Tag Archives: wet felting

The 30 day Folding Challenge Part 3

Day 16

Carrying on with the pentagons from my last post… what if I stacked increasingly smaller pentagons inside each other?

I felted each pentagon separately and then assembled them like a Russian doll, starting with the smallest in the centre, using loose stitches to hold the “petals” together.

Day 17

I took this book out at the library, it contains some interesting shapes but the instructions weren’t all that helpful, they seemed to be missing quite a few steps and while I love a puzzle, I’m afraid I just couldn’t figure most of the pieces out.

Kunihiko did introduce me to an interesting concept that rang true though – anti-origami. This is a branch of origami where you are allowed to use tools and even (heaven forbid) glue! Breaking a few rules sounds liberating and fun! πŸ™‚

This was the first piece I tried to make from this book:

And (I’m ashamed to say) this is what I produced:

Moving swiftly on from my embarrassing fail I thought the Greek ball looked intriguing. After a couple of failed attempts using Kunihiko’s instructions I turned to Google for help.

Et Voila! How did we ever cope before the internet?!

Then I realised (after several hours of research and wrestling with paper strips) that neither of these projects met my challenge brief – To explore a different folded / pleated shape every day

However, I’m still intrigued by the challenge of trying to make a Greek ball in a seamless way in wet felt.

Going back to the pile of pentagons on my desk… I wondered what if I moved the semicircle folds so they sit over the points of the pentagon?

Admittedly, this way up it doesn’t look significantly different from the Day 11 pentagons.

However, this way up you can see the points are more elevated. I’m undecided if this will be significant but I like this shape.

Day 18

After my first blog post, Henny van Tussenbroek (an extremely talented and knowledgeable felt artist from the Netherlands whose name you might also recognise from her work with the IFA) got in touch. It turns out Andrea Noeske-Porada was not the inventor of the kaleidocylce, she was (one of?) the first to interpret Escher’s design into felt. This is Henny’s book.

I searched online and discovered this book has been translated into several languages and has seen multiple editions. After feeling dismayed that all sellers were asking at least $100+P&P I was overjoyed to discover a copy for just $8NZ, I rather skeptically clicked the link expecting to discover a $100 P&P fee, but no, it really was in NZ and only $4 postage, I literally pounced on the “buy me” button!

It arrived this week and while it is quite a slim manuscript, it really packs a punch for its size. It is nearly 50 years old and it reminded me of reading a scientific journals with its formal style and constant references to Fig.X πŸ™‚

It covers a variety of topics, including the all important plan for a kaleidocycle, but also several geometric forms, different shaped kaleidocyles and something I wasn’t expecting; considerations for repeating patterns to seamlessly decorate them too.

Escher died before I was born but he sounds like a really interesting person – this book describes how he created a space where art met mathematics and geometry and how he coaxed them to become entwined to mind-boggling effect.

I thought I would attempt one of the “simpler” patterns first – an icosohedron (a hollow form with 20 triangular faces):

I now have an internal conflict…. part of me says this form should be easy to recreate in felt using a book resist but as I turn the shape over and over in my hand looking at how the angles of each face change the inner engineer still needs to be convinced….

I need to let this idea percolate for a while.

Day 19

I thought I would try one of Escher’s “proper” Kaleidocycles from a pattern in the book, this is the hexagonal kaleidocycle:

I was a little surprised to find it would not turn / rotate like my felted version does, this is as far as it will go before it feels like the card will tear:

Looking more closely at my felted version I see it has 14 segments compared 6 segments in this card version, I’m not sure it that is why it doesn’t turn or if it is due to the rigidity of the card compared the much more flexible felt? I predict a much larger card version is coming….

Day 20

I revisited a couple of felt pieces, wanting to play with them a little more… Adding a felted ball and a few stitches to the Day 14 pentagon:

Day 21

Adding some stitches to the pentagon with curved pleats from Day 15.

The 30 Day Folding Challenge – Part 1

I have long admired the work of Andrea Noeske-Porada, she is a felt artist best known for her origami pieces. As far as I can tell she does not have a website but if you type her name into google you will find yourself buried under an avalanche of inspiring images of her work and what her students have made.

For years I was fascinated by her kaleidocycle design and hoped to take a workshop with her to learn her felt origami techniques but after our move to NZ I realised this dream is probably never going to happen, so set myself the challenge of trying to figure out how to make one. It took a few attempts but I was eventually successful.

Please don’t ask me to explain how it was made, this is Andrea’s design and if you can’t figure it out, please sign up for a class with her πŸ˜‰

I acknowledge I am a bit of a creative magpie, I always have at least 3 projects on the go and my UFO (unfinished objects) box is overflowing. Maybe this is you too? I suspect it is part of the creative mindset that we struggle to focus on just one thing at a time, our brains are wired to be constantly on the lookout for the next exciting development….

In some ways I think this is a good thing, it means I am frequently presented with opportunities to incorporate 2 or more techniques or materials in the same project to create novel combinations. However, I also feel like I am frequently just skimming the surface of what is possible with each technique or idea. With that in mind I decided to kick off 2024 with a 30 day challenge (feel free to play along if you wish!):

This theme was partly inspired by origami felt, and origami has already worked its way into what I have been doing this month but I have deliberately avoided using origami in the mission statement to leave the door open for exploring related techniques such as pleating and smocking. I’m also bound to go off on some random tangent before the end of the month too!

The first week:

In order to really learn, we first need to make mistakes or encounter some minor disaster….

My first “disaster” was instigated by this book:

It is chock-full of inspiring and gorgeous (mostly paper) sculptures but contains no instructions at all… “how hard can it be?” I cockily thought to myself as I reached for some wool and a pair of scissors….

Thankfully I had enough sense to start small:

No matter how I stretched and rubbed the felt it refused to make lovely concentric pleats and folds πŸ™

I convinced myself it was because I used an oval template instead of circle, so on day 2 I made this:

While I like the shape of this one a little more, it still wasn’t folding how I expected it to.

Frustrated, I decided to play with paper folding instead (looking back this would have been a much more sensible place to start!).

Day 3:

I found some amazing origami websites (with some much needed instructions!) and sat down to play (I apologise for the scruffy appearance of some of my origami but these pieces have been folded and unfolded multiple times):

The box was fun to make but there are much easier ways to make cubes from felt (take a look at my free book resist tutorial if you’d like to give that a go).

I love this next pattern, this is one that I have attempted to make in felt before but playing with it in paper, I’m enjoying the stretchy qualities it has and wondering if it would work as a cowl? I found this print out on an engineering website, apparently this is a popular pattern for folding mirrors and solar panels used on satellites.

Day 4

The photo of this piece doesn’t do it justice, it is much more interesting to look at from different angles, you can probably tell from the state of it that it has been unfolded and refolded multiple times when I translated the pattern into felt.

Day 5

I decided to revisit the concertina style folds of my first 2 attempts in felt but this time in paper.

The circles were still frustrating me, the curved pleats just refused to fold, I now think I understand why they don’t work but I will save those explorations for my next post.

Concertina folds along straight lines were far more successful:

This one started out as a flat square

Day 6

This one was an equilateral triangle

Day 7

Excited by how well the paper origami samples turned out I started translating some of the shapes into prefelt and felting them. The felt versions are much more flexible than their paper cousins, offering a myriad of different forms just by twisting or folding different sections, my favourite is the flower shape at the end of this video:

Aoifa couldn’t resist getting into shot but lost interest as soon as she discovered there was no food involved

Day 8

I turned my favourite of the origami shapes into felt and was very pleased with the outcome: