Upscaling felt for final piece

For my final piece I am using felt as my main material which I have bought online from World of Wool. I have bought different amounts of the different colours my main colour is a cream for the base layer I have 800g of this colour I have bought a 100g of shades of greens , browns and greys. I have also bought yarns and Saari silk from etsy and ebay. All my receipts are in the back of my sketchbook.

I am making my own felt pieces that I will construct from mohair wool fiber and will assemble them over the plinths to make them appear as if they are growing. I have been mainly inspired to make this piece by my interest in the natural world and how the natural world grows all around us without us really noticing.

I have been inspired by Antony Gormley after reading the book LAND his figures each day are ever changing due to weathering, erosion, the sea etc. I am fascinated by the way our natural world attacks what we put out there. I am interested in moss and lichen and the ever changing woodlands and this is mainly what my piece will be about. I have sampled some small 3d felt pieces and some flat pieces they will be attached to larger pieces and I will build layers in order to create the look I am desiring. However, in order to complete this look I need to go bigger and work bigger. Felt when making it naturally shrinks it is a quite unpredictable material to work with and you can never guarantee  the size it will be after wet felting.

The process

Making felt is time consuming firstly you use hot soapy water this is so the felt fibres attach together it makes the bonds strong. You need bubble wrap a woven cloth and towel. I start by selecting the colours used for the chosen piece I have used a lot of materials to mould around such as bottles, cups bowls to create shape. I have been working on my felt pieces for 2 weeks. I start by laying the fibers down over the shape and then adding yarns and materials to add additional colour and texture. Then adding soapy water and then you start by rubbing the felt using the cloth once it begins to mould you then roll and apply harder pressure to the felt so it “felts up”. Each piece roughly takes between 15-20 minutes.

Adding to the process

I plan to manipulate the felt after using the embellishing machine to add fibers and yarns to the felt. Also I plan to gather some of the felt adding pleats and folds. At the beginning of the project I looked at Issy Miyake the designer uses pleates and folds and you can see the correlation in the garments and the natural world. By adding pleats and folds to some of my felt pieces it will add more texture a better surface quality and give the effect of underneath a mushroom / tree bark.

What problems have I faced?

When making the felt it can be really tiring as you have to use a lot of pressure and rubbing of the felt to make it work. Additionally, some of the pieces have not held in position of a 3d form this is because I did not felt it correctly by molding it round the shape at the beginning. To rectify this, I have added starch by making a starch solution with my technician using a powder and adding water by putting the felt piece back around the shape it was meant to be and wetting with the solution. The starch has made the felt solid so that it stays in shape and holds and looks really effective.

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