I’ve been experimenting with a variety of DIY projects (not all of which I will report on), but one that I was quite pleased with was the felted pod I made. I followed this tutorial, and the whole process took me between 2 and 3 hours. I plan to repeat the project, but next time I will experiment more with different colours of wool and probably make a larger sized bowl. Obviously, the pod isn’t the most functional object; however, its all-natural, handmade nature makes it a nice addition to a coffee table or bookshelf. I also imagine the same techniques could be used to make other rounded, felt objects, like slippers (which I hope to try to make in the future).
Basically, this project involves turning loose wool into felt by getting it wet and soapy and rubbing it together. While rubbing it together, you use a resist to stop the wool on either side from becoming connected, thereby turning it into a ball shape. After the wool has become felt and has enough layers, you cut a hole out of one side and remove the resist.
This DIY was a pleasant experience because I was building off skills I already had. To use some Ed lingo, scaffolding was in place for me to comfortably push further into the realm of fibre arts. I’ve needle felted in the past (which still involves turning wool into felt, but it is done so by poking the wool repeatedly with a special needle), so it was only one step further to try wet felting. I also already had all most of the materials, so if I had failed, it wouldn’t have felt like a huge loss.
When I posted an image of the finished product to my social media, I was surprised by the amount of people interested in it. I expected to get some “likes,” but honestly didn’t think that people would really care about it. Instead, people asked me what it was, what techniques I used to make it, how long it took to make, and recommended resources in case I wanted to learn more about felting techniques. Some expressed an interest in trying wet felting and doing the same project. If I hadn’t posted about it, I never would have realized how many members of my social circle are also interested in fibre arts, and I wouldn’t know about the resources that they recommended to me.
My learning takeaways:
(1) Scaffolding applies everywhere in life, not just in education. It’s much easier to learn a new skill if you have some basics down first.
(2) The internet is a great place to learn from. If one tutorial doesn’t work for you, there will probably be another one that does (and if not, why not eventually make one yourself?)
(3) Actually doing something is the best way to learn how to do it. I now feel that I could repeat this process from memory.
(4) Share your work with others. People are curious about what other people are doing and are often happy to talk about it with you. You never know what interesting things people will contribute to a discussion, and you will never hear those things if you isolate yourself and your work.