Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 Minute Felt Project- Stacked Vessels

These 30 minute felt projects are an opportunity to come to the creative table with no expectations- just a short intensive, mind-wide-open exploration...It can be easy as a craftsperson to get stuck in productions ruts, and this is an exercise to give ourselves permission to play within our medium. This is not about creating felt quickly;  it is about setting aside an amount of time that feels reasonable in our busy days to create freely.

This mornings inspiration came from a stack of handmade ceramic bowls that my sons made in a brilliant class with super talented Julie MacKinnon. They are so beautiful in their form. 

I knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge, but also an exciting pursuit!

I started off with my two wools- Norwegian and Finn, some pencil rovings, two round foam resists and my hot water/felting solution ready to go.

I started with the smaller resist and laid out the wool to cover both sides.

Hand-dyed silver pencil rovings wrapped around the form. I am using these almost everyday in the studio right now. I am so drawn to very simple white and grey shadings.  I was not entirely certain on how they would be positioned once I attached the two forms together and later shaped them, but that's part of this exercise- it doesn't matter too much how the end result will I let go of that wondering and moved on...

 Covering the second resist with two layers of wool rovings.

And now I hit an A-ha kind of moment. If I laid my smaller vessel on top of the other, they would be joined to form a shape like an insect body or two bubbles attached together....not the intention...( although a fun one for another day!)...
What is the inside-out-backward way of thinking with resists to get them to create the form I wanted them too?  Ah yes.....A little cutting was necessary, but first I felted the vessels to the prefelt stage.

To create the correct form for this experiment, I needed to nest the one resist within the other, with only a small area of wool in direct contact.  I cut away an opening of wool, and also the underlying resist.

 ...then laid the second vessel form on top, wool now in contact, with some bubble wrap around the edges to keep them from joining completely.

Lots of rolling and rubbing and kneading....

I decided to make some openings in the larger form, so that the inner felt form would be revealed.

Time to get the resists out, and felt fast....

 Time is up and the double form is revealed.  Very fun....It's interesting like this. Reminds me of those dolls that can have their skirts turned to reveal a second figure. The two vessels are now felted together, one inside the other, in a seamless whole.

Rinsed, shaped, stuffed and drying.

Quite a fun experiment! In the next 30 minute felt project,  I think I'll scale back my these last two "small" projects have been a challenge to finish, and something a little less complex would make the whole exercise even more light and interesting! Definitely successful in achieving the goal though- I'd love to make another dozen of these, giving them more time to create more complex forms, layout the wool fibres more evenly, and full the felt more thoroughly. Most often when working off an image or object for inspiration, I don't want to have that around me when creating, so that it has inspired the piece but only as a notion. In this case I actually wish I'd kept the bowls in front of me, as I wanted to achieve those very simple, shallow forms and smooth surfaces. I got a little carried away! Next time..

Sharing these projects here has got me thinking about how great it would be to be able to share them in a video format...and that leads on to another topic for another day!
Happy fibre play!
Warm wishes,


  1. I'm really enjoying these 30 minute projects, and seeing the process and discovery unfold (although I hope you're crediting yourself the time spent photographing.)

    The idea of a playful exercise is a good one. I hope it's beneficial to your practice and that you'll continue to share.


    1. Thank you for visiting, Shana, and for your comments!

      I am so enjoying these projects....I wish I could do one everyday!
      Lots of other bigger projects ongoing in the studio though also that must be finished. I plan to continue with these 30 minute felt projects at least until September, then it might be time for a break...and something new!

  2. Very artistic creation. Beautiful decoration and functional as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Terriea!
      I have enjoyed reading about your recent trip on blogs and FB-so wonderful! Thank you for visiting!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love it!

  4. Hola, recien estoy comenzando con el fieltro, me atrae mucho el diseño, es una tecnica apasionante, gracias, desde Montevideo Uruguay