Oh. My. God.
Marlene models her lovely Shambolic creation.
Day 1: Kim & Deb make jacket templates
Discussions were had, arrangements were made, and last week Marlene came to Florida to teach me, and six of my creative friends, to make the jacket of our dreams. Marlene is as cute as a button....animal lover, funny as heck, ridiculously humble, and talented beyond belief....everything I need in a house guest. It was a whirlwind, for sure. I am a felter, so I knew that this would be somewhat physical, but even I was impressed by the physicality of the process.
Shambolic felt is a kind of like making a mosaic with silk. The jackets are pieced together with many, many, MANY small pieces of silk fabric that are seamed together with the tiniest wisps of wool. There is no sewing involved AT ALL; rather, the jackets were entirely felted. On Day 1 we took some measurements and created a giant template. We anticipated a shrinkage rate of 50%, so it was necessary to make the initial garment two times larger than what we hoped to wear. We set about cutting and ripping pieces of silk and "fiber seaming" them together to form the back of the jacket. Uh Oh....Marlene warned me that I was a bit heavy handed with wool placement, but I wasn't about to start over and figured that it would be interesting to see how it all played out in the end.
It was hard work but we persevered with the help of chocolate and wine. I tried a new cookie recipe that proved to be a winner....Dark Chocolate and Caramels....what could be bad? Day 1 ended with aching backs and big smiles.
Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
2 sticks of Butter, softened
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
4 tablespoons of Milk
1 b ag of Dark Chocolate Morsels
1 bag of Rolos Chocolate Covered Caramels
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and beat until mixed. The mixture should be thick and difficult to manipulate at this point. Stir in the milk and add the chocolate morsels. Refrigerate the dough for a few hours so that it will be easier to manage. The caramel might leak through to the pan so save yourself clean up time by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
When the dough has chilled, take a golf ball sized bit of dough and wrap it around an unwrapped candy. The cookie will spread as it bakes, so I usually only put a dozen on each cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of sea salt. Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft when you first take them out of the oven but they will be perfect when they cool down.
There were ten dogs in attendance for the workshop! Fortunately, they were all well behaved!
We spent Day 2 concentrating on the front of the jacket. Snip and Rip, Snip and Rip, seam, seam, seam...We lost one participant to a sore back, but the rest of us moved forward...snip and rip, snip and rip, seam, seam, seam....Day 2 ended with aching backs and big smiles.
Marlene's cute cropped jacket
Every jacket started with identical materials...white silk fabric and undyed merino wool; yet each looks so different!
|I added Swarovski Hot Fix Crystals to the Lapel and incorporated Swarovski Crystal Yarn in the Fringe....YUM!|
I played around with my jacket a bit more and suddenly saw what it was trying to be---more unstructured blazer than frilly frock---and I absolutely ADORE it. I dyed it, trimmed the lapel with Swarovski Crystal Hot Fix Elements and included some Swarovski Crystal Yarn in the fringe. What a difference! Several of the participants continued to refine their jackets, as well!
|Lorie Honey McCombie dyed her jacket|
|Deb Mahoney moved her fringe to the front|
|Pam Beauchesne camps it up in her ethereal jacket!|
|Deb's lighter touch made for a spectacular drape!|
It is funny....the Tyranny of Expectation can be a downer and sometimes blind us to the joy of what IS. I may not have gotten the Stevie Nicks jacket I expected initially, but I wound up with something that exceeded my expectations...I just had to adjust my expectations a wee bit. I have learned over the years that Wanting What I Have keeps me much more content then always Having What I Want and this was no exception. It is an interesting lesson ...and one I need to re-learn every few years, it seems!
It was an amazing experience. We laughed, we cried, and we emerged victorious! Thank you, Marlene...the three days we shared opened a creative window for each one of us. In fact, I am dyeing up some silk and planning three days at the felting tables next week. After all, there is a Stevie Nicks Jacket in my future, I just know there is!
Have an interest in Nuno Felted Apparel? Contact Marlene to order a copy of her new Ebook on Shambolic Felt Making...The instructions are great and easy to read...C'mon...it is time to channel YOUR inner Stevie Nicks!