I saw the most beautiful thing! Rae Woolnough is an extraordinary felt artist who lives in Australia. She was interviewed and demonstrated the technique she uses to make framed felt/shibori art. She felts wool roving over china silk (habotai), then ties buttons into the felted fabric, felts the top and cuts out the buttons. I attempted to make one myself!
Habotai means "soft as down" in Japanese. It is a very lightweight silk fabric and is now called China silk due to the majority of its production being done in China. Wool roving readily felts to it....
Since this was an experiment, I used a piece of crinkled cotton and thought this fabric would be okay since it had a loose weave but it turned out to be too thick.
The wool was laid out in different colors in the usual horizontal/vertical directions. The first layer down on the fabric will be the inside of the cutouts. It was then felted by rolling it in a bamboo mat.
The layers consist of a bamboo mat, bubble wrap, fabric, wool, bubble wrap. I rolled for 100 times, unrolled the whole thing, turned it 45 degrees and rolled it up again. This made the piece shrink equally. It didn't take much time at all since there weren't a lot of wool layers added.
This is the other side which now will turn into the front of the piece. The puckering of the fabric is the result of being felted which shrank the fabric.
The wool roving felted through the fabric slightly into the other side.
Large buttons were placed underneath the felted fabric and tied with synthetic string (so it won't felt into the fabric). I tried to tie it as tight as I could but the fabric is too thick (so now I know to definitely use thinner habotai silk).
Then more wool colors are added on top of the fabric and around but not over the buttons. The wool is lightly placed over the fabric.
So, it's an experiment, remember? I cut out the buttons and can see the inside blue and green of the first wool layer onto the fabric.
Then I tossed it in the hot dryer to felt it some more. This is also my opportunity to see how much it would shrink in the dryer and what the different color layouts should be.
It shrank the fabric more and dried the piece. I blocked it and squared it up a little bit. Then I selected a frame to put it in.
I used the glass in the frame to roughly outline the cutting lines. I will not be using the glass in the frame as the framed felted piece has a three dimensional appearance without it.
copyright images of Carol Jensen 2017 - 2018
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Carol Jensen Felt Art