After reading Kim (Flextiles)’s post on felting a Nautilus Shell, see link here, I realised how different the two shells are. Most King Islanders call our shells that wash up every now and then, Nautilus Shells. They are actually Argonaut Shells. The creature that lives and breeds inside them are strange-looking squid like mini monsters that form the shell from secretions to protect the babies. Truly amazing and paper thin. To find an undamaged one on the beach is difficult because they are so fragile.
Felt seemed like the perfect medium to sculpt an Argonaut.
Side by side - The real and the felted version
Just completed this ‘painting’ in wool fleece. It depicts some of the rugged coastline on King Island and was very challenging. In real time it is better viewed from a distance, but that is hard to simulate with a photo.
The base is a piece of white wool felt (commercial) and then the different coloured fleece are layered to create a picture. The options after that are to embellish with machine embroidery etc but I didn’t do that this time.
As I progress I keep everything in place using The Fabulous Felt-O-Matic – a handmade needle-felting tool that has 36 needles fixed into a frame work which is pressed down on in a spring set-up. Hard to explain, so here is the link to Dianne Stott’s blog showing her unique invention.
Unfelted wool fleece - 18x20 unframed
Felt Painting - without the tiny needle marks - sprayed with soapy water and lightly felted using cordless sander