3D textured felt

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.

ribbed vessel

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.

ribbed vessel flatter

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.

ribbed vessel spiral

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.

ribbed vessel textures

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).

ribbed vessel nepps

I also liked the effect of the pencil roving (without chiffon) and the felt offcuts covered with chiffon.

ribbed vessel rovingribbed vessel felt offcutsThe 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).

Tonal printing

In my scientific training I was taught to change one variable at a time in experiments to assess more accurately the effect of each variable. In my textile experiments, however, I’m too impatient to stick to this rule!

I started my day at college by repeating the printing on pleats with resists I did last week, using different fabrics: a heavier linen and a sheer synthetic organza.

I liked the printing on heavier linen – it produced lovely textures, quite crisp. The synthetic organza? Just meh.

Then I tried some stitched concentric circles. After printing with the first colour I undid the stitching, stitched in different places and was going to mask off part and then print with a second colour.

However, at this stage I decided to try some tonal printing with different colours instead.

The secret of good tonal printing is to get the right distance between the different colours so that they just blend at the edges. On this occasion, the distance between the different colours was too great, so they just ended up as stripes. The result looks more like a flag!

The imprint left on the screen after this looked quite interesting, so tutor Mark suggested putting the screen down on a blank piece of cloth and doing another pull, producing a kind of monoprint. I did a couple of pulls on two pieces of fabric; the results were very psychedelic 60s, man!

Finally, I tried ironing irregular pleats in the fabric both horizontally and vertically and then printing, letting it dry and then repleating before printing again. Because I used quite light calico I hoped that the binder might penetrate through at least one layer – but it didn’t.

So this method would require quite a few repleats and reprints to build up the colours – or I would have to make the pleats smaller to expose more fabric each time.

There’s also an interesting subtle “embossed” effect in places caused by the layers of fabric where it is folded underneath. It reminds me of a Braque painting.