Art tips with Free Textile Art Lessons with Rae Woolnough on Colour In Your Life

Art tips with Free Textile Art Lessons with Rae Woolnough on Colour In Your Life



Well g'day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson
and I'd like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure
through the series Colour In Your Life. There's an Artist in every family throughout the world and lots of
times there's an Artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your Brothers, your Sisters,
your Aunties, Uncles and Mums and Dads and come and see how some of the
best Artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) We’re in the beautiful city of Sydney this show to see
an amazing artist, so come along and enjoy the incredible talent
that Sydney has to offer. G’day Graeme. G’day Rae. How are you darling? How are you? Good to see you. Good to see you too. Can I come
in and see what you’re up to? Come on in and have a cup of tea. Thank you darling. That’s great. Well g’day viewers and welcome back to Colour
In Your Life. We have an amazing day today. As you know we’re actually seeking many artistic
people as we go through our journey across Australia to bring you these series’. And I’m with a lady at the
moment called Rae Woolnough. How are you Rae? I’m good thanks, Graeme. Thank you so much for having us in your studio.
This is going to be great. But Rae works with… funnily enough, works with wool and fibres and silks and alpaca;
some amazing stuff, to actually make artwork. I think what you do is absolutely fascinating. Thank you And this is going to be an amazing, amazing show. But,
what are your influences? I remember as a kid, well it wasn’t that too long ago, there was a two-dollar
note, and it was a gentleman called John Macarthur… Hmm. and his wife, Elizabeth… and they were
an influence on you weren’t they? They were, yes. Many, many years ago my parents
used to take tours on what was Elizabeth farm, before it was taken over
by the National Trust. Uh huh. As part of the learning about the farm they were actually presented
with photocopies of John and Elizabeth Macarthur’s letters, and the challenge was to sit there and read these letters.
And, they started to talk about the sheep and the breeding, and as you know John and Elizabeth Macarthur were very
instrumental in the Merino breeding in Australia. So I guess I probably got a bit of a romantic attachment, being a
dreamy thirteen-year-old reading about the wool industry and dreaming about ships and sheep and what not. But really… it
came back to me about ten or twelve years ago when my daughter actually
re introduced me to felt. Yeah She came home one day from Uni and said I have
to do felting, and I was like, oh, I remember that… Yeah And she started to show me the
process and I just fell in love with it. And it’s just fascinating the way you do it. But what
you’re going to do with us today, and it really is, when you look at Rae’s work, it is an art form.
I mean you frame, you mat these things at the end of it. But they literally are like three-dimensional paintings it’s the only
way I can describe it, but… created with fibres and wool. And the wool itself, to feel some of the fibres and
this wool, is just… it’s like a feather isn’t it? It is, it’s like working with clouds. It’s just amazing. Yeah. But, you’re going to take me through
the whole process today of the dyeing… Yep. …for a start, and this is really going to be very interesting. And you
use a microwave, so can you tell us how you go about all this? I do, yes. Now the reason I use a microwave with my dye is
I actually think it’s a little more environmentally friendly, and you don’t end up with a great deal of residual dye,
which you then have to get rid of either by pouring it down the sink or putting it in your garden. These are actually
protein dyes, and protein dyes actually work with protein fibres. So they are things like silk and wool. And it works really well on your
hands as well. So I like to put on gloves when I’m using it. But it won’t work on synthetics and it doesn’t
like cotton, so it’s an interesting sort of dye. What isn’t particularly environmentally
friendly is that I actually use glad wrap… Okay …to wrap up the dye and put it in the microwave. And the
reason I also use this process is to, unlike a dye bar, where you put the whole piece of
fabric in a large amount of dye… Hmm you only get the one colour. I actually want to create
interesting um, degrees of colour in my dyeing. And I like to have almost a random look to my dyes, so that’s another reason I use the microwave
because the dye tends to not bleed into itself Let’s see how this goes about. So let’s have a look. So I’ve put out the
glad wrap, which is basically just to contain it. One more should do it. Put that on. That’s good. Okay, the first
thing I do is actually wet the silk That’s just water? Just water. Ah, the reason I wet the silk is it helps
the dye disperse more easily when I need it to. Okay And… you don’t want any dry patches in your silk at
all or when you’re putting it in the microwave. Oh, okay. Silk can burn when you heat it too much. Oh right, okay Now I’m thinking with this particular artwork, I actually had a
beautiful necklace that I purchased a little while ago. And I love the colours. So I thought I’d do a
design based on these beautiful colours. Hmm, it’s beautiful isn’t it? nd try and get that same look of the textures
and the beautiful colours that are in that.A Okay So the dyes that I’ve got here are greens… Mostly greens and blues Greens and blues and a few browns. And… is it toxic enough to were gloves? Not really. This is just so when I touch the dyes
I don’t end up with purple hands for the day. Okay Because it does soak into your skin pretty quickly.
So I think I might get a little bit of green in here… Yeah and really I’m just going to pour
the dyes on here. Just in little spots. Okay. And that’s the only…
it’s just water you put in with it? Just water. Okay. Look at that. And I’m just going to massage that in a little bit, to create the
colours that I want. I want to get a little bit of a random look Yeah Now I think a nice blue would be good. That’
s a better colour. I like that Alright, so you’re going to use some…
what is it crystal? Or a natural form of it? Yes, it’s an actual powder. This is the actual dye,
before we actually turned it into liquid water. All I’m going to do is just
sprinkle a little bit of that… Yep …in powder form, on here, and the moisture that’s actually
in here already, will create some interesting speckles. It’s amazing that what you’re
really doing is, this is your canvas. It is. Yes. This is my starting block I suppose,
so now all I’m going to do is wrap this up. Yep So when I nuke it in the microwave, ah, it doesn’t
splatter all over the inside of the microwave. Sure I’ll put that in a microwave proof container
and into the microwave. Here we go. It’s done. It’s done. Doesn’t look terribly appetising does it? I’m going to need a sauce on mine, I can
tell you now. Okay. So what happens now? I’ll let that cool now very, very slowly.
As I said it’s… it’s the heat allowing it, when it goes through the cooling process,
it’s what makes the dye more permanent and when we open that up later there
will be virtually no residual dye left behind Wow, that’s amazing isn’t it? So alright,
we go from that, obviously we let one cool, but there’s probably a spot where
you’ve got another one set up is there Yes, definitely. Alright Rae, well this is the finished product. You’ve actually dyed
it and then you’ve rinsed it. And now we’ve actually dried it. You can see how it’s come out so beautifully and these little
flecks that are in there. I mean that’s the gold fleck. But now, you’ve actually started to lay out this magnificent
wool underneath, so explain to me what we do next. Okay, this is the actual felt… base. It’s made out of
roving… what they call roving, which is the wool. Hmm So this is my pallet. Basically the artist has a pallet
of colours. I have all these different colour wools. Yeah And I’ll quite often blend those. What I’ve done here is I’ve started to lay out the fleece.
You can see I’ve actually got it on a nylon material. Hmm That’s quite important as part of the process because being completely
synthetic, these fibres when we start the felting process, wont migrate through that particular fabric and I can
actually release this. But it will migrate through silk, and… so what I lay on the base, will actually come
through the silk, so I need to decide where I’m going to place my colours as I go through,
matching up with silk on the other side. Okay. Particularly with the Shibori technique that I’m going to
demonstrate, the colours on the bottom actually end up on the top in some areas. So we’re looking
at almost a sandwich of two layers of felt, with silk in between and creating
interesting textures and tones But you call it Shibori? Shibori. Shibori is actually a Japanese word. Was going to say Japanese, We use to call it tie-dyeing. Okay, This is actually tie felting. Okay Okay, so I’ll just show you the rest.
We’ll put the silk aside for now. Okay And I’ll continue to lay out these fibres. And it’s just a matter of
pulling it out and letting it drip down to where I want to place it. And we’re so lucky in Australia. We’ve got access to the best quality
Merino fleeces and… we tend to take it for granted. Yeah We just don’t realise how lucky we are,
that Australia did basically you know… develop on the back of the sheep they use to say,
and it’s really lovely to be able to work with product that’s Australian. And I know that viewers can’t see that
there, but it’s really is so amazingly soft. It’s just beautiful. And the fibre itself,
it’s so fine. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. Okay, so that’s my bed of fibre. Okay And now I’m going to put the
silk over the top of that. Yep Now this one I’m using a whole piece of silk.
Sometimes I don’t use a whole piece of silk. Sometimes I’ll lay out the base fleece and then I’ll just put parts of
silk over it, particularly when I’m doing some of my landscapes, I tend to just use parts of silk and other fibres.
I’ll use hemp and the camel, corriedale, mohair, and make some really interesting textures on that,
and I’ll do that a little bit later in this process as well. Cool But I’m going to wet this down now. Okay. This is the giant This is the giant wetted down…
machine thing… And it’s pressurised? It’s pressurised. So what I’m going
to put in here is warm water… Okay …and I’m also going to put in a bit of soap.
It’s pretty horrific looking stuff. Oh God, have a look. And then I’m going to just spray it, wet it down
and then I can start um, the felting process. Okay So I’ll get going with that. And now
I’ll just wet the fibres down. Yeah? Make it a little bit gentler than that. It’s all those little tricks that you learn as you go along.
People say, so how long did you do this? And the bottom line is, it’s over a decade now isn’t it? It is. And I’ve been and learnt from lots of other people. I’ve been
really fortunate to… have done workshops with people, international felters from Lithuania and overseas,
and it’s a constant learning process. Every time you go to a workshop,
you think you know everything. Yep And you know you don’t. And then you find a new
and another technique and another way to do felting, or another process that makes
the whole job a little bit easier. Sure. And that’s a good point you just made.
Remember guys, workshops. You’ll learn a lot. Professional development… Yes we call it. Now I’m going to cover it with
another piece of the same type of material… Yeah …and I’m going to roll it up and
actually start the felting process. Okay This is a bamboo mat. Some people like to use bubble wrap.
You can use virtually anything that’s got a texture. So all were going to do… thank you… is to role this up. Now I’m
going to roll this way, and that will make it felt in that direction. And after about one hundred or two hundred rolls,
I’ll turn it around and I’ll felt it in the opposite direction. So it will shrink in both directions. Okay So I’m just going to roll this up. And I’m
going to put a towel down underneath, just to collect the moisture so
it doesn’t run all over the floor. There’s a plethora of materials and
wool everywhere in your studio. Yes Want me to do that for you? Now, to make that stay, I’m just going to put a couple of rubber
bands around it or tie it up, just to make it a little bit easier. Just an old stocking or some old… An old stocking or… a rubber band’s good too. Now what’s
good about the rush mat too, is that… this will get cold. And if I wanted to then warm it up, I can run over to the kitchen
sink or whatever and pour a bit more of the warm water on it. Alright, I’ve had enough, it’s your turn Do you want me to have a go? Yes, you have a go. Just nice long
rolls like that. And you are felting. This is a first This is a first for you Graeme. This is unbelievable. Now the
Mongolians do this don’t they? That’s correct. Now the Mongolians were probably one
of the original makers of felt. They use it for their Yurts. Yeah? …they actually cut the fleece manually off their sheep Yeah? They then beat it, with big wooden sticks, and that actually
clears it of dirt and to a point chops the wool up. And they’ll quite often put it on what they call a mother
piece of felt. Which is a piece which already exists, and they’ll roll it up like this, with wet skins and don’t use any
soap just water and then they drag it behind their horses. Is that right? Yep, yep. From one place to the next
they drag it behind their horses. I think that’s cutting out. Is it alright? Okay. And… that makes the felt. That’s just amazing. It’s absolutely fascinating.
Alright, two ninety nine, three hundred. Well done. Okay. Then I’ll just turn it around
and we’ll go in the other direction Okay And the way you test your felt, to make sure
that it is felted, is when we unroll it we can test it and if the fibres are still lifting off and it’s still slippery,
then it’s not felted enough. And you have to keep felting. You can see it’s beginning to stick there; you’re doing a good job.
So it’s still a little bit slippery so I’ll keep on felting and I’ll turn it around in the other direction and felt it in the other
direction for a while. I’ll make a felter out of you yet. I’ll tell you what. I’ll end up at those
felting meetings from now on. The felting convergence. Okay I’ve actually got another
piece of felt where I’ve already completed this process. So we might move to that. Sure And I’ll show you that next part
of the Shibori art of felting. Well I was having a good time.
Alright, let’s go to the other one. Okay. Let’s have a look Well as you can see, well, it just feels fabulous. All of these fibres,
through the rubbing process, have matted together. This is what the Mongolians do too? That’s what the Mongolians did. Yeah.
But we’ve added silk and added colour. Yeah And this is the other side. You can see what’s happened
it’s the fibres actually migrate through the silk and they’ve started to shrink and by doing that they’ve
pulled the silk in and created this lovely ruching effect. And it’s… really made a blanket. Hmm, it has, yeah, a lovely silk blanket. Yeah. In saying that, you’ve turned this into an art form
and you’ve started to put… is it buttons underneath? It is; it’s buttons. This is the Shibori technique. All I’m doing is
tying buttons in and I stand back and look at the design and the colour and sort of imagine where I like to place
all these little clusters. And I tie them through here and then I’ll start to put other embellishments.
So I’ll be putting other pieces of silk on there. I’ll be putting other little bits of what they call silk throwster,
which is basically a waste product but it’s beautiful. Um I’ll also be putting more fleece over the top and
then going through the whole felting process again, and shrinking it down and ah and creating a lovely texture and then
I’ll show you the last process a little further down the track. So you actually take buttons out later? I do, yes, yes. Okay And all I do is I simply just get a button and as I said, I’m looking
at the design and deciding where I’m going to put the next… little floret that I’m creating Yeah And then all I’m going to do is actually tie that in. So it’s an old
form of tie-dyeing that we use to do way back in the 1970’s. Yeah I think we use to do rainbow shirts and… I do remember those classic pants …and I’m going to tie them in and… I use different sizes
to create interesting clusters and different looks. Alright Rae, well you’ve sort of tied all of
your buttons into place, which is amazing. I’ve got an inkling of what she’s going to
do with these now, which is pretty cool. But you’re going to actually put
a lot more fibre down on this? That’s right. The next stage of the process is to actually
now start to put in some more interesting textures. I’ll probably add in some more silk. Yeah Maybe just some plain coloured silk. I’ll probably put more
fleeces over the top because this is all a very textured finish. I’ll probably like to have some smoother areas to create some quiet
spaces. Then I’ll also put in what’s called some silk throwster, which is basically a waste product, which is lovely sort of mat
silk fibre, and then felt it again working back to that idea of something like an opal or a gemstone. I’m trying to create all those
different depths of colours with the different dark fibres. How much generally would you say
a piece like this would sell for? Look, I tend to sell my work around about the seven, eight
hundred dollar mark. But, more than anything it’s just really satisfying to get that feedback from people when you have an
exhibition or you have them on display and they come up to you and they go, ‘It’s felt!’ You know? And you see their eyes
light up as if they’ve never seen anything like it before. This is quite fascinating. They look like
little mushrooms or little lichen of some sort. Exactly This is where the buttons come into play? That’s right. So how, just… Yes we finish and dried it out and just going to go back
and… remember how I tied it up with a synthetic thread? Yeah? I very carefully cut that synthetic
thread away so I don’t cut the silk. Okay And… then I cut out the actual
button to create that little floret. I’ll just pull that out. And I trim this
off to create this lovely little flower. And it just stays there like that? It does Alright, an amazing finished work here and it really is art
by any means. It’s just a magnificent piece of work. I think it’s just an incredible process that we’ve been through
here today. I’ve learnt just so much. I think it’s amazing. Ah, just to finish this off as a piece of artwork,
you would normally have this in a mat and a frame? That’s right. Yes, I have it mounted by my framer. I always
put my art works in what’s called a box frame for two reasons, one, there’s still quite a lot of natural oil in wool and fleece, so
you need to have some air movements and breathing space. And also the very fact that it’s so textured, I don’t want it
squashed behind glass. I want to be able to see those textures, so by putting it in a box frame, you can
actually see the textures are revealed. Well let’s… put that in there and we’ll go from there. Well viewers, as you can see, another amazing day.
An incredible piece of artwork created. And I have learnt so much today myself. Rae I would
like to thank you so much for having us in here. You’re welcome. It was absolutely incredible to see this process come
together. And Rae is one of the few people in the country; she’s been overseas to learn how to do this…
you also conduct workshops don’t you? That’s correct. Yes. I’m fortunate that I’m able to run
workshops from the Virginia Wool Farm at Annangrove, so if you’re interested in having classes
you can certainty contact them or contact me through my web site
and we can organise that. Amazing. Amazing day. Also, great importance as well
obviously with the workshops you can learn so much. The Colour In Your Life team is putting on
a number of workshops next year ourselves, so make sure you get in touch with us at Colour In
Your Life dot com dot au (colourinyourlife.com.au). As always we’d like to thank our sponsors, all the people
that support us. We have some amazing things coming up in the next twelve months; some announcements that
we’re going to keep to ourselves for the time being, but some really, really exciting stuff. But Rae, once again,
I’d really like to thank you for having us come along. Thank you. It’s been incredible. And before I go, remember, as I
always say, make sure you put some colour in your life. We’ll see you next time guys. Bye.

23 Replies to “Art tips with Free Textile Art Lessons with Rae Woolnough on Colour In Your Life”

  1. So beautiful and very interesting to do felting on my Fashion project, also you giving a good tips and I’m subscribing to your channel, love it

  2. hola,soy de Argentina,COLORANTE DE PROTEINA Y LUEGO AGREGA ALGO MAS,QUE ES? DONDE SE COMPRAN ESOS TINTES,GRACIAS

  3. Just stumbled upon this video. How awesomely beautiful! Literally moved to tears. Thank you to both the artist and the CIYL team!

  4. What is the GLOG product that was added to the water for spraying…great video! lovely work BC Canada

  5. She is amazing, but someone should tell her about industrial kitchen clingfilm. Massive rolls at a good price

  6. good afternoon ,The beauty of Art , thank you , Take control of your life is today's Topic , & trying to enhance our life , We don't have to be born blessed to be blessed , it's already in us! We are born resilient

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