The Brilliant Felted Landscapes of Tracey McCracken Palmer

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Grazing the High Pasture

Take a moment to scroll through these gorgeous felted “paintings” by Tracey McCracken Palmer. They have such wonderful depth, color and interest — giving the viewer a feeling of a real place with a real story. You might find it hard to believe, but at the time of this article, Tracey has been felting less than 2 years.

We really enjoyed our time meeting with Tracey and getting to know her better. She is as sweet and humble as she is talented, and her distinct South Eastern accent is just delightful to listen to as she tells her story. Tracey says she has painted and drawn her entire life, and while she discovered felting after taking a needle felting class several years ago, she did not begin exploring the medium right away.

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Fly Me to The Moon

“I planned to invest in some wool and try it at home, but I was mainly painting in acrylic then and just never got around to it. Then in June of 2013, I saw Moy MacKay’s work on Facebook, and was completely blown away by her felted landscapes. She had just published her first book so I got it and learned her method of layering wool and wet felting landscapes.

Since then, while I’ve used her method of felting, I’ve also developed my own techniques to create my own style. She uses machine stitching and embroidery floss for much of her detail work and since I don’t sew, I needle felt all my details in with wool. Also her work is a bit more abstract, while I’m a detail freak and try to make it look as close to the real thing as possible. I wouldn’t want to copy her style anyway, but I am so thankful to have found her work, and the medium that I’ve been looking for my whole life – I just never knew what it was until now!”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Tracey McCracken Palmer gives demo on felting landscapes at Leaves and Twigs gallery

TRACEY SHARES HER METHOD FOR “HOW TO FELT LANDSCAPES”

“My process begins by layering different colors of dyed wool over a double layer of un-dyed wool to create a scene. Next, I wet the piece with hot soapy water and work it, pressing with my hands, turning and rolling it repeatedly in a bamboo or bubblewrap mat for over two hours until the friction of the rolling process binds the fibers together, creating felt. I then rinse the soap out of the felt and mat, and roll it again several times before letting it air dry.

After it is completely dry, I use needle felting to add more details to the landscape, using special needles which have notches along the shaft. The notches on the needles grab the layer of wool fibers which I have added, and tangle them with the inner layers as the needle enters the felt. Since the notches face down toward the tip of the needle, they do not pull the fibers back out as the needle exits the wool.

Each felted landscape is totally unique and made entirely by hand, using pure wool from Merino and Corriedale sheep, with silk and other natural fibers sometimes added as well.”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Borve Beach

“…my favorite thing from LF [Living Felt] is your merino cross batts, and by golly those batts are where it’s at!!!  Truly they are my most valued wools, because they make such great textures in leaves, and even rocks, and grasses, I can even card them a bit to make other color variations if I need to.”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Sycamore

Painting on canvas is quite a different medium, but Tracey really enjoys everything about the felting process of creating felted landscapes. “I love smelling and feeling the textures of different types of wool, and even picking out wee bits of burrs from some of the batts. I also love seeing the changes that occur each time I wet felt a piece, and I learn something from each one about how to best layer the colors and even the different types of wools to achieve what I’m wanting. But I think I enjoy adding the details with needle felting best, because I love the way one tiny wee bit of wool, either added or taken away can make such a huge difference!  Living Felt’s cross batts are so wonderful with bits of different colors, and I use them for all my trees, whether summer or autumn leaves.”

“I’m just so thrilled to have finally found the medium that truly fuels my creativity!”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Tanglewood Magic

For Tracey’s felted landscapes, she says inspiration is everywhere around her.
“The texture of the wool makes my landscapes almost 3-D, and I’m inspired by everything it seems! As I drive to work and back I see so many beautiful skies and farmland in the mountains here in western NC, and I keep my camera handy to capture it if I can, so I can add it to the list of scenes I want to felt. Skies, trees, water and misty mountains are my biggest inspirations.”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Tracey McCracken Palmer and Grazing the High Pasture Felt Painting

Tracey was kind of enough to share specifics of the fibers used in her work, and says the greatest majority of her fibers come from Living Felt. See below for colors in her felting palette

Tracey also creates in other mediums including graphite wash, acrylic,watercolor, and pastels. “I’ve dabbled with art my whole life, but let everyday life get in the way of really being serious about it until I found felting. I am now the driven artist I’ve always wanted to be, and I love my palette of wool!”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Roaring Fork Falls

Her Most Challenging Project to Date?

“…creating waterfalls, but the tussah silk I use from Living Felt makes wonderful water. I push the limits of felting with my landscapes all the time, to make them as realistic as I can, and learn a bit more from every one.”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Moondance

We asked Tracey about her “next big challenge” … or the project she is dreaming to do:
“Oh, I want to do so many things, and just wish I had more time to felt !!  I plan to do a close up of an owl, and a sheep, and other creatures, and I hope to create even more detailed landscapes and dramatic skies. I just keep adding things to my list of ‘Must Try To Felt That’ !!!”

a. Tracey McCracken Palmer talks about Felting Landscapes on www.LivingFelt.com/blog

Misty Highland Glen

Just by following her passion, Tracey is helping to bring felt and fiber art to the fine arts & crafts scene.
In 2014 Tracey was invited to hang a solo exhibit of her work in one of the branches of her local Public Library , which ran from January through March.

In June 2014 she was featured as the “Artist of the Month”  at Twigs & Leaves Gallery, where she sells her work. She has given several demonstrations of her felting technique over the past year at the gallery, and also at a “Quick Draw” event in Haywood County where she lives. Tracey was on the Haywood Art Studio Tour.

At time of our interview Tracey was hoping to  pass the second jury to become a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild; and we are so happy to announce that she has been accepted! As a member, Tracey hopes to show her work and demonstrate at some of their galleries also.  And she exclaims, “I’m just getting started!!”

 

Tracey McCracken Palmer demonstrates felting a landscape on www.livingfelt.com/blog

Quick Draw demo

We asked Tracey what she might offer to those just getting into felting.
“I would encourage beginning felters to just go for it and give it a try. The best part of wet felting is that you can fix things that don’t come out just as you thought they would by adding a bit of needle felting after it dries. And, you can always pull the wool back off after you’ve needled it in, if it doesn’t suit you. It’s a very user friendly medium, and there are so many things one can make with felt.”

Tracey McCracken Palmer on Felting Landscapes with www.LivingFelt.com/blog

A Warm Welcome Awaits

We sincerely wish Tracey all the best, and don’t be surprised if you see a book of her own coming out one day…just remember, you heard it here first, oh, and buy it! 🙂

Tracey… You Are Brilliant! and Thank you for Felting With Us!

You can follow Tracey on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/BonnieblinkStudio

More work from Tracey on the Living Felt Blog

Needle Felted Picture Forest by Tracey Palmer featured on www.livingfelt.com/blog

Tracey uses a combination of Living Felt MC-1 Felting Batts, Merino Top, Merino Silk Blends, New Zealand Corriedale and other fibers. For the paintings in this post:

Living Felt MC-1 Merino Cross Batts: bamboo, bluegrass, buttercup, true olive, spruce, honeysuckle, foliage, meadow green, shire, birch, vintage brown, winter grey.

Merino Top: yellow, apricot, plum, chocolate, white, black, fir, bottle green, garden ivy, lima bean, olive, mint.

New Zealand Corriedale: cherub, lima, cocoa, candy, apricot, butterscotch, natural white, ice, sky, lagoon, royal, natural light.

Merino silk blends in Woodland for the sky in Moondance, and the water in Borve Beach.

For the tree in Misty Highland Glen, I used your Premium Mohair Locks in Emerald Forest, and of course tussah silk in both waterfalls and Moondance.

Tracey McCracken Palmer Landscape on www.livingfelt.com/blog

Felted Landscape – Fields of Gold!

Tracey McCracken Palmer Landscape on www.livingfelt.com/blog

“Fields of Gold” by Tracey McCracken Palmer, of Bonnieblink Studio in North Carolina.

“I’ve been inspired … by all the beautiful fields of golden buttercups,
so I decided to see if I could felt them – the buttercups in the felting are a bit more golden than in the photo.”

Tracey is a dear person and a talented artist. Previously a painter, she has discovered felt making to bring her visions to life.
We are so grateful that Tracey uses Living Felt fibers in her work, she inspires us greatly! Tracey’s work can be seen at the Twigs and Leaves Gallery in Waynesville, NC and at the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Biltmore Village
at Asheville, NC. More links + an interview with Tracey on our blog.

Visit Tracey’s website: Bonnieblink Studio

See our interview with her:  Tracey Palmer

Felted Picture – Forest with Tiny Faeries

Needle Felted Picture Forest by Tracey Palmer featured on www.livingfelt.com/blog

Tracey Palmer Wins a $25 Gift Certificate to Living Felt!

Tracey says, “I was working on this forest scene, and the wee faeries just moved into the trees !!”
This piece is entitled: “Enchantment”, and she used a variety of fibers including:
Living Felt MC-1 Batts, Merino Top, New Zealand Corriedale and Mohair Locks.

Tracey wet felted the background to establish the basic colors and concept,
and then added detail with needle felting. We love how “alive” this felted picture feels!

A Brilliant Felt Painting: Little Bradley Falls

Little Bradley Falls Felt Painting by Tracey McCracken Palmer featured on www.livingfelt.com/blog

By now you have surely seen Tracey’s incredible felt paintings. We always love sharing her new works with you!

Merino top in White, Bitter Chocolate, Black, Kiwi. Tussah silk also in the waterfall. Cross-batt wools in Buttercup, Willow, Black, Dark Chocolate, Bamboo, True Olive, Lemongrass, and Bonsai for the trees and rocks. Corriedale in Natural Light, Medium and Dark also in the rocks… and I’m sure others that I can’t remember!

“Living Felt has a wonderful selection of colors and types of wool for all the different textures I use in my felt paintings, which I wet felt, then needle felt in more details after it’s dry. I use their Merino Cross-batt wools in so many ways – for clouds, trees, leaves, mountains and stones. Their Merino Top and NZ Corriedale is great for skies, water, trees, smooth green fields, and details everywhere, and Tussah Silk makes the best waterfalls – especially when wet felted! All of their different wools also card well to blend colors for shading. Living Felt has everything we felters need, and are so positive and encouraging to us all.

Thanks so much for everything you do, you folks are the best!!”

– Tracey McCracken Palmer
Bonnieblink Studio

"Mossy Haven" by Tracey McCracken Palmer of Bonnieblink Studio, felt picture with fiber from www.livingfelt.com

Mossy Haven – Felt “Painting”

Bonnieblink Studio"Mossy Haven" by Tracey McCracken Palmer of Bonnieblink Studio, felt picture with fiber from www.livingfelt.com“Mossy Haven”

Tracey McCracken Palmer is a true inspiration.
Her felted art work is exquisite, realistic and rich.
Her work can be seen at the Twigs and Leaves Gallery
in Waynesville, NC and at the Southern Highland Craft Guild
in Biltmore Village at Asheville, NC.
“For “Mossy Haven” I used a photo I took a few years ago
of a wonderful mossy bank, where the huge rounded clumps of moss growing
on the stones coming down from the tree just thrilled me when I saw it.
I knew it would be a felting one day! I changed it just a bit,
making the tree larger and digging the fox a cozy spot for a nap
below the tree roots. I also added the trail up to her mossy haven.
I wet felted the basic scene, leaving much of the mistiness
in the background untouched, then needle felted the details
in the trees, moss & fox”

Tracey always knows the colors she has used! 🙂

MC-1 batts – Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Brown, Birch,
Driftwood, Oatmeal, Willow, Dark Chocolate, True Olive,
Lemon Grass, Bright White
Corriedale – Olive, Kiwi, Lima, Butterscotch, Toffee,
Natural White, Black, Cocoa, Natural Light, Nat. Medium, Nat. Dark

Merino top – Black, Bitter Chocolate, Lima Bean, Smoke
(Some of these are carded together for other colors too)
You can follow Tracey on fb @ Bonnieblink Studio

Wet Felted Painting – Fall Waterfall

Wet Felted Painting by Tracey McCracken Palmer featured on www.livingfelt.com/blog

We love this fall landscape by Tracey McCracken Palmer
She did a beautiful job capturing this fall landscape and reflections in the light.

“Happy Fall, Ya’ll !! I just finished this landscape – “Autumn Cascade”,
and wanted to share it in your Fall is for Felting Fun !! Wools used are your
MC-1 Merino cross-batts in Buttercup, Foliage, True Olive,
and also Corriedale – Black, Cocoa & Butterscotch,
with some carded together for variation.
The waterfall is white merino & corriedale with White Tussah silk top for some sparkle,
and olive carded with a dark gray for shadows.
Trees are just so much fun with your cross-batts !!”