I needed to get some post Christmas/February blues inspiration to get me back into my studio. Whilst browsing the internet I found my favourite seller of hand cut and polished cabochon stones was exhibiting in Colchester so off I went to see them.
After many a wrong sat nav turn I arrived and ended up spending 3 hours gazing at the most beautiful hand cut rare stones from around the world.
Before I purchase a stone I have to be inspired by its shape and colour and 'see' a design in my head - hence the 3 hours at the exhibition!
So here are a few of the stones I purchased.
3 beautiful Natural Kingman Turquoise stones. To me these just say Greek sea with white soft sand and pebbles on the beach.
Ruby in Fuchsite - which is an amazing pale green stone with ruby crystals in it. This has to be a big statement piece .
The next 'stone' is called Fordite. This fascinates me as it is from years and years of a build up of compacted motor paint from the Ford plant in Detroit, America. The resulting beautifully cut stone shows layers of black, silver, white with fine red lines of paint. It's cut in a lovely droplet shape which I think I will echo in silver.
Another is Rainbow Calsilica which is a stone with controversy attached. It is a new material 'mined' from Mexico. Some people say it is man made but does that matter? The colours are stunning and I plan to set it off with a string of black Lava stone beads, keeping the setting very simple so as not to distract from the beauty of the vibrant colours.
I will aim to make all these stones into jewellery and show you the finished pieces, I now feel very motivated to get going - at last!!
So this was a little task I set myself last year; to incorporate Nuno Felting into my weaving and create a combination of textures which would be both tactile and visually pleasing. The plan - to fuse the weight and heft of a chunky hand spun weave (alpaca of course) with the delicate wisp of alpaca fibre felted into silk.
The inspiration for this piece were the beautiful reeds that swathe the Norfolk broads like a curtain, whilst subtly filtering sunlight across the water. This stunning photograph of Burnt Fen Broad, taken by Two Rivers Artist, James Arthur, completely catches this feeling.
The weave would be the reeds, filtered and diffused by a fine covering of alpaca fibre embedded into translucent silk gauze.
Attaching this gossamer fabric to the weave proved interesting, I needed to keep the woven part of the piece dry, as I only wanted the silk and alpaca fibre to felt - not the woven piece. As you can see, some of the weft strands have been left loose to portray the reeds, whilst also helping to catch the wisps of raw alpaca fibre as they embed into the silk gauze.
Nuno felting alpaca fibre with silk creates the most wonderful light, translucent material, The fabric is surprisingly strong for something that looks and feels so delicate and looks fantastic worn as a scarf or as with this project made to hang on a wall or in front of a window to decorate a room.
The beautiful shawls below are made by some of my students last year. If you are interested in learning how to Nuno felt find out more here.
Eight diverse artists living and working between the rivers Ant and Bure.