Process – wet felting tendrils

I spent a good chunk of the weekend on the silk yo-yo piece (untitled as yet, snippets of meaning and imagery are present, but I haven’t worked it out). It calls for 50 or so felted tendrils. Not terribly difficult to do, but a bit time-consuming. Inclement weather has kept me from the farm, so I hand-carded this wool as seen below.

On the left is the wool after dyeing. The wool in the center is the result of using the carding paddles. On the right, I’ve just hand-formed them into the general shape / length of tendril I want.

 I like to felt small things in a tub, to contain the water as much as possible. I lay one tendril on the bubble wrap (bubble side down), pour hot soapy water around it, and fold the front edge of the bubble wrap over the tendril.  felting tendrils

Working the front edge of the bubble wrap back and forth, I ease the wool into a cord, gradually using more pressure. Felting one tendril at a time produces the most even shape. Then I can clearly see where one section might need more compression as I roll.

felting tendrils

After felting six or seven, I rinse the batch in cold water, squeeze excess water out, towel dry, and rig them to dry on the space heater on low. This actually sets a curve in the top of the tendrils, training the felt for how they will actually hang in the piece.drying tendrils

By the time I’ve felted the next batch, these are dry. Then each tendril gets snipped and trimmed to get rid of any hairy bits.

trimming tendrils

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