The Felted Vessel

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My first introduction to felt making was seeing a felted vessel that a friend had made.  I didn’t understand what I was seeing or how it was crafted.  It looked strange, pod-like: more organic than most sculptural forms.  Soon after this introduction, I learned the basics of flat, wet felt making as well as felting around a resist (to create a vessel) and I was very quickly in love with the craft.

Creating a felted vessel can be a very utilitarian project: to make mittens, booties, a hat or seamless garment, a pocketbook.  For me, making a felted vessel always feels magical and kind of spiritual as bits of fiber evolve under my hands into something with substance that can do a job!  I tell my students that the more work you want a felted object to do, the more you have to work the fiber.  So a scarf, that basically sits there and looks pretty, does not take as much work as a handbag that needs to hold things and carry weight.  (Nuno felting, in which wool fibers are coaxed into migrating through silk or other fabric, is an exception to this rule.)

I wear a small handbag almost every day, to carry a cell phone.  Walking the dog, doing errands, even in the garden — I like the convenience of having a light-weight bag with a long strap worn across my chest so I can readily reach for phone, keys, cash, tissues.  Creating a small felted handbag that would embody a theme, so that each time I wear it and use it I would be reminded of that theme, is very appealing to me.  Perhaps the theme would remind me to “relax,” or “breathe,” or to bring compassion to whatever I’m doing at the moment.  It’s very empowering to have the skill to craft functional items; and it’s delightful to share this skill with others by teaching feltmaking!IMG_1620

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Published in: on July 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment