A while ago I hung a small felt vessel in the tree in my garden. It was something that had gone badly wrong in the making and I wanted to see whether birds would be attracted to it. I put a small amount of bird feed inside the felt piece. Straightaway the blue tits descended on the felt, they pecked at it flying off with small strands of wool and hung like acrobats from underneath the felt. Watching the birds do this was very entertaining.
I decided I wanted to make a felt bird feeder, not only to see how the birds reacted to it, but to see how the felt reacted to the outdoor world; how it responded to the weather, how it would change and how long it would last. My plan was to take regular photographs as a record of what happened. Time passed, I was busy, the bird feeder idea went to the back of my mind. But recently in this new world of post lock down I found myself with a little more time, so I made the bird feeder and now it’s hanging in my tree and I will see what happens….
Making the Bird Feeder:
Another of my aims was achieved in making the bird feeder because I have always wanted to make a pod shaped vessel. I have made many round vessels and even a dome shape for my Skep Beehive, but not a pod shape. The thing I find about wet felting is that it’s an organic process. To a certain extent I have control over how I lay the fibres, but once the felting begins the piece evolves and as the fibres move it takes on a bit of a life of its own. I really like this process because I never quite know what the end piece will look like.
Making a vessel:
Whether you are making a vessel or a pod the felting technique is called using a ‘resist’. The fibres are laid evenly on either side of a piece of plastic. I use plastic pond liner because it’s very strong. When soap and water are sprinkled on the fibres the inner part of the shape remains dryish and doe not felt because of the plastic. Once the outer part has felted, a hole is cut and the plastic is removed. Then inside of the vessel or pod can be felted. As you felt the inside the piece it changes shape and becomes three dimensional. Making a vessel or pod does take some practice and starting with a small vessel is a good way of learning the ‘resist technique’.
I am always happy to give advice on felting, feel free to email me if you would like more information on 3D felt making – email@example.com