Embracing the mistakes in making…

Wet felting is a very organic process for me. I figure things out as I go. Therefore…I am constantly making mistakes that I have to incorporate. (I rarely just throw something away.) Since I am often changing mediums and therefore almost always experimenting, I make a lot of mistakes. But for me, these are opportunities rather than failures.
For this particular felted wool vessel, I wet felted natural alpaca roving around a ball. Because I wanted the walls of the vessel to be rather thick, I wrapped about six layers of roving around a three inch diameter ball. If you have ever done any felting, then you know the unwieldy mound of fluff that six layers becomes. Conventional felting wisdom recommends using pre-felted pieces, or needle felting before wet felting in order to prevent the layers from slipping around. But I just go ahead and wet felt the whole thing. And the layers slip. And bunch. And do all sorts of uncontrolled things. Wrinkles form. The overall shape is imperfect. And for a moment I am disappointed; maybe I even put the misshapen vessel aside for awhile. But I don’t forget it. I look at it every now and then while continuing with other projects.
And then one day an idea comes to me. I decide to highlight the wrinkles by stitching a pattern in wool yarn. Thus the wrinkles are meant to be. They give purpose to the stitching which in turn enhances an otherwise plain vessel.
And that is a perfect example of my creative process; organic, experimental, inclusive, additive.

This item is for sale on Etsy

Wet felting surprises; using inclusions…

It is unusual for me to make anything more than once. New inspiration combined with an insatiable desire to experiment with new materials and techniques means I often make one and am done. But these felted vessels have held my interest. They are challenging yet can be made in a few hours. The process is familiar but little variations create interesting surprises. And of course, I just love wet felting. For this piece, I used black alpaca roving for the mat, but included a couple layers of white roving to cover the inclusion (a large Easter egg) before covering the whole piece again with more black roving. During the felting process, the white roving started to blend with the black making the vessel a dark gray. Once the inclusion was removed, the white was exposed on the inside of the vessel, creating a nice contrast with the black mat.