Stroud Blog Update 2

Washing drying and carding wool is a slow process but to see the bags of clean wool gradually accumulate is deeply satisfying. I didn’t even have to wear rubber gloves for washing because there is something natural about the feel of the wool in the soapy water that is different and rather comforting.

Carding has been a challenge. Unfortunately I have bought a pair of flat carding paddles and I think they should have been curved to make the task more efficient. Still I have persevered with the help of Utube tutorials and the results are improving.

Carding the Llyen fleece.

Carding the Llyen fleece.

The three fleeces have very different characters, particularly the Dartmoor with it’s long, hair-like locks.

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Washing the long haired Dartmoor

I am now ready to really begin  making and to allow all ideas about my research to gradually develop along with this process.  It will be interesting to discover which aspects of my investigations when combined with practical applications will drive the work forward. Although I have made some preliminary decisions and created some experimental work I know it’s not until the real making process begins that a clearer path will emerge.

As I am a fairly inexperienced felt maker I am referring to online tutorials and text books for instruction so it is a bit of a journey of discovery. I  have begun by making some round felt experimental pieces, examples below:

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I used Llyen wool for the white flat felt and Shetland locks for the edges and centre.

Felted Llyen decorated with Datmoor locks, hand embroidery

Felted Llyen decorated with Datmoor locks, hand embroidery

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Shetland felt with Dartmoor locks

I am exploring the idea of using shapes that suggest cogs or wheels and was keen to keep a visually organic form. However these pieces are more suggestive of primitive cultures such as Celtic, Native American or Norse, not industry or war. (Possibly have a primitive shield-like appearance.) The organic elements will be present in the materials and the methods therefore does  it need to be visually present in the form? I will need to consider this point carefully when dealing with the vibrantly coloured cloth from WSP. The contrast of colours will be extreme but I am hoping to use this element in a way that will add another dimension to the work.  I am thinking; khaki uniforms/ coloured stripes, milled white un-dyed fabric/vibrant when dyed, reality of war/highly coloured embroidered greeting cards soldiers sent to loved ones.

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Playing with felt cog shapes

Experimenting with thicknesses I found the Dartmoor produces a good thick, solid shape without using too much fleece.  I have decided to continue to create circular shapes in a variety of sizes using all three fleeces for now. Once made they can be worked on in different ways with a variety of materials.

I had a positive response from WSP regarding my wish list so am eagerly waiting to hear about a possible collection date.

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