower half, to create the base for my "Field of Seeds". My hope was that by layering the right hues and using good placement of the sheep locks for grasses and sky textures, it would all look amazing once meshed together into a wool felt base. I kept all of my parts crossed on this one!!! XXXX

With the wool strands strategically placed and underneath the mesh, I drizzled with the hot water and Castile soap mixture and began working in circles with the Palm Washboard tool to cause the wool fibers to bind together. LOTS and LOTS of circles (my arm and shoulder attest to that).

Once all of the wool strands were tight enough to not shift or pluck apart, it was rinsed, squeezed and left to dry for the next needle felting stage of details.
The foundation has been SET! Let the detailing begin!

I did add some topical strands of wool locks into the ground cover and some long horizontal strands of loose roving into the sky to bring some colors and textures back to the forefront after the flattening stage of felting. I hand felted dark brown wool puffs where the flax pods would be, tan puffs where the wild grasses would end up and needle felted the milkweed pods with the super fun wool nepps/nibs (the white wool micro-balls) inside for great texture contrast!

Since I wanted to make sure to involve a wider array of stitches in this work than I normally use in sewing, I got a little Hand Embroidery booklet that was just perfect for this project. It had great ideas and clear directions with pictures. I did some practice stitching on scrap felt and then went to work on selecting my color palette for my sunset sky. (I knew my two organizers full of embroidery floss would come in handy again someday 😁 )

My plan from the start was to put stitched swirls of coordinating floss into the ombre sunset sky to create some much needed depth and texture in the top half of the piece. This is where the Starry Night influence came into play. I wanted to be sure that the sky would counterbalance the depth and weight of all the grasses and pods going into the bottom half.

Then I stitched in the stalks on the wild grass, the flax pods and outlined the milkweed pods to give more definition.

After all of the elements were completed, I felt like it really needed a few tiny pops of color to put some hues of the sky among the grasses. My inner child told me it needed to be Indian paintbrush flowers like my sisters and I always picked as children. They hold a special place in my heart, so into the Field of Seeds they went!
PERFECT! Just the touch that it needed. LOVE it!

Now, how best to display a piece like this? I loved the idea of a shadowbox rather than a mat and frame. I decided to make my own with cedar side pieces and no glass because this feltscape makes you want to TOUCH it.

As a severe migrainer, it was a no-brainer to go with ALL natural coffee wood stain using my beloved Bustelo! That's how we Hispanic girls do it πŸ˜‰
 2 cups of espresso grounds with less than 2 cups of water yielded 12 ounces of super concentrated delicious smelling stain.
I have to say, staining this frame and making some coffee stained paper was aromatherapy of the best kind. 

I ended up doing about 3-4 coats of the coffee stain to get the depth of color I was after and then finished and sealed it with coconut oil. As my dad said, "it smells good enough to eat!".


I LOVE the color it created. It was the perfect, warm, caramel color to compliment such a rustic and organic textile art 
display. Last but not least, the feltscape was mounted into the completed shadowbox, which meant I got to use my dumbbell free weights!! SWEET! LOL πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


This is one of my favorite creations to date. 

I love the colors, textures and dimensions created by the wet felting, needle felting and hand stitching combined. 

This is "Field of Seeds".  I feel like this art form does for painting; what braille does for the written word. You have to FEEL this one to really see and appreciate it to the fullest. 

I hope you enjoyed my process and my work - and PLEASE BE SURE to check out the amazing offerings of my fellow artists in their blogs! 
Love and Light πŸ’– ~ Raven


Guest Artists:
Raven (YOU ARE HERE πŸ‘‡)
Art Elements Team: 


Comments

  1. This piece is gorgeous! Are you sure it's your first wet felting? I am in awe of the textures and embroidered pod images!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I taught myself how to make wool felt at the beginning of the month thanks to Cathy's post about her technique and a YouTube tutorial for the tool the Palm Washboard. LOL It was more elbow grease than I expected for the actual felting process but the detailing was SOOO fun I can't wait to try again when I can find the time.

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  2. WOW. Just WOW! You have blown me away this morning. I am so delighted you created this wet felted/needle felted piece for this month's challenge. I really want to touch it. Those little neps are the perfect addition for the milk weed pods and the final addition of those little Indian paintbrush flowers add so much more interest, texture & color in the background. Well done!!!

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    1. Thanks!! You are absolutely the culprit behind me choosing this technique after seeing your wet felting for the Tide Pool month so THANK YOU for getting me hooked on wet felting. I love the colors and textures so much. I want to make more already but have to keep myself on task crocheting instead...boooo!! LOL

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  3. WOW!!! your wet felting is WAY BETTER than mine!!! I loved reading this and how you stained and created the shadow box too. Just wow!!!

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    1. Aw thanks Laney but I LOVE that you thought to turn your wet felt into a sculpture once it was made! I never would have thought of that and it was so fun!!!

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  4. WOW this is so beautiful, I love everything about it, yes I want to touch it. I have been trying to get a picture frame in the right colour this week, maybe I should try staining with coffee

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    1. Thanks! I've never stained more than paper with natural methods before but this was so easy and made my apartment smell AMAZING!!! I would definitely recommend playing around with it. I love how warm the tones turned out.

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  5. I don't even know what to say except WOW just like everyone else! I love everything about your post, from the humor, to the process, to the inventiveness, and the final piece is simply amazing - I know why it's your favorite to date!

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    1. I'm so glad you like seeing the "behind the scenes". I'm always so worried my blog posts are WAY TOOOOO long and to much info overload but I am someone who LOVES seeing the process of other peoples work so I find it really hard not to share the stages. I do notice how much shorter most peoples posts are when we do this hop and it makes sense to maybe do the reveal in one post and the "making of" in a follow up or preceding post since we have so many artists to look through on reveal day. I do plan to restrain myself with the oversharing moving forward. LOL I don't want to lose people halfway through.

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  6. Love, love, LOVE! I'm another one would love to touch and feel this. What a labor of love and so worth it seeing the stunning result!!

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    1. It was SO fun to make and to see it developing as I went forward. I can't wait to have enough time to try wet felting again as soon as possible!! I don't know what yet, but probably another landscape since I'm feeling that groove. Maybe trees and mountains or something?? oh wait, I have orders to make....sigh ;)

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  7. So...I'm going to use a different word other than WOW.... how about holy smokes! This is amazing! I can't even believe you have never done wet felting, that you also taught yourself some new embroidery stitches (which is also amazing), and also whipped together your own shadowbox and stain. You are a wonder :-) Thanks for participating again this month! I can hardly wait to see what else you have in store for future challenges!

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    1. I'm loving the "holy smokes". =D Going through these blogs it''s hard for me to think of different adjectives to describe everyone's creativity and talent as well. I find myself repeating the same words and phrases, which makes them NO less true!!

      Thank YOU for the great theme choice!!! I really love how these themed challenges inspire me to try new techniques that I've always found intriguing but never made the time to learn for myself. These challenges are JUST the excuse I need to take some new art methods off of my "Learn to Do" bucket list. LOL I had so much fun with this one and can't wait to have enough time to try another sometime soon!

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  8. Wow! I can see why this is one of your favorite projects so far. It is just stunning and the fact that you made the frame for it adds to it's uniqueness. The colors and design are beautiful. I appreciate your including photos of the steps. Well done!

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    1. Thank you! I love that people enjoy seeing the process behind the project as much as I do! The frame was a last minute addition but I had to figure out a good way to display it once I got it made. LOL Hadn't thought that far ahead initially, just got swept away with wool and thread!

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  9. This is super-gorgeous! I can see how much effort it took, and every minute spent on this project was worth it! The colors are awesome, and the texture is so enticing.

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    1. Thanks Anita! The color combination might be my favorite part. I do love the sunset sky colors SO much :D

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  10. This is amazing! I so love it! Never thought of using Bustelo in Art!

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    1. LOL Me either unless it was to fuel the body to operate without sleep for the sake of the art!! It was really good aromatherapy in my apartment for 3 or 4 days too! I dried out the massive amount of used grounds in my oven to save for future paper staining....it was just too much Bustelo to just throw away after one extraction. hee hee

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  11. I also wanted to start with wow! but I will go with Gosh! now!
    Gosh! What a gorgeous piece of art! You have a wonderful eye for colours, shapes, texture, and dimensions! I would love to see this piece in reality! :)

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    1. Bonus points for selecting a new and original exclamation and much gratitude for your feedback. I do wish everybody could touch it when they look at it because it ended up being a much more three-dimensional peace then it could’ve been. Creating the layers of texture really pushed my creativity to be thinking ahead or setting up a specific base for things to come. I really enjoyed this months self-taught workshop!

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  12. Oh my gosh! I love the colours, the texture, the frame and the wonderful detail of all the embroidery! Just a stunning piece of art!

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    1. Thanks so much!! It was so fun and rewarding to get back into some hand embroidery. I’ve mainly done only Crosstitch and outline work in the past so it was fun to learn some stitches!

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  13. This piece is just fabulous! So full of colour and texture and such variety of techniques that I can't believe you're new too. I love it!

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    1. Thanks Lesley. I think one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about these challenges, besides having the structure of a theme, is getting the excuse to teach myself new skills. I love to learn new techniques and use new mediums.

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  14. I will add my "wow!" to the chorus here. And I think that a photo of this should be in the dictionary next to the definition of "fiber art" because it exemplifies so many techniques and is truly a work of art. And I love how you stained the frame. I may try that for some blah frames I have.

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    1. Well you sure know how to make a girls day! Thank you for such complementary feedback and I’m so glad that people have enjoyed this piece as much as I did making it. You should definitely try out the coffee stain if you haven’t already. There is another version of natural stain using steel wool and vinegar that darkens up much faster but it is more of a gray black color and I was really shooting for the honey tones of the coffee.

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  15. Your piece is amazing and inspiring. I love the colors. You make me want to try out felting!

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    1. That is exactly how I felt back when I saw Cathy’s felting tutorial! I take that is quite a compliment. Thank you

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  16. I dont know where to start - wait let me get my coffee! Brilliant and delicious. But hang on - you did ALL THAT AMAZING CREATING and still made your own frame? Sweet heaven, woman! Amazing. I have to say - I loved it even before you started hand stitching. The nepps are perfection. All in all - I love it - I am awed. SO GLAD you joined us!

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    1. Thank you so much! I definitely didn’t plan to do woodworking as part of this project. πŸ˜†
      I looked at some shadow boxes to purchase but I really didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend and none of them were really the right shade of stain or wood. I definitely wanted something warmer.
      I had no idea what those little nepps were for when I got them as part of an assorted wool collection but I was so glad I had them by the end of this project! I’m thrilled you guys have these all medium challenges. I look forward to each one!!! ❤️

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  17. I'll go with Magnifique! That's French for .. well, same as the English word. Luv the color combos, stitching, everything! Being a very tactile individual, I just wanna feel it and caress my cheek with it :)) . I LOVE the swirls, adds a whimsical interest to anything and definitely one of my fave shapes. I do have a couple of questions not about your wet felted piece of art tho. 1. What program do you use for your photo collages? 2. What's your process for your watermark? 3. Is Bustelo an instant espresso? You can pm me if you wish ... gogichappell@gmail.com.

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    1. LOL. 1. PicMonkey.com because it’s very inexpensive.
      2. I got someone to design my logo and a watermark png so I can just add it and resize it for eqch image when I edit.
      3. Bustelo is not instant but drip or espresso machine. 😊

      Thanks for your interest! I love swirls as a design element as well and I can definitely relate with wanting to rub against the cheek. Lol. I find myself doing that with swanky yarn ALL time. πŸ˜πŸ˜‰

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  18. Oh My Goodness! I am really in love with your work. It makes me want to bring my wool stash to your place and have a play date! I love your whole process - the inspirations, the working it out, adding details and then the coffee stain - Just Awesome!!! :)

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    1. Oh I wish you could come bring wool for a play date!! I was thinking this might be a technique that would be fun to do with other people!!! I don't belong to any groups or circles LOL but crafting with fellow artists would be SO FUN!!! I am so glad you enjoyed my "behind the scenes". I always worry that I make my posts WAAAAY too long. Hehheh. I get carried away.

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  19. Absolutely gorgeous!! I loved following your process and the colors are just perfect!

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    1. Thank you so much Laura!! I'm so relieved people enjoy the process as much as the finished piece. :)

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  20. I saw your work on the AJE Insta page and found it to be gorgeous. Now reading about your methods makes it even more interesting. Thanks for sharing such a thorough walk through of your process

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    1. Aaawww thank you! I'm glad you appreciate my over kill sharing and in depth making of blurbing. I love seeing how things are made so I tend to do the same what I create something myself. :)

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  21. What an amazing piece of art! I loved reading about your process, and I'm definitely going to put coffee stain on my list of things to try!

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    1. You absolutely SHOULD!! It made my apartment smell amazing for like 3 days and turned out better than anticipated for being completely non chemical reaction! :)

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  22. Your piece is just amazing!! I love how you walked us through your whole process, letting us see how you got to your fabulous final piece! So much lovely color and texture here. Swoon!!

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    1. Thanks so much. I do LOVE how the colors turned out for the sky especially. I love the hues in a great sunset and the wool really captured that so well!! I love that you also use the term "swoon". LOL me too ;)

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  23. This is an absolutely wonderful work of art! I can stare at that landscape for hours, I love all the tiny details you added. And that wonderful handmade frame is simply amazing. Just beautiful, now I want to try wet felting too! ♥

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