|Students work from the Workshop|
Recently I attended a workshop to create felt vessels with Hilly Edwards at our local Westbury Arts Centre. It has been a while since I have done any felt making and was tempted to have another try by the lovely vessels Hilly makes. I find felting quite vigorous with all the rolling but thought the smaller nature of the vessels might be easier to achieve (and easier on my neck!)
Hilly had brought lots of beautifully coloured felt batts in different fibres from merino wool to natural Blue Faced Leicester. On the few occasions I have made felt I have always used merino tops so this was a lovely new experience. It was quicker using the batts rather than laying out tufts of the merino tops, which is always a bonus. The process was the same, laying out the fibres; felting them together with warm water and soap; laying a circular mask resist of plastic foam on the top; drawing the fibres over and felting a new piece over the top, so the mask is sealed inside. I should have taken pictures of this but was so involved it didn't happen. You can find a great tutorial here. The process is then repeated a few times until there are enough layers to make the vessel strong enough to hold it's shape and the fibres are combined and felted together.
Like all things that are worth while, it was quite hard work but it was possible to complete sitting down. There was not a lot of rolling involved, more working the fibres with your hands, which was much more manageable. I could take my time, ease the kinks in the shoulders and neck and still achieve something by the end.
Here is my first ever vessel
I chose natural fibres with some purple merino batts sandwiched in the layers. The pink ring round the top is a piece of tapestry wool added during the felting process.
During the afternoon I created another slightly larger shape with a tulip shaped top. As I dislike the colours I chose and the felting is not very good it has been banished and there is no picture of it.
I was probably getting tired, but that is no excuse for the awful colour choice!
Since the workshop there have been a few more vessels using the merino tops that have been stashed in the garage for ages.
These two have got small battery operated candles in them. The second one works better as the layers are lighter so the light can shine through. The shaping could be improved and maybe if I practice more that will get better. It would be great to experiment more and try different shapes and is definitely on my "to do" list.
It may have to wait until the New Year though........