Hard and soft

A few months ago I made a felt wall hanging using ombre-dyed indigo muslin and some pebbles I found on an Italian beach.

blue stones 1 blue stones 2

I thought I would experiment further with combining hard and soft in this way, this time in 3D form, using smaller pebbles I found on Welsh beaches.

This is a ball I made. I was quite pleased with the finished version on a technical level, but felt that it lacked something.

hard soft 5

Then I remembered a very early felt piece I made at Morley College, when I was experimenting with using marbles as a resist.

embroidered crater flask

So I decided to add some simple embroidery to jazz it up a bit.

hard soft 1 hard soft 2

That was better, but I wonder if I should have used more than one colour.

Then I tried a more abstract shape in my usual colour palette.

hard soft 4 hard soft 3

I’m not sure whether to add embroidery to this as well, and if so what colour. What do you think?

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

16 thoughts on “Hard and soft”

  1. I was fortunate enough to buy the wall hanging from an exhibition at Sprout Gallery in Tooting. It’s now living on a cottage wall in Norfolk & looks fantastic.
    The stones & the blue remind me of the beach and the skies outside.
    A wonderful piece of work – many thanks.

    1. Thanks Julia! I remember you buying the piece – it’s lovely to know that my work has gone to an appreciative home. 🙂

      Hope to see you again at a future event!

  2. I love the stones in your felt work. I have been collecting beach pebbles in the hopes that I will have time to experiment with adding them to my felting. I’m a novice though and not sure about the process. I’ve been researching, hopefully I’ll find some time this summer to try it out. I love both of your 3D pieces as well. I think that some embroidery on the new piece might look good. Perhps just around the cutouts to accent the stone. Lovely work!

    1. Thanks Charlotte. 🙂 Basically you lay out the wool for your base layers, put the stones on top, then cover them with more layers of wool. When the piece is fully felted, cut out the layers of wool on top of the stone.

      The hardest part is rolling the felt with the stones inside, as they distort the shape of the roll and make it a bit awkward. So you might need to use more rubbing rather than rolling during the felting process. Good luck with it!

  3. Hello, Your work is wonderful! Inspiring! I was wondering if you can tell me, on the last white and blue piece with the two white handles, how are you getting that 3-D w/o a resist that you have to cut out? I sure would appreciate you shedding some light on that. Thanks! Susan Hudspn

  4. I like the additional embroidery. You could still add more colors if you wanted. I am not sure that the last piece needs any embroidery. I like the simplicity of it.

  5. The horned piece makes me think of a cross between the minotaur and Chinese willow pattern plates. Perhaps following those themes might help making a decision about what and whether to add anything.

  6. Your work is inspirational! Its made me want to try felting with pebbles. With regard to what colour to use on your “horned” piece, I like the combination of blue tones in the background of your blog and, looking at those, I think that teal could work well with the blue and white.

    1. Thanks Karen! I’m still mulling over whether to add embroidery or not, but I think I agree with you that some different shades of blue could work well.

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