Two of the most creative words in the English language—and least when it comes to fiber art—have to be, "What if?"
Today's "What if?" idea is about using paper for needle felting fabric art, courtesy of Rebekah Meier. When I saw Rebekah's exquisite needle-felted fiber collages made from painted and felted papers (along with habotai silk and cheesecloth), I had to share her process with you.
|Fiber collage made from needle-felted papers and silk, by Rebekah Meier.
Rebekah's mixed-media fabric collages are the result of a lot of experimentation and what-iffing, she writes in the November/December issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.
She begins by coloring habotai silk, 1-ply paper towels, printed napkins, cheesecloth, and batting with lightweight diluted paint, such as Dye-na-Flow® by Jacquard. (It's important to use a kind of paint that won't change the hand of your fibers so the felting needles can easily pierce them.)
When the fibers are dry, she uses her needle-felting machine to apply the layers of her piece.
1. Cut or tear the paper towels and napkins to the preferred size.
2. Stamp designs onto the napkins and paper towels, if desired.
3. Arrange the paper pieces onto a piece of acrylic felt with some open areas of felt in between the papers.
4. Cut the silk 1" larger than the felt piece (approximately 10" x 13"). Lay the silk over the felt with the paper, and carefully pin through all layers (silk, paper, and felt).
5. Starting in the middle of the pinned stack, machine felt through the silk, trapping the papers between the felt and the silk. Be careful to remove the pins as you go along.
|Painted paper towels and batting.
|Decorative napkins, fibers, and
printed images on Extravorganza(TM) can be used in needle-felted fabric art.
6. Pull apart the pieces of the cheesecloth and needle felt some pieces onto the stack. If you are using batting, with or without paint, needle felt the batting onto the stack now.
7. Continue to build up layers as desired. Add lace, used tea bags, or loose fibers, if you like.
8. When you have finished layering, add hand embroidery, straight stitching, and free-motion stitching to add texture and design elements.
As you can see, you can "what if?" your way to your own unique piece of paper and fabric art with this method. Experiment with your own add-ins. Just be sure whatever you use is soft enough for the needle-felting needles to go through without breaking.
Like art quilters, mixed-media artists are terrific "what-iffers," so I always keep an eye on what is going on over at our sister publication Cloth Paper Scissors. If you subscribe to the "What if?" theory of creativity, you'll want to subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.
P.S. What happened the last time you "What-iffed?" Share in the comments section below.