mikrós organismos – felt hanging

Felt hanging
felt hanging
mikros organimos

mikrós organismos
(greek for micro organism)

100 x 35 x 12 cm
Felt hanging (Ceiling) – 2 sides

Wet felting, nuno felting, resists, various 3D surface design techniques, embellishment and stitch. Materials are merino wool, heavy cheesecloth, hand-spun yarn, hand-blown glass and wadding.

Inspired by a father whose life revolved around a microscope, I am also fascinated with the extreme microscopic view of the tiniest living things. In particular, the view of the ultra-structure of a micro-organism under an electron microscope which reveals intriguing oddities and mysterious characteristics.  Due to their almost colourless appearance, they have an alien-like structure with flagella and undulating surfaces . While seemingly inanimate to the naked eye, under the lens, they defy this illusion.

There are larger photos with more detail of construction in the gallery below.


While this piece has a lot of elements going on, my hope is that they portray the primitive structure of a micro organism. I use a fine merino roving on cheesecloth to create a pre-felt and then apply the flaps, balls and foam pieces. Using resists and temporary tacking to keep the bulky elements in place, the fulling is done separately on each piece as a result . The 2 pieces are stitched together, filled with wadding and the tail then attached. Maybe I won’t do piece like this again, but in the end, I think it is especially relevant to the theme of the exhibition.

In addition to 70+ other exhibits, Micros organismos is an exhibit in the 2016 Perth felt exhibition MACRO|micro.

Mists of time – felt and thread hanging

Mists of time
felt and thread circular wall hanging
Mists of Time

Felt and thread wall hanging:
30cm diameter

Merino wool / bamboo fibre blend, thread, water soluble fabric

For millennia, our watery planet has been spinning in space sustained by the Plantae kingdom. Insignificantly small by comparison to the size of earth,  trees and plants ‘en masse’ are the main contributor to terrestrial life, being the viable and dynamic operation of the earth’s ecosystems. Producing oxygen via photosynthesis – they create the invisible life-giving element that shrouds the globe.

Integrating Felt and Thread

The global reference of this piece determines the colour as well as it’s shape. To keep the shape as perfectly circular as possible, there needs to be support for the shape. After allowing for shrinkage, and using a resist, the large circular pre-felt is made.  The thread-work, which in this case involves very dense stitching on water soluble fabric, is put in place. Very gentle massaging is necessary to get the wool fibres to adhere to the thread. Although flat, the density of the stitching means it takes a while to encourage the wool fibres to migrate through the available spaces.

Once significant shrinkage becomes apparent, the thread-work, which is quite stiff, buckles. Creating this dimensional effect as well as some careful layering of wadding, results in the partial dome shape. The circular art-board was inserted once the piece was fully felted.

From little things…… Felt sculpture

From little things……
felt sculpture
From little things…..

Felt sculpture
17 x 15 x 15 cm

Wet felted using resist method, surface design techniques and free machine embroidery .

Merino wool, thread, water soluble fabric, hardener and paint.

A tribute to the miracle of the birth of a tree.  Growing from a small innocuous looking seed below the earth’s surface to eventually become a large life sustaining structure above ground. Despite frost and adverse conditions, it will sprout through the hard surface to create one of nature’s wonders. While beneath the surface, the support network of roots inversely echoes the tree that will be.

Sculpting with wool

Sculpting brings to mind pottery, but with wool it most probably applies to making any 3D object in felt. Images of pottery are a useful source of acquiring ideas for felt projects,  hence the inspiration for the sprouts on this piece. Many branched cords are individually attached to the pod at pre-felt stage, to create the illusion of sprouts.

The root component is made using intense free machine embroidery on water soluble fabric as in Barely there and Mists of Time. Once washed out and dry, a slight stiffness remains, which makes it easier to handle. Though stitching it into the inside of the vessel, is not something I recommend when it is so small!

The application of a dilute PVA solution creates a hard exterior that is synonymous with the hardness of a seed pod.


Felt mandala rug

Since the making of a number of wall hangings for the last exhibition, it is a nice change of pace to create something completely functional like the felt mandala rug below. In a 3 day workshop with Martien van Zuilen, we all came away with very different rugs. Mine is in daily use and a favourite with my personal trainer, the dog. Might have to make another one now.

The mandala workshop

Martien ‘s workshop is a busy 3 days, but well worth the effort. Surprisingly, a standard trestle table is enough to create this rug, just! Merino is not suitable for rugs, so Corriedale or wool with an equal or higher micron count is the better option.  Martien explains the traditional and cultural aspects of the mandala and then guides you through the design principles. She covers various aspects of the design which involve a number of elements in this technique. While the focus on creating a well balanced piece is the aim, there was plenty of other techniques to consider for inclusion. Colour blending, patterning with pre-felt and creating texture with stitch, to name but a few.

Read more in the Feltwest review.