Thursday, January 21, 2010

Felting

Bear with me here, as Henry is up and I'm distracting him from my computer by letting him play with my camera (probably a bad move).

To celebrate writing 3,000 words this morning (and 15K so far this month!), I spent his naptime working on art projects. There is a bit of history to this...for Christmas this past year, I received a wet-felted purse from my sister, who's friend made it in Ukraine (my sister lives and works in Ukraine). I fell in LOVE with both it an the art form, and immersed myself into researching the craft. I ordered wool roving (unspun carded wool, not yarn) and some kits. Then I began.

Here is the purse I received:

My first project was a basic 2D rectangle...with which I have no idea what to do. But here it is.


Then I branched out (hah hah) into making "bamboo" and coiled rope:

And then, my first artfelted 3D object, a bowl:


Mittens, of which I learned a valuable lesson (don't let them shrink too small for a 3 y.o.):

And then, for myself, a scarf of merino wool (I'm wearing right now):
See the thinness of it? There is negative space, sort of like rough lace or lattice. I absolutely love this scarf. I had fun with the leftovers, too (the spirals).

And then, because I told her I would, I made Elizabeth a scarf. This is what I did today during Henry's nap, while listening to Little Women. I'm quite proud of it. It's incredibly soft, thin, and nearly transparent. And yet it's super strong, too. It's merino wool, as well, with a bit of yarn thrown in for decoration. I think that next time I make something like this, I'll leave out less wool and let more of the yarn peep through. It only peeped through at one end, as seen in the second picture.



I love wool. I love sheep. I love getting my hands working with fibers and having a tactile creative experience--something I do not get while writing. I truly believe a writer needs other creative outlets, such as music, painting, or dancing, to build other channels through which to reach his or her muse.

(Henry is now in his high chair, snacking on cheerios. The camera was a bad idea, after all, and I had to save it. Hmm... He's watching Teletubbies for the first time and seems to like it.)

Now, I need to order more merino wool. The stuff I have left is too stiff for scarves, and I'm a bit afraid of making a purse just yet. Artfelting is much easier than wetfelting, and requires less energy and time. It also makes just beautiful, soft items.

Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get good enough at this and set up an Etsy or Artfire site.

But not until my book is finished. I have a deadline: Feb 28th. That is when my child care funds run dry.

9 comments:

JenE said...

I love the scarf! It looks like it has little roses all over it.

I've been tempted to try felting, too. I think I actually have some wool roving (is that what it's called?) around here somewhere, I just haven't had the guts to get it out and play. I may have to now!

And 3,000 words in one morning?? You're my new hero. I feel really lazy, now. :)

Janice said...

Elizabeth's scarf and the transparency in it is so unusual - I wonder what it looks like on her? What about making a little cape for a woman? Sort of an evening wrap? The work you are doing almost looks like painting or stained glass. Congratulations on the 3,000 words!

deborahfreedman said...

Beautiful! You amaze me Amber. And I'm really inspired now to get back to my languishing knitting project...

Amber Lough said...

Jen--Yes, wool roving. Isn't it luxurious? It amazes me that there are real spinners out there that take this stuff and turns it into hand-made yarn. I kind of fantasize about doing that, but a spinning wheel is pricey.

Janice--Thank you! She put it on and was soooo pleased. (As was I.) It looks great on her; I'll have to take a pic whenever I get a chance.

I've seen some wraps/shawls made this way, and I was thinking about making a milky-white one for my friend, who is getting married soon. Even though it'll be May and in Texas, it'll be soft. Wool is good for summer, anyway, since it breathes. Right? ;-)

Debbie---knitting is way harder. You should try this and get some nearly-instant satisfaction!

Jacqui said...

Gorgeoues. I like what you said about the negative space (there's a writing lesson there, but I'm too lazy to elaborate).

a cat of impossible colour said...

These are so cool! Do you find that working with your hands actually frees up your brain and makes your writing flow more? It's something I've noticed.

Kelly said...

Amber,

These are all great! Very artistic looking! Perhaps you would have luck selling them on campus right now. I think scarves are so popular at the moment, you could have quite an easy time selling them... Oh, and your rectangle - why not use it as a small pillow cover? Could you do that?

Kelly

ingermaaike said...

I am deeply impressed! My hat off to you for making such beauties!

Kim Baker said...

Lovely! Thanks for sharing these. I've needle felted a couple of little animals, and I've felted my knitting before (intentionally and...not), but I've never felted by hand.

I think getting crafty totally helps the writing process. If I don't have to concentrate too hard on patterns my mind can drift to my ms and work things out while I play. Good stuff.