The Wishing Trees

This original piece is on display at Elements of Avebury and available to purchase. This large (87x72cm framed) fibre piece is made using a base layer of carded bright yellow lambs wool on the merino felt backing, with thin silk mawata as a top layer. Sparkling nylon fibres are sandwiched between layers to give the slight dew effect. The trees and roots are made with wool for volume and silk to finish and are raised against the background to give a 3D effect.

Inspiration

I love visiting the Beech Trees at Avebury. These four trees are known as the Spirit Trees, Wishing Trees or Tolkien Trees (inspiration for the Ents?). However you think of them, this place is special and so calming.

Avebury wishes
Sending wishes at the spirit trees.
Photograph by Marcus Good @ancient_stone_bothering (edited)

Here is a little look back at my creative process while making this in the studio. I was lucky to come across this amazing photo of the spirit trees and roots by Marcus Good (Ancient Stone Bothering) and experimented with the saturation to enhance the colours until I could ‘see’ the fibre colours I could use. The image made me think of fairies and enchanted woods so I wanted to bring that out in the piece.

The Beginning

Perfect sunshiny start for a grey weather day! Running bright yellow lambswool though the drum carder and laying out the fluffy yellow backing. This will eventually mostly disappear in the layers and act as a ‘glow’ undercoat.

Carded yellow lambs wool – fluffy!

Layering silks to get the effect of trees in the distance behind the main clump. First ‘detail’ layer for this piece. Trees and foreground are still just at early blocking out stage. Reds and oranges to come!

Building Layers

Using a bundle of dyed silk wool mix as a ‘palette’ to start building the details of the tree trunks.

Avebury Wishing Trees Fibre Art Work in Progress

Tree trunks coming to life. Working detail top down – sky, trunks, roots. That way I can safely lean over the work and rest my arm!

Current stage of work is using a wool mix that isn’t felting easily (short length carded curls) so I’ve got another weeks worth of this at least. Sometime the right colour and texture doesn’t come in easily workable materials!

Making a bit more sense as the ‘yellow ground’ gets covered up. There a lot to cover – this piece is 75x60cm!

First ‘lift’ of this piece off the mat. Releases hold on the fibres. Turned over to fold over and tidy the edges and then will needle everything again once it’s had a breathe. Then on to next layer of details (roots and leaves).

Lifting the felted piece.

Roots (very slowly) coming to life from the tree outwards. Very thin bits of dyed silk are placed over the wool lines to give them colour and smooth the texture. Felting with a thin (gold gauge) needle to be as gentle as possible with the silk fibres.

Avebury Wishing Trees Fibre Art Work in Progress

Finishing Up

Today’s critique from homeschooling 8yr old – ‘You seem to have missed out some branches, I think you should go back and add them to help balance it out.’… Umm, yes I’m getting there! 😂

My local framer Kate @wellhungframing found a frame moulding for this piece that looks like it was made just for it. A mottled, flecked maroon that ties in perfectly with the colour and textures in the piece.

Had a gorgeous drive down to Avebury to deliver this from my studio wall to @elementsofavebury. Feels a bit like child’s first day at school – a little proud and a little sad all at the same time. Will miss having it on my wall but also want them to go and be seen and find a forever home!

Visit Elements of Avebury to see this original piece and more. www.elementsofavebury.co.uk

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