Wednesday, August 21, 2013

30 Minute Felt Project: Brachyura

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 a productions mindset, 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.

  In my studio I have a whole collection of bones and shells, hairs, and glass....beach and forest collections of natural forms....Today's 30 minute felt project is inspired by one of these....a simple crab shell picked up on a beach walk one afternoon....

I've been working on a lot of white, very large pieces recently, and colour called for this little project. Funny how we need creative breaks even within our creative days....I felt that I really needed a 30 minute felt project today as a treat from making big, new, (exciting) other felt projects...I used some C1-Pelsul from New England Felting Supply. Absolutely a dream fibre; an all time gorgeous to work with....

I cut a simple crab inspired resist from laminate flooring underlay foam, laid out an underlayer of the wool, and wetted out.

 Some natural black Finn wool for shadowing on the tips...

I rolled the wool into cords over the interior resist for the tips and then rolled on the bubble wrap surface to round the tips out to the points. 

And then I hit the question mark point as I often have in these 30 minute felts....I wanted to have a lime green shell interior, with a silk layer and silk resist pockets...but in my quick initial layout I wasn't certain about the placement so rather than spend time thinking about it, I decided to move on and add it later, at the prefelt stage....

Once at the prefelt stage however, this delay in design placement seemed very things often get when I put things off! I carefully lifted my overlayers and resist and laid out the green wools, resists, and then the silks.  It would have been much easier to do at the beginning...and usually with a project- thought out and sketched and with no very short timelines, that is how it would have happened...but this 30 minute felt challenge is not about getting everything right...just doing something's all fine!

I completed the design for the outside, and started rolling....first gently over the top with a pipe....

...then rolling it up within the bubble wrap....

 Continuing with this rolling, rubbing and tossing on the table....along with working on the tips, until my 30 minutes ran out....

 In my usual work process I would continue to felt this for another 15-20 stay in keeping with the 30 minute felt concept, I did stop, but did get that extra fulling time in during the rinsing process! A little cheat maybe, butI've never great at following rules...even when they are my own!

I steamed the finished felt, shaved some parts, clamped pleats into the surface to add shaping and rolled and pulled the felt into it's final form and left to dry.

And...taa daa.... the finished felt....

Quite different form the original crab shell..but that's just how inspiration goes...and I like that the shell still has so much to offer in ideas for future projects...

It takes me about 3 times longer to write about making this than it took to make it! How funny! But there is pleasure certainly in this process also and sharing these ideas!

Back out to the studio for me, and back to the great white silent project on my felting the creation of the Joomchi Felt workbook.....

Warm wishes,


  1. Nice to see this. A fine concept-the freely creative 30 minutes! And a fine outcome in my opinion..happy silent white felting next. WIll look forward to seeing the next installments. Good memories from last July for me..having visited your studio I can visualize where you might be doing all this!

  2. Very sweet to see your inspiration turn into reality, lovely work ..

  3. Thank you for writing about this. It is so inspiring - and it is so important to have these "playtime's" away from the rest of the felting - interesting things happens when you play...;-)

  4. Lovely to see the stages involved in photos - thank you for your creativity

  5. Great Idea! Great Photos! Great writing and sharing of theProcess! Great Piece!!! Thanks for the Inspiration Too!

  6. beautiful....and wonderful tips! I have followed your work for the past couple of years. would love to one day take a workshop.

  7. Fiona I live far away from you .Your fantastic creation arises only good feelings.idea from siberia

  8. That is awesome! Better still, you make it look so achievable. Thank you.

  9. Think that I must have a go at something like this!

  10. A very productive 30 minutes + a little more time:) Especially loved the idea of using the use of the 'clamps'