Saturday, May 12, 2012


I am sorry to have been so silent lately in terms of my Felted Vessel Project, but it turns out that March is an abject failure. Well, maybe I should be quite so harsh. I did learn a lot. Isn't that usually the way though.

If you remember (it was so long ago in time, but only a few posts) March was inspired by seeing street lights at night from an airplane. This necessitated finding streets upon which to set some lights.

Google maps came to the rescue. I started in Ottawa and "flew" towards Montreal ( the one place even I recognised from the air) and stopped when I found a particularly pleasing arrangement of streets. Just as I had no idea what towns I was flying over, I have no idea of the name of the particular town that I used. A print out and a couple of enlargements later, I had my streets. I had to do a bit of creative rearrangement to make a flat town fit on a curved surface, but through diligent application of scissors, managed to come up with a pleasing arrangement.

Through trial and error, I decided that the best way to mark out my town was to lay "lights" along the streets, and some how mark them.
preparation of pattern pieces
Enter the tiny hole punch (1/8th of and inch) and dressmakers chalk.

Patterns, chalk, and holes

Next came the punching. Hundreds of little holes. To punch effectively, I put a dowel into the vice, the vessel onto the dowel, and with my trusty hammer, beat the thing into submission.
Punching holes like nobody's business

After a while, the center of the dowel would be so chewed up as to not actually work as an effective brace against which to punch, so I also had to saw the end off the dowel several times.  Actually, this was a job that I pawned off on my wonderful husband.
A pooped punch pole

I was left with a bunch of small felt plugs. Every 5 or 6 holes, I would have to stop pounding and dig the plugs out of my punch. I ended up buying a couple of more punches, which turned out to be a good thing because I damaged my first punch a short while later.
Doughnut holes

and the doughnut

Next, I started to stitch the beads in. This in itself was a trial. I had finished the punching the night before I, my mother, and my friend Sarah were scheduled to leave for a Fibre Arts Retreat in Nova Scotia. The drive was about 5 hours and I felt safe that between going and coming home, I would have enough time to stitch my vessel. Not to mention that there would be time to stitch when I was not spinning, eating, etc.

I was right. I had plenty of time to stitch. I thought that I might not have enough beads so before we left, I ran to the store and found some more gold beads. What I didn't figure was that the beads were a slightly different gold. Not much of a difference, but enough of a difference that I couldn't use them.
If I had been at home, I could have taken the beads out of my trial piece, or run back to the store to see if I could find the right gold colour. As it was, I ripped the beads out and started to stitch with the new beads. I managed to get most of the stitching finished on the drive home (thanks Mamoo for driving!)

Finished....or is it?
Beads all in, and all of the same colour, it was done, but all of the manipulation that it gone through had left it somewhat.....floppy.  No worries, I thought. I'll pop a balloon into it and give it a quick felt to firm it up a bit.

Smart eh?

Not so much. It seems that there were a few places where I had punched the holes a little too closely and with the further manipulation the holes actually ended up acting like perforations in paper.

They tore a bit.

And created holes.

@#&^%$% holes!

As you can see in the "finished?" picture, there was still snow on the ground. It was actually just a couple of days into April when this happened and I have to say that with everything else that has been happening in my life, it acted as a bit of a gumption trap. It took me a couple of weeks to decide how to proceed.

First was to decide to start on April without having satisfactorily finished March.
Second was to decided on April.
Third was to accept that I will be redoing all this work and using my hard earned knowledge of what not to do, hopefully end up with a successful piece.

But give me a couple of months to get up the gumption to punch all those holes again!


Julia said...

Oh Jackie, with all the hard work you did on this piece, can you just refelt that hole somehow?

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY Jackie. Sorry I wasn't any help today. Love, Mom

Julia said...

On second thoughts, with all the riots and student protests in Montreal, maybe the hole is appropriate. Just put something that looks like smoke bomb.

Jackie said...

Alas, that was not the only hole, just the biggest one. There are several places where it looks like a rip in perforated paper and is one or two inches long.
And it wasn't Montreal, just some random town between Montreal and Ottawa.

I'll be much happier with the end result if I redo it. I'll just chalk it up to "experience" and "lessons learned".

And no worries about today. Nicole hasn't missed any of her classes this round, so one today won't hurt her.

tanita davis said...

Oh, that's so pretty - you know, Jac, it's good that you put up failures here, too... it's good to see that part of art is the failure to achieve the work you were after, and the acceptance of the work you got... and the bit where you try again...

Jackie said...

Thanks Tanita, It is a hard thing to show one's failures. So much of weaving can be salvaged and corrected early on in the process. But sometimes felting just has to be what it is.
Yesterday I took part in a "seconds and inventory" sale. There was a couple of glass makers, a potter, a jeweler, and me. It was a bit of an eye opener. For a potter or glass blower, if something happens in the final stages to make it a "second" then they just have to suck it up. So I decided that it they could, I could too. Make my lemon-aid and do better next time. At least I can reuse my beads and am not out much for materials.

Christine said...

Very cool. Can you insert a light (like an LED Christmas light) just to give it a bit o sparkle?