04 March 2010

felted spheres

One of my first projects with felting is felted spheres. These spheres begin with a styrofoam orb which is then covered with strands of wool roving and various decorative yarns. The technique then is to stuff these delicately covered balls into a leg of a panty hose. I was not too successful with this technique, so I wrapped a square of a fine tulle around each wool-draped orb, and holding tight, dunked it into a tub of soapy water. Then began the felting rolling in my hands, with the tulle acting as a wool containment and provider of extra friction to accomplish the felting a bit sooner. I was happy with this process. I just walked around my garden in the sun, and talked on the phone, rolling, rolling, rolling. How quick and exciting the results were.

I decided to also try the washing machine method: wrapping then the hosiery legs, knotting between balls, and then throwing them in the washing machine on hot for a short cycle. I then, (probably not a good idea), tossed them in the dryer. These felted spheres were not as tightly shrunken around the styrofoam core as were the ones I did by hand. And so into the dryer they went! They turned out well-felted, but in all the tossing and turning, some ended up with flat sides, and uneven felt layers. The unevenness adds to the delight of this project, However, I prefer the hand method over which I have more control.

The wonderful felted spheres are now displayed in a
tall cylindrical vase. I am thinking of leaving some as simply felted spheres and perhaps embellishing others to create a simple hanging.

I still have some styrofoam balls left... perhaps I'll play a bit later.

The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.
Hans Hofmann - abstract artist