To provide a taste of what goes into creating three dimensional felted forms, I made the following short video on January 15th at NBCCD. I was working on our second assignment, a small vessel using merino wool, hemp (the twine looking fibre), and a second grey wool fibre.
To felt with secondary fibres basically means to learn to mix other materials with your wool that you are felting to create interesting two dimensional and three dimensional forms. Some such materials are (but are not limited to…): silk, hemp, cotton, any type of hair, bamboo (fibre or reed), lace/ribbon, and the list goes on.
This is olive oil soap (I used a bar made by KISS MY FACE), the soap acts as a lubricant when it comes time to agitate the fibres – this is what felts -or knots- the merino wool fibres together. You grate the bar of soap, add water and let it sit overnight. The following day you add more water and whisk it together. (Yummmy looking, isn’t it!?!)
*And HOT water, and bubble wrap to agitate the fibres.
Next is a little photo essay that outlines the steps taken to get the fibres to the stage which it exists in the video;
Here, the pile of fibres have been turned over and you can see the plastic circular pattern which guides the size and shape of the vessel being made.
Here the fibres have been wet down, and the secondary fibres (grey wool, silk, and hemp) have been folded over onto the top of the plastic pattern. At this point the fibres are worked/agitated by hand – and from the centre – to begin the actual felting stage of the process.
This is the video is a second time, now in its proper place in the felting process:
Here is the form before it was turned inside out to create a more sculpturally challenging form.