Experimenting with Felt Rope and Structure
I thought I would move on in my experimentation with creating structure in felt and differential shrinkage, this time using a felt rope. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea but I suddenly remembered why I don’t make many felt ropes.
I used a batt of yellow short fiber merino and tore it into a strip. I then worked a bit on trying to dry roll it to get some of the air out. But that wasn’t working too well so I added soap and water. The rope turned out OK but is far from perfect. I always forget how much patience these take to do them correctly. Now that the rope was done, how to add the felt to this spiral structure?
I came up with the idea of covering a PVC pipe with lime green mixed 56’s wool. I probably should have used merino but this is what I had grabbed for this project. I covered the pipe with wool and then wet it down.
I wrapped the rope around the wool covered PVC pipe and then began adding wisps of wool over the rope. I wet it down as I went to hold everything in place. I then spent a fair amount of time rubbing and working around the rope so that the wisps would stay in place and hold the rope down to the felt. Apparently, not enough.
Here it is after felting. What a mess. The ends of the rope were coming loose and it looked like my dog Edgar had been chewing on it. (Not really because he would have torn it to shreds in a matter of seconds.)
I took a break and then decided I need to full it much harder. I found a thinner stick to put in the middle and worked the piece with soapy hands as well as rolling it on the ridged mat and banging it hard against the table.
Here is the end result. Not appealing or impressive. But I might try again with a much thicker inner and outer layer of wool. I also will probably try wrapping the rope around a flat resist instead of a 3D object. I can always full around the pipe or dowel rod after the felt is holding the rope together better. Not totally a disaster but close! I do think it’s good to go ahead and post about something that doesn’t work out as planned. Perhaps someone else will learn something from my trial and error experimentation. And perhaps you can empathize with me that not all projects are beautiful or perfect. What have you experimented with lately?