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Utterly useless – a watering can that can’t hold water!

Utterly useless – a watering can that can’t hold water!

Inspiration: US Sculptor Rogan Gregory’s piece

Okay! I will admit it! I have a big thing about shapes.  Sometimes it keeps me up at night.  Over the Christmas between planning what to do with all the leftover turkey the dog hadn’t managed to steal (I had no idea he could jump THAT high) my mind got to thinking about book resists and how introducing a hole in the resist would totally transform the shape of the piece.  Then in the New Year I came across this felting challenge on social media (thank you Mia Hartgroves) which involved producing a wet felted interpretation of this watering can, created by the US Sculptor Rogan Gregory.  In my mind it ticked all the boxes.  I love the shaping around the handle and I reckoned the overall shape could be achieved with an asymmetrical book resist.  Plus I got to put a hole in the resist!

First was the sketching.  Not my strongest point but this year it’s on my to do list to practice more.  Normally I just do my calculations in my head and visualise (no wonder I’m awake half the night).  From a practical viewpoint I knew that I needed to get out the pad so I started small and grew the piece over a number of iterations.  Soon I had my pattern as the drawing had grown sufficiently to fit on an A3 page. I reckoned when designing the resist that it was important that a line could be drawn through the pattern so that each page would have sufficient area to accommodate the laying down of the fibre.  This was going to be especially important at the spout end of the design.  Also, the placement of the hole for the handle was important as I wanted to capture some of the curvature on the sculpture.  Once adjustments were made to accommodate these factors, I finalised the pattern and cut out the resist.  The resist has three pages; two to accommodate the bulk at the bottom and one at the top.  Therefore I cut the pattern twice, sewed along the centre of the resist and then stuck the two layers (where the handle was) together.  At that point I was ready to felt.  I chose Corriedale (grey) and I planned to embellish the piece with grey viscose.  Viscose has a beautiful sheen so I reckoned I could capture some of the shine of the original piece with this fibre.

Three page resist

I started with the bottom page of the resist as this was the one part of the project which could remain undisturbed once it was laid down.  First layer was laid north/south and second east/west as I wanted the top direction of the fibre to flow with the direction of the piece.  Viscose was then added and it was wetted down. Once a skin had formed on the fibre I covered it with some light plastic (decorator’s plastic) and folded over the page, making sure that the plastic remained next to the fibre.

The bottom of the resist ready for laying down the fibre
Ready for wetting out
Gently does it!
Turning attention to the top pages

Turning my attention to the top (handle) side of the resist, I set about folding in the excess fibre from the underside. To avoid build-ups I trimmed back some of the excess by pulling away and discarding the fibre.  I paid particular attention to the spout.  As the Corriedale fibres were long there was a danger that I would end up with a build up of layers at the top of the spout.  I did the unthinkable and cut back some of the excess with my scissors.  Then it was time to lay down the first layer of fibres.   Again in a north/south direction, I paid particular attention to two areas; I broke the long fibres in half so that I did not crowd (too many layers) the spout; I also took care when placing the fibres around the handle area – I laid the fibre on the bottom part of the handle and then tucked it into the other side of the resist.  Once that was safely tucked away I was able to continue to cover the rest of the side tucking in the fibre about the remaining section of the hole.   I laid down only one layer and repeated the process on the other side of the resist.

First layer paying particular attention to the hole
Wrapping the wool at the hole

Once both sides were covered with one layer of fibre I wet them down, tucked it in and set about working a skin on it.  Then it was time to decide where to place my fishing line into the felt so I scoped it out with pins, measured and added extra for the ‘overflow’ from the can.  I cut 6 lengths of fishing line (3 for each side) then tacked them down onto the fibre.  I made sure that they were symmetrical on each side of the resist.  I threaded the ends of the fishing line through a straw so that I had some control over them when I was tacking them down.

Scoping out the positioning of the fishing line
The tacking begins …
All secure and ready for the next stage

Once secured, I put the second layer on the top two sides of the resist.  I was once again mindful of the hole and the spout.  I checked to make sure that the spout end of the resist was still visible as I did not want this end to felt together. I applied the viscose fibre to the two top sections of the resist.   After that I felted the whole piece (placing decorator’s plastic on both sides of the top to stop the fibres being disturbed as I worked on each of the pages) and rolled it until it started to shrink.  Then I removed the resist.  I cut into the bottom section of the hole. I did not remove any of the felt just sliced through this section and then sealed it.  Once these were sealed I started the fulling process until I was happy with the size. 

Cutting the hole in the prefelt and removing the resist
Time to Shape

I wanted more definition on the curvature around the handle so I decided to stiffen the piece.  I soaked the can in a dilution (Golden GAC Medium-800) stuffed it and left it to dry. 

I’m pretty pleased with the end result.  If I was making it again I think I would use more fishing line in the piece, perhaps including it in the bottom section.  That way it might not look as if the line is flowing through the top section only.  At the moment the line (representing water) seems to be defying gravity. 

I thoroughly enjoyed planning and making this piece.  Next time I may try a hole in a symmetrical book resist just to check out the overall alteration in the shape of the structure. 

Happy felting!

Pot Inside a Pot 2

Pot Inside a Pot 2

It was 2 days later that I got back to my pot. After some preliminary rolling in the dryer, I rolled it by hand.

It shrank quite a lot. it is very tight around the resist.  It is time to do some cutting. I cut in the spaces between the fins.

You can see how much the hole grows as you work the edge. The little blob on the left is the piece I cut out.

I didn’t want to pull the resist out through the hole. It is bulkier and less flexible than usual with the duct tape holding on the fins. I cut an X in the bottom of the outside pot. If I had thought about it I would have done it in the bottom of the inside pot so no one would ever have seen it.

This is how much it has shrunk so far.

Next was a vigorous rub down with a rubbing tool. This is one Jan found in the pet section of our Dollar store. It’s for washing your very dirty dog. I covered the pot with some plastic before rubbing. It is too grabby to use directly on the felt.

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It shrank a little more but now it is al flat and smooth.

Before doing any more I needed to rinse out the soap. It always takes much longer to get all the soap out than I think it should.

I start with hot water and finish with cold. I also want to get more shrinkage during this prosses so I am quite aggressive in getting the water through felt to get the soap out.

This is how much more it shrank. You can see the black lines of where it was before rinsing.

I stuck the yellow inside the red one. It wasn’t too hard because the how where they are joined is not very small.  What was harder was getting the ball in so I could blow it up. I wanted to use a ball because I didn’t think a balloon would be strong enough. I did get this one I but ended up taking it out and switching to a smaller 8-inch ball. the ball is a Linsom ball, they are nonslip, sort of sticky on the outside. They are great balls because they come with a removable plug. I took a vessel class with  Sharon Costello where we used them. I suppose it helped the first layer of wool to stick.  The layout on a ball is very difficult. It was a great class, a lot of fun and we learned a lot but not one I like to use.

and in the dark

I think it turned out fairly well. If I were to do it again I think I would make the inside pot bigger so it would open up the fins. I may, depending on how ambitious I am, wet it down, blow up a ball inside and them stuff plastic bags in to make the outer pot bigger. I may cut the fins off and then so some stretching so you can see more of the inside pot. I am still thinking. What would you do?

An interesting Vessel

An interesting Vessel

I am sure if you are on Facebook you have seen the link to Fiona Duthie’s free online tutorial for a vessel within a vessel. https://www.fionaduthie.com/vessel_within_a_vessel/  It is fun to do. I have done it before. It is here if you are interested. They were fairly small pots. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2019/01/06/pots-within-pots/

I thought I would do another one just for fun. I decided it should be bigger this time. For the template, I used a wall clock I had that is to good to get rid of, but I don’t use. I am sure you all have things like that around.   To give you an idea of sized it is the typical school or lunchroom clock that is everywhere.

The smaller circle is the one from drawing around the clock. I decided I wanted it a bit bigger so I drew another circle out about 2 inches or 5 cm by hand.

I cut it out leaving a small amount attached to the bigger piece and folded it over to make a second attached circle. I had decided I didn’t want a narrow neck on this one.

Now, you are probably thinking that isn’t very interesting. At least that is what I was thinking. Just to make things more interesting and difficult for myself I decided to add wings in a book resist type of thing. Not satisfied to do that the normal way I decided to make the wings/pages smaller than the rest of the pot.  I used the actual size of the clock.

I also separated the pages so the outside edges ended up halfway between the 2 circles on the main resist. I added 2 pages to each side of the resist.

Next was laying out the fibres. About halfway through one side, I was cursing myself for making things so difficult. The problem, of course, was that I hadn’t done a book resist in a long time and had to figure out how best to do it again.  You can see I add a piece of silk (I think) scarf to the yellow side that will go inside.

 

The second side when much quicker than the first

That is as far as I got. That was Sunday. My plan is to do the felting tomorrow and maybe the next day depending on how my knees feel about it. I have a tall table which is great for laying out but not as convenient to rub and roll on.  I am going to try to use my tall chair to help with that. I will show you how it turns out for better or worse next time it’s my turn to post. That should be next Wednesday. Have you tried a vessel in a vessel? If not go watch the tutorial and give it a try.

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