Before I start to talk about these pieces let me say that I have also felted a white Icelandic wool and silk vessel (great as a lampshade!) which I have stiffened on the inside with lightly diluted PVA glue. Success!!!
I used the same template as the medium sized white, brown and orange vessel from earlier in the course of this ArtL!nks project but only laid out two fine layers of wool and a large silk cap covering nearly both sides of the template. Because I wanted to see how the glue would work I just rubbed and rolled the vessel until it was felting together without obvious seams at the edge of the resist and then turned it inside out, inflated a balloon inside and sponged on the diluted PVA to the surface. My idea in trying this method was that while the PVA would strengthen the vessel it would not be totally absorbed by the felt and therefore once I turned the piece right side out to dry I should still have a ‘felterly’ texture to the surface of the felt, in addition to this it would obviously be larger than the firmly felted pieces using the same sized template. Once the glue was sponged on I turned the felt right side out again and inflated another balloon inside before hanging the lot from my ceiling to air dry. Yesterday afternoon I burst the balloon and even though the outside appeared totally dry the inside was still damp at the bottom. By this afternoon however the whole vessel is quite dry and in fact it is incredibly light and almost got blown away in the light breeze when I was trying to photograph it. The silk cap was a waste of time, possibly because the Icelandic wool is coarser than the merino but I was expecting some nice white on white texture and to be honest it almost looks like a glob of glue on the surface! Other than that the felt feels pretty good on the surface and when I hold the vessel up to the light is looks wonderful as a lightshade, more possibilities with this one, maybe using the yoga ball as my template. On Monday the LARGE vessel will start, procrastination ends here as I have now invested in a more expensive yoga ball complete with stronger pump, no excuses now to get the damn thing inflated!!!
Now, on to my ‘more is less’ experimenting. Carmen is always great at sharing any unusual materials she gets with me and recently we were lucky enough to get some large bags of ‘what I am now calling mohair waste which came as big clouds of fibre kind of like an unstructured batt, probably there is a proper name for it but hopefully you can follow my drift! This waste is the fibre removed in the process at woolen mills when woven and washed mohair is brushed to raise the surface creating not surprisingly ‘brushed mohair’ fabric. Part of my ArtL!nks work involves expetimenting with surface detail and although these pieces are totally off the wall as far as my other work is concerned I did have great fun playing around with these. I need a window of a couple days solid felting to complete my LARGE vessels and that is not going to occur until next week starts because I just haven’t had the space/time balance right this one!
Neither of us has ever felted with 100% mohair before so my first piece was a glorious riot of colour and texture which until I started to felt I had no idea if it would be successful or not. Inspired by Robin Blakney Carson from Luckystone Feltworks I wanted to see what the result would be of adding oodles of various embellishments to the surface of the lustrous fibre, this mohair has an amazing sheen. Now I am not for one minute suggesting that my experiments reach anything like the standard of Robin’s students work (they bead, slash, embellish and stitch into their felt as I had the pleasure of seeing at Robin’s workshops in Rhinebeck) but it was fun to just throw caution to the wind and play around with oodles of different materials and fibres and see how they would all combine with the mohair! Unfortunately I have run out of time now but you can check my Flickr photos for more details (some notes about the materials on this picture) and to see the vessel I felted from mohair with a gotland/merino lining, info to follow next post! Tweet