Productive weekend playing with surface embellishment on felt vessels, stiffening experiment number one underway too

Continuing with the theme of sculptural felt for my ArtL!nks work, this weekend I played around with surface embellishment.  Between Friday afternoon and Sunday night I felted one small vessel incorporating a plastic net (the net that my clemintines came in) at the lay out stage and another medium sized one with leather and seed bead embellishments, these I stitched to the vessel prior to the final drying and shaping.  An email from Connie in relation to beading felt prompted me to create the stitched piece, I need to collect another roll of laminate floor underlay and 50m bubble wrap in Kilkenny on Wednesday so until then I can’t start on my largest vessel, playing around with surface design and starting to experiment with stiffeners and fabric paint seemed like a good way of continuing the project while having fun at the same time! 

Little leather leaves, seed beads, white vessel and sewing tools

The idea for adding the leather leaves and seed beads was inspired by a purse I saw in one of the Stampington magazines, I will explore my untidy studio and upload the name as soon as I get my hands on the magazine!  Because I made the vessel in pure white without any prefelt cutouts it was nice just to concentrate on the form and enjoy feeling the wool felting under my hands.  Once the vessel was felted and shaped I started to stitch the little leather shapes around the brim.  Felt is a wonderful medium to stitch into (if the felt is thick enough and not paper thin) because for most sewing projects it is possible to hide any thread ends and loose ends within the fabric thus leaving a totally clean reverse to the stitched side. 

Stitching on the first leaf

It didn’t actually take as long as I anticipated to stitch on the leaves and now the vessel has a balloon inside it once more to keep it in shape until it is 100% dry, I will post a photo as soon as this is last stage is completed.

The other sculpture/vessel entailed stretching a plastic orange net around my resist, laying three layers of brown merino on top of this followed by one layer of yellow fibre.  I didn’t trap the netting at all and hoped that the torn edges in some spots would add the the surface interest, the plastic incorporated well but I am not totally sure if I am happy with the colour combination and design now it is drying, possible less plastic would have been more in this little sample! 
Little plastic orange net and merino sculpture/vessel

This morning I have created and stiffened a medium sized vessel using Icelandic wool, loads of soap and cold water a la Anna Gunnarsdottier.  More about this vessel next post, stiffeners again and tools we all use for fulling our felt.  Thanks for all your comments to date re stiffeners, much appreciated!

No heat now and planning a large felt sculpture

Agh, now my heat has gone this morning so no water at all plus no heat today = no felting until services resume on Tuesday with the planned arrival of the plumber yet again!  I did manage to carry up enough water from my neighbours yesterday morning to use in the experimental nuno felting workshop (all went well) but have decided to put some time into planning a LARGE felt sculpture over the next two days and not drag tonnes of water up the hill and wear myself out with all the effort!! 

Small felt sculpture


For this large sculptural piece I am going to expand on the technique I learnt from amazing Icelandic felter Anna Gunnarsdottier at the large felt sculpture workshop I attended last July at the Felt in Focus Symposium in Denmark.  As you can see, the small green and maroon sculpture which I made just after Christmas is three sided and by using Anna’s technique of multiple resists stitched together it is possible to get huge finished pieces with multiple sides, the only limit is how large you can visualise the finished sculpture to be!  I want to make a submission for Sculpture in Context again and also work towards something unusual and creative for the Annual RDS Crafts Competition (Royal Dublin Society).  Anna also showed us how it was possible to mend and repair our three dimensional pieces anywhere they were weak, this has opened up loads of avenues because she really appeared to ‘rescue’ work which previously I would have thought was totally beyond redemption.  By applying this repair technique it means that I can be much more adventures with my shapes than I otherwise might have been so over the next few days I want to plot, plan and challenge myself in preparation for Tuesdays resumption of services and my first large felt sculpture of 2010!