The family was at my house for Thanksgiving this year. Well, some of them anyway. We had a lot of fun and one of things we did was try out felting. They were interested in making vessels. For first time projects these turned out pretty good. I think they have an appreciation for the process of creating useful items out of wool fibers and now they know why I am sore and tired after a day of felting.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
For one thing, I've learned to take better pictures. I have a space set up in my studio for taking pictures and I have specific props.
This is my latest creation, 3 years later. I have learned a lot in those years. This purse uses silk on the outside which is laminated onto the wool which is inside. I still use a resist so that the purse is made in one piece and I have complicated it a bit to include a double resist so that I have a pocket inside. My handles are more complex for each purse and instead of being sewn on the outside these are sewn inside. Usually I would felt them into the purse but these had to be measured to a particular person so they were added last.
Right now I think a lot about the details of each purse; the inside, the outside, the closure, the flap, the handles, whether the bottom will be flat or rounded. And I use a felt stiffener so that the purse is more durable.
I think it is useful to go back and really document progress. I still like the earlier models and think they are beautiful and unusual. These later models are really not better in the sense that the early ones failed to meet a standard. The later models are merely an increased awareness of the properties of wool and how one can create a complex piece of fabric from the wool.
Friday, November 5, 2010
These are 3 of the first purses I created back then in September, 2007. Today, after 3 years of learning and becoming more experienced at manipulating wool, I still think these are pretty good. They have unusual shapes and are a creative use of wool. I like their organic qualities and the flowers that adorn them are pretty and different. I still love using curly locks to add texture and I still like uneven edges that have a lacy quality about them. They utilize wool from Rainbow Fleece Farms in Wisconsin which I still use and they are created using a resist.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
I've been really working on my process for table rugs - any rugs for that matter. When I first began felting wool I discovered that layering shapes onto dry wool and then trying to wet everything down often just created a mess. The shapes didn't stay where they were supposed to stay was the first big problem. The second really big problem was that I would end up with holes in the wool because I couldn't tell where I needed additional wool.
So, then I began needle felting my shapes so that they stayed together during the wet felting process. I still couldn't tell where my wool was too thin and ended up with thick and thin spots in my rug. Now I needle the whole thing. I can pick it up and hold it toward the light and tell immediately where I need to add wool. I can also "paint" the canvas that is created when one needles the base wool. That is what I discovered when creating this particular table rug. I was having so much fun "painting" with my needle that I got carried away into another world.
The wet felting process goes so much smoother when the whole rug is needled. All the shapes remained clear. The colors of wet felted wool tend to soften as the base wool is worked through. Its really a beautiful thing.