Inspired by the V&A

Every year the Victoria & Albert Museum holds an art competition, called “Inspired by”  for people on part-time courses. Entrants have to create a piece inspired by work in the collections of the V&A or the Museum of Childhood. Selected works are displayed in the relevant museum in October.

I’m planning to enter some of the indigo felted vessels I’ve made. The pieces that have inspired me are a stoneware sake set by Yamada Hikaru made around 1979, and a 17th-century blue and white porcelain sake bottle, maker unknown.

I love the organic simplicity of the forms of the vessels in the sake set, and I thought I would use indigo dye and shibori, both traditional Japanese techniques, to add the blue and white element.

You’ve already seen some of these, but here’s a photo of the final set. The two larger felt vessels are ombre dyed with indigo, while the five smaller ones are nuno felted with a different yarn or fabric, also dyed with indigo.

Larger felt vessel, ombre dyed with indigo
Smaller felt vessel, also ombre dyed with indigo
Nuno felt pot with silk velvet
Nuno felt pot with cotton muslin
Nuno felt pot with silk chiffon
Nuno felt pot with ombre-dyed crocheted lambswool
Nuno felt pot with cotton gauze

Just have to fill in the entry form now – probably the hardest part!  😉

Indigo and felt

The rain stopped for a while yesterday afternoon, and the combined sunshine and wind finally gave me a chance to dry out some of the wetter items. The house still smells of damp carpet though.

The loss adjuster isn’t coming till next Wednesday, so I managed to find a quiet corner and escape from the chaos by working on some more samples, combining my two favourite techniques of felting and indigo.

First up I tried some ombre dyeing directly on one of the felt shell structures. This is not as subtle as it should have been – the wool takes up the indigo more easily than the cotton I’ve been using, and the depth of the shell is a bit shallow for a good gradient.

Then I made a couple of small nuno pots using cotton gauze and cotton muslin dyed using shibori techniques. The gauze in particular gives a lovely cobwebby effect.

I felt much better afterwards!