Boring but ……

Over the last few months I have made quite a number of wet felted small vessels.  These vessels have been made out of different white fibers and then dyed.  At the time I made them I knew exactly what I had done ,  but coming back to them a few weeks later and I began to get seriously muddled up .  I was no longer sure which was the nettled dyed BFL , or the nettled dyed Polwarth (   Thanks to Teri Berry for these fibers they are great)

Time to take control and keep on track before I was totally confused. Better  admin was an urgent necessity? So I gave each vessel a reference number and a small label with the critical information.

And I started I vessel register on a spreadsheet.  This feels a bit like work   But I know that the key to being able to reproduce these vessels in the future,  is to know for sure what is the fibre , and the shape and the dyeing conditions .  A lot of information , but put together with the  label and a photo of the vessel , I think they will be records that will serve me well in the future.

Here is 2015/ 13  sporting a small slate pedestal , a necklace of lace and dyed with onion.


Followed by 2015/2 from March , also dyed with onion , but made with pale grey Shetland , so a completely different effect.


Collecting all this information together has been boring in some ways , but I think its enabling in others.


Why is small best ?

For the last few months I have been struggling to make large felted vessels using Shetland and BFL fibres.  I thought I had tracked down the problem to the resist I was using.  It was a slightly improved laminate floor underlay with a green backing full of  tiny indentations.  My side by side experiments showed that this resist slowed down the felting process and resulted in a bigger final piece.  Strange but true as these two vases below show.  Identical in all respects the one on the left is made with the green resist and is larger and has poorer quality felt.

So armed with what I thought was the solution and a new cheaper slipperier resist I tried again.  

Worse than ever !!  Full of holes.  Poor quality felt.

Some of this I put down to the Shetland fibre I was using which seems repel water and soap not matter how hard I try.  I was so frustrated I cut the holey vessel up and threw it in the washing machine for a couple of cycles.  Then I thought well maybe it can be reborn so it has now been up cycled into this naturally dyed landscape.


But I still want to make vessels , so I tried again, this time small.  One in BFL and one in Shetland.  I stitched them both and dyed them with onion skins.  I love the results , they are about 10cm tall. I just wish I could reproduce them at a slightly larger scale .   

It anyone has any ideas what is causing my problem I’d love to hear from you.