Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Prefelts are pieces of felt which one can buy or, if you are not too lazy, make your self. The difference with the normal felt is that these sheets of felt aren't fully felted. They are ussually used by felters whom especialize in wall art, tapestry or rugs; or indeed any felted work with lots of intricate designs in different colors. The advantage of prefelt is that you can cut a figure out from your pre- felted sheet, and add it to your design which later gets fully felted with the rest of your work. It's not difficult to use them but it doesn take a bit of practice. However, they do simplify your job and allow you to do more intricate designs.
So, I had to make some for a few projects I have in mind, and also because it is always handy to have some in stock.
Technically speaking, the thickness of your prefelt, if you wish to make them yourself, should take an account the thickness of the finnal project you have in mind... you have to think that if it is too thick it will take longer to felt, or stick out; but if they are too thin they might get lost in the background color. I made this pile of about 3 thin layers of wool. Solid, bright colors.
And now to work!

Monday, 27 April 2009

frutas congeladas

frutas congeladas
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

The new season has started adn the first crops are in: spinach and lettuce. So, whilst cleaning and putting some order in the freezer, I did a bit of a census of what things are left from last year's harvest...not much, some broccoli, beans, leek and 1kl of frozen fruit...strawberriess, cherries, blueberries, red berries, cassis... a bit of everything.
Today, they have turned into a beautifully red, yummy jam... Nothing better than a nice toast with your home made jam (from home grown berries) for breakfast.

Have a nice week everyone!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Spring -Merry go round

Spring -Merry go round
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

I had never taken so much notice in the change of seasons until I came here.
I come from the southern part of Argentina -Patagonia- where seasons are different: quite cold in winter, windy; and very warm in summer. But throught the whole year, almost always the sun shines.
Over here the lack of light during so many months in winter, makes it all die and turn to grey and brown colors in a moldy, sleepy image that seems to never end.
But all of a sudden, in March-April...things start to change, and much rapidly than I had never seen -and hence in a more notorious way- everything starts to change. Green starts to dominate the landscape, tulips and all those bulb flowers are the first to pop out and all of a sudden there is color everywhere.
We have a big garden and a little forest almost in our backyard, so spring to us means going for walks, working in the garden, bike rides, improvised BBQs, a little fire and a glass of wine and talks of how happy we are with so little... just the appereance of the sun makes us young, vital and happy again.
So spring is a less productive time for me in the bussisness sense. i'm always outdoors. I feel like I'm wasting sun otherwise!
And also it means that slowly I start changing from wool to clay. It's hard to wet felt outside because a little breeze can blow all your wool away. But I can do stuff with clay outside... so slowly I start getting more ideas for that.

You will see me walking around with my camara with the macro lens on too in spring. I'm fascinated by the perfection in nature's designs...

For more spring, do visit the blogs of the other girls in this merry-go-round:

Jenny at Jenny Karlsson design

Nikki at Beaded Zen
Wendren at Wren
Sara at Sara's Texture Crafts
Charlotte at Fancy Picnic
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent
Fabienne at Easterya
Andreanna at Glamasaurus

Summer Flowers wall art

Flowers are popping all around me. Spring is here and I can't but get inspired in all the color surrounding me.
Weekend is upon us and I'm hoping for good weather (that is dry...) for a BBQ... I just like the rituals of fires and a glass of wine with friends.
It's been a few weeks since I listed something on my shop. I have been working and now have loads to upload, especially wall art. Here a small handfelted piece done in merino wool and hand dyed silk (stems).

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

List of vegetables for dyeing

Looking a bit more into this dyeing business, I found a list of vegetables with the possible colors one can get from them. The method itself, was the same. So here:

Light Purple: small quantity of grape juice
Violet blue: red onions skins
Blue: Canned blueberries, red cabage, purple grape juice
Green: spinach, grass
Yellow: orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, ground cumin, ground tumeric
Brown: strong coffee
Orange: yellow onion skins
Pink: beets, cranberries
Red: lots of red onions skins

And then I found another list of possible dyers but not the colors one would get... so if you try them, tell us!

Marigold flowers
Tansy flowers
Dahlia flowers
Apple leaves
Oak leaves
Crushed pomegranates
Onion skins
Corn husks

So there... if you know of anything else, we can add to the list!

Another interesting link from a website called Pioneer Thinking. There is a long list of plants and the colors you might get.
I suggest you check Jenny Dean' s website and books. She is a guru in natural dyeing and a very generous person. Wise and fun!

Monday, 20 April 2009

How to dye wool with veggies-Tutorial

I've been meaning to do this for a while but I was always a bit scared, not sure of proportions and the rest. I read words like alum and creme of tartar...and froze not knowing precisely what that was (and couldn't figure out the proper translation to my mother language, spanish). So, while I was waiting to figure it out (hopefully in a workshop soon); last week I had to dye Eastern eggs. My husband said he was the expert and since we don't have the "egg hunt" in Argentina, little I knew about this whole egg situation. But then, when he was dyeing them with onion skins I thought...hmmm...this could work with wool as well... and grabbed some regular merino and threw it in the pot ...not with the eggs, don't worry. So, for those interested... keeping in mind I am an amateur experimenting and I didn't have an especific recipe but more of an informed guess (read a lot, mixed it all up).

First you have to make your dye... you can experiment with a lot of things. I'll use the golden onion skins as an example (I suppose one can use red onions too and achieve another color).
You use only the golden outter layers. Peel them off -about 5 onions- and then add them to a pot with water and about 5-10grms of salt/2 tablespoons.The salt helps fixate the dye to the yarn, wool, fabric, etc. Take that to a boil and then cook it for about 25minutes. Then strain it (the onion skins you can throw away).

In the meantine, pre soak what you will dye -wool in my case- in water and normal vinegar. Measurements? eeerrrm... a couple of glugs... nothing scientific here. For what I understand the vinegar helps the wool prepare and take the dye better. Let it soak while the dye is cooking. Rinse.
*If you are going to dye unspun wool (as in the wool you use for felting) try no to move it too much or rubb it because otherwise you will end with felted roving...remember: water, movement and wool are what make felt!

Once the dye was strained and the wool rinsed, gently dip the wool into the dye (*don't stir too much... remember: felt!) and "cook" -with the lid on or your dye will evaporate- for about 30minutes (or when the wool is a bit darker than what you want it to look when it is dry. Remember that with water, colors look brighter!).

When you think you have achieved the right color, take it off the fire, and let it cool. Then remove gently, rinse until you don't see any more color coming out ( I didn't have any!) and let it dry undisturbed!

*One last note for those whom might want to dye unspun wool: don't forget that if you "cook" it for too long, the wool will start felting too... warmth, water and the movement in the pot will make the fibers entangle and a bit stiff.

My other experiments...
-spinach: green
-spinach + tumeric: fluorescent green! :)
-carrot + orange peel + 1 spoon of cinamon: a pinkish-orangey... LOL looks likea cake recipe!
- beets: same steps as before...

Left: beets
right: onion skins.

Hope you give it a try and have fun!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Felt rug making

I saw a link to this video in a forum I participate. It's from a company called Peace Industry which designs and makes felt rugs. Very pretty indeed. They have on their website a film of an iranian felt maker, demonstrating the traditional way of making felted rugs. Very intricate designs done by one man, in his small studio or working place, no modern stuff around... just his bare feets and hands, and a stamina to envy! Go roll like that for 3 hours or more!
If you have time and want to learn a bit more about felt making, do take a look: Here (click on the "15minute film" link).

There is here an essay written by Melina Raissnia "Felt Rugs from Iran" which is very interesting as well.

Sometimes, as a felter, I feel very proud and... warm inside when I realize that I am continuing an ancient tradition. And I feel quite anxious when I realize how much more I have to learn!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Couple of coco cups

Couple of coco cups
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Some more ceramic work. Using a coconut as template I made a couple of cups painted with engobes (which are just a little paste made of colorful clay).
Summer aproaching and all the outdoorsy life...including BBQs and tapas and eating outside in the garden, I can only think of making little plates and bowls for dips and salsas and olives and yummy cheese and stuff like that.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wooly amber

Wooly amber
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

The combination of glass and wool... always fascinating how one provides structure and texture and the other one, light. I am in experimentation mode. I've been making jackets, dyeing, spinning... more soon.
The bad side of good weather is that I feel bad, almost guilty, If Im staying indoors while the sun shines. Sure, I could take the laptop outside but... it just doesn't feel right. This will be detrimental to blogging! or at least for my blogs.

Photos: macros of an abstract wall hanging.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Yurt Jacket

Yurt Jacket
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

Here is my first attempt to felt a jacket...
I was not trained as a seamstress so when I found out that with handmade felt you could make garmets without sawing, I couldn't believe it! it still requires a certain degree of understanding of the wool...and practice... lots of practice.
I wanted a sort of Jackie O jacket: to the waist, 3/4 sleeves, simple, kinda trapezoid shape. I will add a button later (maybe one of those ceramic buttons I made some time ago). I have a problem or two with the comfort of the armpits (? dunno technical name in english... siza in spanish).

A yurt is a typical portable handfelted tent from Central Asia. When my husband saw my sketches and the first layer of wool, he thought I was going to make a tent... it was rather big!

I'm happy with it. Naturally I know I could do better... but this is a start. I have plans for more later!

Happy eastern to all of you! Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, 9 April 2009


Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

So many flowers blooming, so many photos to take!
I jgave my first workshop on basic felting techniques on monday. They were all happy but I don't know if Im cut out for teaching...too stressful, too many people to look at, guide and so much wool to prevent from falling into buckets of water and be ruined for good...
It was a workshop for women of the family anyways, nothign "official", a test.
I'm working in a portable, easy to use loom... as soon as I can work out the whole thing, I'll post some pics and tips if anybody wants to try the same.
Gotta go to my ceramics class!

Friday, 3 April 2009

EST Secret Bunny

Hello everyone! aaaaah SUN!!!!!!I'm afraid my lizard days are in and hybernating is out. I am outdoors all day and computers and work do not fit in my schedule! :)
I've been meaning to post, for a couple of days already, about the European Streen Team Secret Bunny.
Mevrouw Mitsy, from Artmind, took the time to organize the logistics of this event which was basically an international secret bunny swap. I am sure it was a lot of work, and she pulled it off perfectly. Not to mention that this happened in the midst of her come back and the presentation of her "99 feelings" work of art which I suggest you check out, because they mini feelings are glorious.

Anyway, a package with my name on it came all the way from Finland and it included the fabulous work of Ioulia, the mind and hands behind CloudberryLand.

Three pairs of earrings which are so pretty, well crafted and chic! I've been wearing them all these past days, alternating to give them eachsome time on my ears :) and I've got compliments everytime!

They are just beautiful and I am so happy I got this! I always use earrings and these are so unique and well done! I seriously suggest you visit Ioulia's shop... because these are pretty and affordable!

Oh yes, there was a huge chocolate in the package too... which dissapeared in a matter of...seconds I think. We are all seriously addicted to the stuff! :)

Thanks Ioulia for the earrings again, and thanks Mitsy for pulling this off!

Going back to the sun now :)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

manitos ladronas

manitos ladronas
Originally uploaded by Marian Florcita

I will be back soon. It's sunny outside, rare in this country. So, I'm soaking it up like a lizard...

Just as I was about to make a macro of the little flowers, a little thief gets in the frame and steals them!