Wave or Whale?

Those of you that follow me know that I am obsessed with live edge slabs. I often go over to my most favorite shop Kettle Moraine Hardwoods and stare at the slabs, turning them and flipping them over to see what images each piece inspires.

Photo showing one wall of live edge wood slab options at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods in Wisconsin where I get inspired and shop for wood slabs for my art pieces #materials #liveedge
One wall at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods – #materials

On this particular trip, I found a lovely piece of elm that I thought looked like the crashing wave of the ocean.

Elm live edge wood slab with movement in its rings that looks like a wave crashing. #liveedge
Elm live edge slab inspiration piece

I had my husband cut the piece in half using his new track saw – a future post will contain details about how he and I designed and built my art fair display walls. (also using his new track saw plus God knows how many 1000s of dollars of other fancy woodworking tools that I have now apparently tacitly approved the purchase of by employing him in the build!)

I then started laying out layers of wool and silk fibers on top of a silk chiffon scarf to mimic the movement of the wood, followed by joomchi paper ropes, scrap art yarn from @purabellanatura and more layers of wool and silk fibers.

Then I moved onto the rolling and fulling – in this case concentrating on shrinking the wool more vertically than horizontally so I could keep the movement of the felt aligned with the wood. Once the piece was dry, I went back and added free motion embroidery in wavy lines to add a final bit of texture.

Close up shot of wet felted navy, gray, teal, sky blue, green and cream colored wave art with free motion embroidered wavy lines in light blue thread added for texture
Free motion embroidered wavy lines added for texture

Once the felt was complete, I had to decide how to mount/mat it – thank you to Ruth Lane at Felting and Fiber Studio for turning me on to using fabric for matting felt art pieces! I already had some scrap pieces of blue silk velvet which I thought would be perfect, the deep color of the velvet playing off the dark live edge of the elm.

Wet felted blue and cream colored merino wool, tussah silk and joomchi paper felt lined up next to elm live edge wood slab lined up next to deep blue silk velvet cut to become the mat for felt piece
Laying out the silk velvet mat to match the elm slab

This is a large and thick piece so dipped into the husband helper well once again and had him make me a 1.5″ deep 52×13.5″ frame out of poplar that I painted black and then mounted both the felt and wood slab inside. As with a majority of my wood and wool pieces, I framed it with an open back. I do this because I think it adds just enough negative space to highlight the 3D structures and it exercises my engineering brain by making me think about how to build appropriate hidden cantilevers to support the heavy wood within the frame.

Once I had it fully assembled and took photos of my wool and wood wave, my mother pointed out that she saw a whale – which I can totally see now too! I love it when my art conjures different images for different people and the fact that in this case it works both with the theme and with the alliteration (My Wool and Wood Whale Wave) makes me doubly happy.

Merino wool, silk and paper wet felted art piece mounted to blue silk velvet and hung in a mirror image to a piece of live edge elm wood that looks like an ocean wave and a whale.  Both pieces are mounted inside a custom extra deep open backed 52x13.5" poplar frame painted black.  #knotheaddesignstudio
Wool and Wood Whale Wave?

This has ended up being my most favorite piece to date – not going to lie, it will hurt a little bit when this one sells.

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