Nicola Brown | Nuno felting with some of my Salvation Army finds!
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Nuno felting with some of my Salvation Army finds!

Nuno felting with some of my Salvation Army finds!

If you follow me or Dawn on facebook you’ll know by now that we had some marvellous times scouring both Goodwill and the Salvation Army stores for printed silk to nuno felt with! This is a great way of sourcing interesting printed silk in a variety of weights, perfect for combining with other plain coloured silk and/or cotton gauze in the large nujno wraps I love to make.

Turquoise, pink and olive felt wrap

Printed silk is difficult to find by the metre unless one’s very lucky or prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it. Searching in a consignment or charity store is good fun and often results in amazing clothes that are in perfect condition but that have definitely passed their sell by date style wise. Don’t forget to check out the dresses and skirts too not just the shirts, outsizes give even more value for your buck and sometimes the lining is silk as well, not just the outside! These are the pieces that we snapped up with glee, a lot of the patterns are just too over the top to even consider wearing the items even if they were not outdated anyway, once cut up they are totally transformed when felted!

Chocolate, bronze, gold and cream wrap

Nicola Brown
clasheen@gmail.com
22 Comments
  • Carole Dysart
    Posted at 22:13h, 05 June Reply

    What great treasures you found in the form of clothing to use in your felting, and even a plus because they did not weigh anything taking them home on the plane, and they could be scrunched up and put anywhere in your luggage.
    I will be anxious to see more pictures.

    Carole

  • suzanne morgan
    Posted at 22:31h, 05 June Reply

    Beautiful work Nicole!! Have fun on your journey!

  • Suzanne Higgs
    Posted at 23:51h, 05 June Reply

    Great job, great finds! Beautiful felts!

  • Deb Seeger
    Posted at 03:07h, 06 June Reply

    wow Nicola, Amazing!!!

  • Deb Seeger
    Posted at 03:09h, 06 June Reply

    I am loving the chocolate one. How cool to see the results of your “picking” or “junking” as we call it in Kansas. You found treasures that you have used to the MAX in your work!!!

  • Feltsoright
    Posted at 03:58h, 06 June Reply

    What????? I thought that we were to wear all of our stylish finds…I’ve been running all around town in my busy patterned silk jogging suit and now you tell me that it’s dated and over-the-top? LOL…I’m sure that the clerks thought that we had absolutely no fashion sense!!!! You may need to make a return trip sooner than you’d thought. I’ve got a 25 percent off coupon…Whoo-Hooo!!!!!

    Love the two nuno scarves pictured…They’re gorgeous!

    Big hugs,
    Dawn

  • Chrissie day
    Posted at 07:12h, 06 June Reply

    Are these than sold reflecting the free silk when it comes to pricing.plus how do you label the goods as they are part recycled.

  • Tracy Dalke
    Posted at 09:05h, 06 June Reply

    Hello Nicola, I love the wraps you show! Any chance that you pictured either as a work in progress??? I have some cool silk finds from salvation army and also goodwill and I also have some cheesecloth or gauze that I have dyed (also dyed fiber to match the gauze) In looking at your picts of dyeing gauze it looks like what you ladies were dyeing was actually more of a material???? I purchased some gauze material, but I am not really sure which is actually what I was after to use in nuno felting…any idea??? I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head that I really need to turn into finished items, but of course when the ideas begin I have to create the materials I need!!! I decided on the gauze nuno felted scarves or wraps which meant dyeing gauze and then dyeing lots and lots of fleece, which meant going through my stash of raw fleeces and deciding which ones I wanted to use, then they had to be washed, then dyed…now they are ready to card so I can actually begin putting my ideas to work! LOL! Am I the only person on the planet who does things this way????
    If anyone has any ideas how to incorporate the silk material from shirts and dresses with cheesecloth, gauze and fiber to create a work of art (or 2 or a dozen…LOL!!!!) please feel free to share! Thanks!

    • Nicola
      Posted at 18:06h, 06 June Reply

      My head is full of ideas Tracy but unfortunately I’ve run out of time!!! All my collaged nuno wraps contain a combination of fabrics bound together with one or two very fine layers of merino and your fabrics sound just fabulous and perfect for this method! I have a section on using the tumble dryer to full nuno felt in ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’, if you have the book this is the method that I use but if you go back through my blog you should also find some images of work in progress. I will blog about this further once I return from my trip to Portugal and Dagmar Binder’s masterclass in Scotland!

  • Juliane
    Posted at 09:07h, 06 June Reply

    Wow, how exciting! Have heard (via Lizzy Houghton book?) that sari fabric can also be something to try (but have yet to do so as not in a city that has such shops). A slapdash online search for ‘old’ sari fabric makes me wish I could get to Dawn’s Salvation Army shop too! Yikes!!! Does anyone have an online source for exciting colored silk scraps, versus whole saris/sarees??

  • Deborah Allen
    Posted at 09:44h, 06 June Reply

    Lovely wraps Nicola! I am quite envious of your silk shopping spree 🙂 there is rarely silk in charity shops near me (mostly synthetics) and if it is there they price it accordingly.
    Glad you had a good trip
    x

  • Emma Jane Champley
    Posted at 10:34h, 06 June Reply

    you busy bee! LOVE your use of found silk…Chrissie, the time spent sourcing any material, whether new or second hand should be cost into making a piece and won’t it be lovely to see ‘upcycled vintage silk’ on a label?

    • Feltsoright
      Posted at 13:14h, 06 June Reply

      Yes, I totally agree Emma…While Nicola and I had a great time sourcing the silks, it was very time consuming. We left at 9:00 a.m. and returned at 1:00 p.m. My husband was ready to call out a search party, thinking that we’d been abducted by aliens (secretly, I’m sure that he was just glad that I hadn’t dragged him along with us;-). I think that anytime one can recycle, it’s a great thing, and the fact that we had a grand time doing it, makes it all the better. I always state the fabric content, silk and wool, and I actually think that you’re right Emma, it would be a great selling point to say that they are upcycled, vintage or re-purposed silks, as thankfully, so many people are on the watch for ecologically minded fashions/products. With many of the items that Nicola and I picked up on our outings, while the silks will be lovely in a nuno piece, they would no longer have been fashionable or in style, and so diverted from our already overcrowded landfills. I actually did do a fashion show last year where everything had to be made using re-purposed materials…it was touted as designers and makers with a conscience, which I thought was great! And, I do think that we offer great value for the amount of time and work that goes into the making. So everyone is happy;-))) Great discussion here.

      • Nicola
        Posted at 17:59h, 06 June Reply

        Another thing to take into account is that is is far more time consuming unpicking stitches and preparing clothing to be upcycled than it is to just work with new bolts of fabric. The plus side though apart from the benefit of beautiful prints and reworking an otherwise potentially unwanted garment is that things like darts, seams, plckets and other details may also be left as is and incorporated as part of the new design!

      • Chrissie
        Posted at 22:48h, 06 June Reply

        Maybe it is time we returned to world where people only bought clothes they needed to wear, not to fill closets and rooms with closets and add more rooms to get more closets etc etc. Basically we have too much greed which have developed in to all this.What will fill the museums of the future if all the silk clothing of today is unpicked and nuno felted.

        Ecologically minded does not always mean recycled.

    • Chrissie
      Posted at 22:44h, 06 June Reply

      Emma –lovely yes if it did appear on the labelling so often it does not reflect this at all.Some people do not like to wear goods with recycled cloth in them –remember we are not all the same diversity is good as is honesty in labelling and cost reflected.

  • Emma Jane Champley
    Posted at 08:21h, 07 June Reply

    Nicola is having fun creating something new, finding inspiration wherever she goes, meeting keen students and teaching her skills. She is the most generous craftsperson I have met for offering information on how every one of her pieces is made. I am not the greatest fan of felting, but I find her enthusiasm infectious. No one is forced to buy her pieces…thank goodness for free trade! Come on Chrissie, cheer up!

    • Feltsoright
      Posted at 13:38h, 07 June Reply

      Oh, Emma, you had a little typo in your comment. Came across as very humorous, as you had the word ‘not’ in your sentence…when I’m sure what you meant to say, was, ‘I am the greatest fan of felting…’ ;-)) Hope you’re having a great day Emma…I so enjoyed meeting you and seeing your beautiful creations.

  • Kristi
    Posted at 13:36h, 07 June Reply

    Nicola,

    I so love that you’ve been able to create such beautiful current fashions from outdated clothing! Kudos to you! You are right, there is much
    more work in repurposing something than creating from new, but the benefits are well worth it, and it takes a truly artistic flair to do it right – more so than creating from new. I don’t know about across the pond, but here in the states people love up-cylced items. I agree we should all buy less, but reworking the old is a win-win for everyone, including Mother Earth!!

    I’m going to dig into my thrift-store stash and make something fun today, you’ve so inspired me!

    Looking forward to more pics!
    Kristi

  • Rhonda Rogalski
    Posted at 13:48h, 07 June Reply

    This is the first time I have ever heard anyone poo-poo at upcycled, recycled or repurposed materials before. I create most of my pieces from thrift store finds and have only purchased new silk once. I sell at a local art faire every weekend and find that people actually appreciate it. Wool is a renewable and sustainable resource as is felting. My customers love that I incorporate recycled materials and that they are able to purchase something completely earth friendly and eco conscious. These days many people are concerned about the stewardship of our planet. I also find that most people don’t know that silk worms are boiled alive in order to harvest the silk fiber.

    Thank you for this discussion. I believe that everyone is totally entitled to their opinion. It is a conscious choice to use new or recycled materials. My choice just happens to be reduce, reuse, recycle.

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