Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2D or Not 2D Needle felting Challenge with Lleona Chew

In the Spring of 2016, Sarafina hosted a needle felting challenge for our Facebook group members called 2D or Not 2D.  We asked participants to needle felt a 3D and 2D project.  Entries were judged on creativity, use of fiber, relation of the 2D and 3D pieces to each other, as well as written description and photographs. Lleona Chew was the Challenge winner and the following details her felted creations:

Completed 2D

Lleona's Finished 3D Sculpture

When I first saw the 2d competition posted on the Sarafina fan page, I thought to myself, “No thank you, I'll stick to making my 3D critters!” The idea of filling all of that empty space on a wool canvas was just too intimidating. A serendipitous trip to the Art House ended up changing my mind. Nestled in with the rainbow of wool roving was a luscious, just begging-to-be-felted Ocean Landscape Batt. I picked it up and ran my fingers over the perfectly blended shades of blues and white, and knew that I had to find some way to use it.  I wandered the treasure trove of wool in the Art House, holding the batt up to the various shades on display, until a gorgeous red brown Copper Core Wool brought back a memory of holding young sea turtles at a rescue in the Caribbean. I was caught in the beauty of the wool, and ready to go!

Once home, the sight of that blank prefelt almost scared me away again. This time my mess of a work table provided an extra boost of inspiration. A gift from the fiber fairy of colorful locks sat next to my new purchases, and I noticed how much the green shades looked like waving plants-the perfect snack for the sea turtle taking shape in my mind. From there, it was surprisingly easy to bring the image to life. The Ocean Batt did all of the heavy lifting for the background; if I wanted to lighten or darken an area I just pulled from a different area of the batt and watched the magic happen. The green locks seemed to find their own spot on the canvas, twisting and bending on the ocean floor in organic patterns with every poke. Even the turtle itself seemed eager to be felted. I lined up the various shades of brown core wool from the Sarafina Browns Core Sampler, along with the Copper Core Wool, and picked at will to create the shell and skin tones. I used some of the wisps left over from the green locks of the sea bed to add some mossy accents to the shell. A bit of gold for the eye, and my first completed needle felted painting was staring back at me. I was thrilled!

For the 3D portion of the challenge I was in more familiar territory. Having all of the shades of brown from the sample pack truly made blending the shell easy. The 2d picture made a great reference for the sculpture, and I moved across the shell happily pulling bits of browns and greens to add dimension and depth. The geometrical lines of the shell were fairly straight forward but the limbs were a bit more challenging.I didn't want too rigid of a pattern but was having problems getting the wool lines to look random enough. I finally resorted to sketching on the wool with a bit of chalk and then adding wool on top-problem solved! From there it was just a matter of patiently adding the many lines and highlights that really add a touch of realism.

This was a fantastic challenge that really pushed me to experiment with new ways of using wool in my art. I found the 2D process to be easier than I had imagined, largely thanks to having the right fibers and textures on hand to really make the project come alive. The biggest challenge was in figuring out the direction of the light and the angles of the body. I think in the 2D picture I exaggerated the head too much because I wanted it to seem like he was swimming towards the viewer. I also had trouble creating depth in the water behind the turtle, although having the Ocean Batt helped out a lot. The biggest challenge of the3D process is that it takes so much longer; I stopped counting after about 15 hours. Photographing 3D work is more complicated as well, from getting the light to fall equally across the piece in my tiny setup to finding natural poses. I enjoyed both dimensions, and I am really glad to have participated in the challenge. Thanks Sara for pushing us to explore new areas in such a fun way!

You can see more of Lleona's work on Etsy at Aniclay Art and coming soon,

Thank you, Lleona, and all who participated in the 2D or Not 2D Challenge.  We had an amazing array of submissions, every one of them heart felt and a joy to receive.