So, what form to use as a textured sample? I decided to do a basic ribbed vessel, using the partial felt technique I learnt at Lisa Klakulak’s workshop last year.
First I had to revise the technique, as it’s been a while since I used it. The result was interesting for a couple of reasons.
I’d envisaged the vessel as being fairly spherical. However, when it was fulled, the partial felt ribs prevented full longitudinal shrinkage, so the final vessel is taller than it is wide – more of a pod shape. For the same reason, the felt is more flexible and less sturdy than previous samples I’ve made of the same size – so it can be gently compressed to produce a rounder vessel if wanted, though this is not as stable.
I’d made the ribs slightly curved to try to get more of a spiral effect, but in the final tall vessel this is barely apparent. It’s more obvious in the slightly flattened version.
So then I made another vessel, to test out different textures. It’s not very pretty, but it’s intended to be a reference sample.
Clockwise from the top, these are: silk chiffon, silk habotai, polyster organza, pencil roving, silk chiffon with wool nepps, silk habotai with wool nepps, polyester with wool nepps, silk chiffon with felt offcuts.
Polyester organza with wool nepps gave the “wartiest” texture (managed to get a bit of red fibre caught in there as well).
I also liked the effect of the pencil roving (without chiffon) and the felt offcuts covered with chiffon.
The extra layers of silk and nepps haven’t increased the robustness of the felt very much – if anything, it feels less rather than more robust. So for future vessels I need to make the felt wall thicker or the ribs smaller (or dispense with them altogether).