I have spent a LOT of today making a large felt vessel using some of my new Icelandic wool and thankfully the weather improved enough in the afternoon for photographing so I am at last starting to put it up for sale on Etsy. In order to have less shrinkage than normal I used Anna Gunnersdottir’s method of felting with loads of soap and hardly any water, it takes a bit of getting used to but it definitely seems to work! I used a resist that I had cut out ages ago using my dustbin (garbage can!) for a template and weighed the wool to make sure that both sides had the same amount of wool. The batts are exceptionally easy to lay out, just seperate the bigger pile into layers and then place the wool wherever you want it! I used a gorgeous natural dark brown wool with chestnut highlights for the base of the vessel and white for the upper part to provide a nice bit of contrast. When felting with the cold water it is best to use a liquid soap. I had some Ecover floor cleaner that worked well, it’s a bit harsher on your hands than olive oil soap but not to bad in the overall scheme of things. You need to rub and rub the wool for AGES before you can start any rolling or fulling. Because of the amount of soap you really need to be quite sure with the pinch test (pinch some wool in your fingers and if it lifts up like fabric instead of fibre you can proceed to the next stage) before cutting the hole to remove the resist. Then you need to seal the cut edges of the felt before running your hand inside the package and felting a bit around where the edge of the resist is. Once you are happy that everything is holding well together remove the resist and proceed to full. I still find it absolutely amazing that a pile of loose fluffy fibres can form a strong and structural vessel, it never ceases to fascinate me how simple the process is and how complex the result may be! I used just under 300g for this large vessel, the same amount could easily make 3 smaller ones or a very nice bag.
I love the shape and the two tones./ looks like great wool for felting. I would be interested, do you think the shipping is reasonable for about a pound or so…thanks c
I really like that you worked an edge on top, quite a detail that sets it apart from other bowls! 🙂
That wook seems to be ery good for structural projects. Probably for carpets and tapestry too, right?? I just wonfer if the hairs would migrate a lot if had some color roving on top (say on a tapestry)… you know changes the color hues … Anyway, looks fantastic.
Hi Nicola, seems the same technique I had learned from the finnish couple Karolinna Avrilomni and Rod Welch. They used soap made from the pine-trees. Loads of water and indeed rubbing for ages with a minimum of rolling. We made a rug (and at that time I just was back from Turkey where Mehmet teach me did the opposite in making a felted rug) That’s makes making felt so interesting. Btw this vessel is great – i should give it a try too!
Wow Nicola, What a stunning piece! So interesting to read your technique of using lots of soap and little water. I haven’t taken anywhere near as many classes as you, but one of the instructors that I had got after someone (in a nice sort of way:-) ) for using too much soap. And then, Dorie’s comments above about the differing instructor’s opinions of rolling vs. rubbing. It really is fascinating, isn’t it? I guess what we learn, is that there really is no right or wrong way of felt-making. Different techniques work for different people, and then you take into account all of the different varieties of wool, and we could be in this learning process for a very long time. That will keep us all young, won’t it…The eternal students. I love it. Also, I totally concur with your statement about being in awe of how what starts out as a pile of loose fibers, turns into a beautiful work of art by day’s end. Now, I just wish I could get all those dust bunnies lurking in the corners of my house to do the same!
Thanks so much for sharing this photo and the technique that you used.
Nicola words escape me. This is one of your true master pieces. I am in awe, (as usual with your creations). Funny you should mention the little water, lots of soap method, because by accident that is how I made my new collars. They were so long and I did not want a huge mess in my studio. HAHA. It was not my intention, nor did I have a hankering for experimenting it was just the combination of listening to some Celtic music(radio) and trying to be tidy while felting.
Oh! I agree with Dawn, eternal students with magnanimous amount of material to conquer. Thanks for sharing your stunning success with us.
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