Sunday, November 21, 2010

Felt, Felt and More Felt

In my quest to refine my felting skills as much as possible before leaving the UK, I outreached to a felt artist based near Birmingham and she graciously agreed to host me for a day of felting fun. Deborah Allen is an amazing artist and lovely woman who taught me so much. While I knew the basics for the projects we worked on, it was incredibly helpful to watch her technique and glean all the little tips and tricks she has picked up from experience. You can find her work at and there is a link to her Etsy site there - she has some beautiful work for sale if you're looking for a unique Christmas gift!
The first item on our agenda was a pair of slippers using Styrofoam shoe lasts, Icelandic wool batts, and some silk for embellishment. I am so in love with the colour combination I chose! Unfortunately, I didn't make them in my size as I'm usually more of a barefoot kind of girl, but now that I have them I think I might just have to make a pair in my size. I'm planning on doing some hand embroidery on these, just haven't decided what yet. I've also ordered some leather hide and will be adding some soles as well. Hmmmmm... who do I know who wears a size 5/6 (cdn sizing) who needs some cozy, warm slippers for Christmas...

The second item we worked on was a felted vessel using a resist. I used a lovely musterd merino wool with hand-dyed (by Deborah) silk. For my first proper attempt at resist felting, I think I did okay - there are a few ridges and the shape is a little asymmetrical, but overall I was pleased. At home I added some Austrian crystals and mustard-dyed freshwater pearls.
I've always been an advocate of practice-makes-perfect, sooooo....
...I soon decided to work on a second vessel! I cut a resist out of a flexible Ikea placemat and proceeded to use the methods Deborah taught me. (You'll have to excuse the bad lighting in these pics - it was late in the day and our kitchen is a bit dark at the best of times.)
I used four colours of merino wool and some mulberry silk and sari silk for embellishment. Here the fibres have started to shrink enough to pull at the resist and crumple it. Time to make a cut and release the resist...
...after a bit more rolling, it starts to take shape.
Next I blew up a balloon inside and proceeded to work out the wrinkles and shape the vessel...
...And here it is! Dry and perfect! I was so pleased - No wrinkles. No ridges. Awesome shape. Awesome colours. I love it! I'm going to bead a few bits around the lip but for now, I'm enjoying it exactly as is :-)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dawn, your vessels are fantastic! The one you started here is has turned out very nicely indeed (for a first one especially!!). The second one is gorgeous - I LOVE the colours that you have used. Beautiful work!

    Im so glad that you enjoyed the day - I did too, we are very like minded I think! Thank you for the lovely blog mention.

    Good luck ith your upcoming move - hope it goes smoothly.

    Deborah x