Cropped felt top, submission for ‘The climate is Changing’ and recommended magazine to buy

My flu appears to have abated somewhat so I am taking this opportunity of posting about the very exciting top that I felted for myself this week while getting fed and minded like a baby at Carmen’s!  I really hate sewing and for a long time have wanted to make some stylish felt wearables for myself but until Sigrid Bannier’s recent trip to Ireland have always resisted the mental thought process that needs to happen before confidently handling such large scale clothing projects.  In tandem with this, for the last 5 months I have been desperately trying to think up my response to the international call for submissions for a juried travelling exhibition portraying the impact of human actions on the environment.  ‘The Climate is Changing’ should be a challenge that I can rise to given the Green Party aspect of my background but until I finally crystallized my thoughts during a recent hike through Lassen Volcanic National Park my brain seemed absolutely dead as to how I could interpret my ideas into a piece of felt.  Without giving too much away I have also been totally inspired by an interview with Thomas Horst (my absolute favourite American felter to date!) and his details of how to make a felted coat, I can’t recommend enough buying the Fall edition of ‘Living Crafts’ to check this out for yourselves.  Thomas uses an electric sander a lot in his work and for the project detailed in the magazine the wool used shrinks by 25%.  This got me to thinking that if I rubbed or sanded my work for a significantly longer period of time than I usually do and coupled this with cooler water and less rolling would I achieve a strong and finished felt garment with less shrinkage than I usually build in?  The answer is YES!  This means that now I have a felting method that achieves a gorgeous surface finish and doesn’t need the gigantic resists that I was always imagining would be required if I needed to allow 50% shrinkage for larger wearable articles.  The unusually styled cropped top that I made for myself during the week is a generous size, has a gorgeous high neck and is made from just over 200g of the softest merino.  I laid it out on a backing of cotton gauze for drape and stability and used some of the gorgeous silk hankies and twists that I got in Denmark as surface decoration, with a little manipulation (read more concentration cutting up the cotton gauze!) this would have made a wonderful reversible nuno top.  Now I have a clear idea of how I am going to proceed to create my submission.  Forgive me if I don’t give a total step by step description or an idea of the shape of my garment but I need to get the application sorted out first and one of the conditions is that no details or images of the work have been talked about or published prior to the juried stage of ‘The Climate is Changing’.

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