Saturday, 19 May 2012

Silk Paper

Over on the Felting and Fiber Forum, we've been discussing silk paper recently. It started when Pam showed us this gorgeous silk vase  and then a beautiful silk box made from delicate silk hankies, threads and angelina fibres. Then Karen was inspired to try making silk paper and after finding some silks work better with different methods made some gorgeous pieces. Once the hard work had been done ;) I thought I'd give it a go too.
I decided to just jump in and try it with spray starch. I'd read a few years ago that it was possible to make silk paper by spraying a layer of silk fibres with starch, adding another layer of silk fibres and spraying that, then covering with baking parchment and ironing until it was dried. Well, it's almost that easy. It's hard to get the spray starch onto the fibres without blowing them away, so it takes a bit of practice to get the spray to 'drizzle'. I found it helpful to spray first, so I got an old piece of cotton cloth and layed it onto brown parcel paper, sprayed the cloth with starch, added a layer of silk, drizzled then sprayed starch onto that, then added more silk, more starch, then covered with another layer of cloth, another piece of parcel paper and ironed. The results were mostly really good. A few times, the layers wanted to separate, but I then had two layers of finer silk paper.
This is 2 layers of mulberry silk:

This piece is 2 layers of mulberry silks and tussah silks. I tried to make it two sided. This is the front:

And this is the back:

This is also two layers of mulberry and tussah silks:

And this piece is made up of two layers of fluffed up mulberry and tussah silks, silk throwsters waste and silk hankies:

This is one layer:

This is from one of the first pieces I made. The layers of tussah silk and dyed mulberry silks separated, so I was left with a layer of mulberry silk (which I used on another piece) and a piece of honey coloured tussah silk paper with subtle colours from the mulberry silk dyes staining it. This is the piece before felting, with the silk paper cut into a few shapes:

And this is how it looked after felting:

It kept the shapes really well, even the wispy tufty bits from around the edges.

I'm hoping to try the wallpaper paste method soon. I recently got the book 'Handmade Silk Paper' by Kath Russon, recommended to me by Lyn from Rosiepink. All I need to do is actually start reading it instead of just drooling over the pictures :)
Have you made silk paper or paper from any other fibres? Do you use it in felting or something else? I'd loved to hear about it or see photos.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I've been working on a project about using 'other' fibres in felting and noticed that 'texture' has been a common theme lately. I thought I'd post a collection of photos showing different textures from wet felted pieces I've made.

This is a green organza used as a base:

This is the top, strips of organza over blocks of coloured Merino:

This is another organza base, a slightly stiffer gold:

This is a piece of cerise organza:

This is a close up of silk in textured nuno felting:

This is a blue-green piece of textured felt, made with lots of layers and inclusions and felted mostly in the washing machine:

And lastly, this is a piece of texture felt using reds, pinks, oranges and yellow shades:

Do you have any photos of textural felt? How do you like to create it? Do you like to add to your felt to create texture with stitch or other fabrics and fibres? I'd love to see photos of your work :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Felting and Fiber Studio site Giveaway

We're having a giveaway on The Felting and Fiber Studio site. If you'd like to 'win' a small notebook with a hand sewn, hand felted cover, just come over to the site and leave a comment on the post.
This is the front of the book:

and this is the inside:

Please read the post and check back on Tuesday for the winner :)