Felting with elastic structures

I love nothing more than the chance to experiment at felting in the company of other makers so an elastic structures event organised by the good folk at the International Feltmaking Association, seemed like the perfect chance to nourish my creativity, drink tea and mingle. Wow, those felters love their thickly-coated chocolate biscuits, but then it is high-energy, intensive work. The workshop was  inspired by Annette Quentin-Stoll’s exquisitely concertinaed or coral-like felted objects. Even if some of my own pieces ended up looking like small pink nipples it was great to see what direction others took this project in. We mainly brought along flat pre-felts in various fibres, whilst some, like Cathy, worked on a 3D purse into which she stitched several rows of yarn before drawing the ends in tightly and squeezing the life out of the thing.

The idea is to pleat the pre-felt or tie in objects shibori-style to create 3D effects. You then wet felt the piece, rinse and allow it to dry out, effectively giving it a ‘perm’. This pleating style really does give the felt an elastic quality.  This fabulous piece  below has dozens of screws tightly sewn in and is rather delectable in its’ own right.

And here are some of mine, pre and post-felting, including the nipple variety!

Hmm, what to do with them now?

Aha! So, plenty of food for thought and I’ll definitely be experimenting further with this technique.

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2 Responses to Felting with elastic structures

  1. Cande says:

    Hi there,
    I just stumbled upon your blog as a new felter. I have been trying to work with textures and shifts like pebbles and coins but without much success.

    So my question is this: when you speak about your pre felted pieces that you used to texture, how felted is pre felt? Is it felted just enough to hold together or has it been fulled a bit?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Thanks for your question. You’re right, the term pre-felt is open to interpretation and depends on the project. For decorative purposes I do use it to mean a piece that’s been barely felted, just enough to hold it together. For a piece with a more definite edge when you cut it I would felt it a little further. In the article above I actually used needlepunch felt which I bought from a supplier and other participants who were a bit more organised than me (well, don’t have young kids!) brought along fairly well felted pre-felts. It can help to make sample pieces, even very small, to test out how much you need to rub – too much and it won’t tangle into the rest of your felt. I hope that helps!

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