This cowl is a favorite of mine. Nuno felted and made with habotai silk, it has a touch-me-kind-of texture. I love the way the heavier fabric creates so much more surface dimension. It does take more effort to felt it, but every time I look back, I feel it is worth it.
This was a seamless piece, meaning I used a resist that the silk was wrapped around. The seams are covered with wool so no sewing is required! You might recall that I originally got into nuno felting because of the no-sew-allure. But alas, it led me to sewing, so the joke's on me I suppose.
I love trapping sequins in the surface of the nuno felt. Laid on top of the silk and trapped by my top layer of wool, this was a technique I first devised as a method to - gasp! avoid sewing! I first did this on a beautiful holiday poinsettia shawl with tiny red sequins. The sequins are more to decorate the back rather than the front, as they rarely show through the wool. However, with a flip of the scarf, you see the delightful back of it and the surprise of sparkle rewards. I like to have the back look just as appealing, especially on a scarf, because I know that despite all efforts, scarves will flip flop as you wear them, and with a little added effort in the design stage, the back can be beautiful too. You can even wear it reversed for a subtle color with texture and sparkle. It's a nice option to wear it with a print or something busier, when the occasion calls.
My surface design is full of wonderful autumnal colors, sparkle thread (I love that thread with baby sequins on the thread!), curly Lincoln wool locks, and Angelina sparkles. All those fun additions were trapped by gossamer layers of wool on top, and the result is little bits peeking through. It reminds me of glorious fall days where the sun is warm but bright and makes the morning dew sparkle on every fresh turned leaf. One of my favorite seasons!
The felting process totally transforms it, breathing life into and merging my fibers together so now these two very different materials are made one. It's truly miraculous, and yet so very simple. Soap. Water. Rhythmic rolling. It's then that I am alone with my thoughts and my art. It's very relaxing and rejuvenating. When I am done with this process, something beautiful is born, something transformed.
I will be honest. When I finished this, I did like it but something was not quite right. It didn't lay right on your neck and I didn't want to do what I knew I had to. So like all things, we put it away. For months. All projects do not end in artistic brilliance. I love it when they do! I feel like the heavens open and a host of angels sing the hallelujah chorus and a beam of sunlight shining down. But for the rest of those times that are slightly less glorious, I put on my thinking cap. Truly, not much of my work is done the minute I finish felting. Sometimes there are alterations and more felting to follow. Sometimes there are embellishments, like beads added, or thread painting done to add interest. Sometimes things just sit until I can think up the next path.
So I did what I had to do. I cut it. Nooooooooooo you say, as a scream of anguish is let out. Cut!?! What!?! Isn't there some other way? Some other option?
Sooner or later, we all attack things with scissors. and ack, it wasn't that bad after all. Move slow and deliberate. Remember every flaw and mistake is just a design opportunity! (She says shakily with scissors in hand!) I cut that cowl and added a twist and sewed it back together. An expert surgeon making wrong right again. It worked and that cowl was more beautiful than ever. I added a really fun pin made with... guess it.... leather from Shibori Soiree. I even used some felt to make a "feather" which I really loved, along of course with real feathers. Some dangling charms and crystals and it was complete. The pin is removable for washing, a feature very important to me. I loved that pin and definitely want to play with more of that style and fabric combination.
So my lesson to you is to do what is best for your art. You might scream a little inside, or It might scream a little at you, but it's not as scary as it seems. The true test of an artist is their ability to take things to edge even when it pushes them. That's when we grow and expand and our world broadens.
Autumn Cowl with Feathered Brooch
Nuno Felted Accessory
Habotai silk is used in this richly textured nuno felted cowl that makes a lovely accessory for brisk fall days. Dress it up with a chic leather jacket and boots or wear it with your favorite colorful jacket. It's easy to wear and beautiful with dazzling fall colors and sparkle. The feathered brooch accents delightfully and is removable for easy care. What a great seasonal piece for your accessory wardrobe!