One of the reasons I took up wet felting is because I wanted to make paintings out of wool. I thought it would be easy! Ha ha! The technique is not complicated, but things can go wrong. Wool can move around and it can migrate through other colors. I was inspired to try a seascape from a book, Felt & Fibre Art, by Val Hughes. I live by the seaside and used to paint seascapes, so why not? However, this is not one of my favorite books on felting, sorry. There really isn’t anything new in this book for me to learn. If you have never done wet felted art before, then get it as it has all the information you need to wet felt a painting and with projects. I just got bored with reading about what inspired each project and I wasn’t that inspired to try anything except for one thing. I most likely purchased it really cheaply as there really isn’t much in print on how to make paintings in wool. If you have Moy Mackay’s books, or Creating Felt Artwork, by RosiePink, and my favorite Creating Felt Pictures by Andrea Hunter, then you really don’t need much more than that.
I felt felted three separate pieces for the sand, sea and sky. These were supposed to all be nuno felted onto muslin/gauze, two of which needed to be dyed. I only had some cotton gauze in natural and used that as a base for the sand. I have plenty of natural merino roving that I bought to make paintings with, so I used some of that and some darker merino and merino with other shiny fiber in to make the sand. I also added some natural homespun yarn.
For the sea I used a base of pale blue merino batt that I split in two as I was going to also use it as the base for the sky. I don’t have any dyed cotton gauze, so I just used what I had. I added some superfine Cobalt blue merino on top of that, then some alpaca yarn and I had some Glitzy Ocean from World of Wool (which is darker blue than on the website) that I pulled out very thinly and placed over the whole piece, some blue viscose, more Glitzy and finally some silk laps to make the waves.
You cannot see how sparkly and shiny this is as the camera is not really good at picking out the sparkly bits. I am so happy with how this turned out.
For the sky I laid out the other piece of merino batt and laid out a pale blue merino on top of that. I then added a very pale blue viscose on top of that. I had a little bit of a merino mix that World of Wool no longer stock. It has several colors of blue merino mixed with silk. I like that one of the blues in the mix was cobalt, and so it tied in nicely with the sea. I wanted to have a calm sky as the other two pieces were quite busy in comparison.
You can see how shiny the silk and viscose make the sky.
All three pieces now needed to be embellished. I am very limited on nice small beads, but I found some coppery colored ones and some shells from a necklace I found in the charity shop. I added these to the sand base. I then used a few iridescent pearl beads for the sea. I was of two minds whether I should add any as I really liked this section as is. Finally, I needle felted some seagull silhouettes to the sky.
I then had to figure out how I was going to assemble the whole thing. I found an old canvas that is 12×16 inches. Although mounting on canvas is not my favorite way to display a wool painting (or any textile painting for that matter), people do it and it means that it can be hung straight on the wall. Firstly, I needed to prep the canvas as I had put a coat of orange paint on it for something else I was going to do. So I gessoed it and then when that was dry I painted the canvas in pale cobalt blue where the sea and sky would be and burnt umber mixed with white to make a sand color. I didn’t take a process photo.
Here it is all mounted onto the canvas with carpet tape. As the pieces were slightly wide, I was able to wrap them around the sides, which are narrow. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I will most likely consider making a seascape with textiles and the embellishing machine and mount that onto a canvas also as I have one 9×12 inch canvas left.
As a painter, I do prefer to paint seascapes with paint, and working on this project has inspired me to get my paints out again. Here is one I made a few years ago and which I gave to a friend. I think I might just make another one. 🙂