Taking Inspiration From Others and Family Collaborations

24x30 Wool, joomchi paper and silk framed art with a repousse bronze bird relief in the center.

My daughter is an incredible artist. She focuses mainly on digital animation (instagram) most days but every once in a while, she brings me something she created in a different genre. A few weeks ago she brought me a bird relief that she had made using the repousse technique and I asked her if she would mind if I incorporated it into a piece of felt art.

I started playing around with design options for incorporating the relief and thought I would extend the branches and then do a sort of webbed design from the main trunks.

Around this same time, I took the online version of Eva Camacho-Sanchez’s Beyond Felting: Wool+Paper+Silk workshop and found some fantastic mulberry paper from Himal Design that had big teak leaves fused into the mulberry paper in a orangey-bronze color that I decided would make a striking backdrop.

Big Teak Leaf mulberry paper

I decided to merge the 2 concepts together and added pieces of the leaf paper onto a bed of cream merino wool, I then laid out branches using merino wool, tussah silk and curly wool in shades of tan and copper. I totally forgot to take any photos before I started felting but did manage to snap one before I finished all of the embellishing. I was getting quite a bit of dye run off as I was felting and was afraid that the piece would end up one giant orange blob but it didn’t bleed into the wool too much and mostly just leached some of the color from the leaves. I was very happy with that result and I love that you can still see the teak leaf structure from the paper. Once the felting was complete, I did some free motion embroidery and hand embroidery to add in additional textures and complete the partial leaves and branches from the metal so the transition between metal and felt made sense.

I thought about multiple options for matting and was trying to decide between a traditional brown mat board or some cotton fabric that I found that had brown and copper leaves on it. I decided the leaves were too busy and would detract from the art and while I was putting the fabric away, saw that the store had a spool of brown leather ribbon. This ended up being perfect – it was the perfect shade of brown to complement the brown of the metal relief and had a little more texture and depth than the standard mat would have.

This is the final product, what do you think?

I love learning new techniques and incorporating them into my art. I have some other paper and wool combos in the works that I will post pictures on soon.

I also especially loved having the opportunity to take inspiration from and build on art from my daughter and had the opportunity to show my mother, a creative genius in her own right, some of my in-flight pieces and get ideas from her on how to finish them while celebrating Easter. I suspect there are many others out there that also have talented blood lines and I would love to hear and see how you have collaborated and learned together!

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