A little break from the studio. Can’t help myself, though!
We made hats! A fun an easy project with fabulous results. Wrap a ball with wool. Wet it. Bounce it. Shape it and voila! Okay there’s a bit more to it than that. But we had complete hats in under 3 hours!
Here’s the gist:
You need a large batt of wool in the color of your choice.
A bouncy ball the size of a head, roughly.
2 Pantyhose. Yes! Pantyhose!
Water, preferably warm.
Cooling rack(you know, the type you put your hot cookies on)
Prop the ball on a bowl for stability. Slather in soap. Drape long strands of the wool from the top of the ball down. Draping past the bowl, even as far as the table. That’s layer one.
Now wrap wool around the ball in the other direction (45 degrees from first). Be sure to layer some on the top too.
That’s layer two.
Lastly repeat layer one. Trim the bottom edge to a straight-ish line.
Pantyhose time! Cut off the legs. You won’t need those. Here’s the tricky part. Stretch that hose over the whole
wooly mess. Flip the ball and wrap the second in the other direction. Pull snug and tie if you can.
Submerge your hosed hat into warm slightly soapy water. Lift out and pat the ball over the water to catch the major dripping. Plunk onto a towel and roll for a bit (10 minutes maybe). When it is no longer soppy wet, but damp instead, let the bouncing begin. Little bounces at first. More like a mini dribble. Turn as you dribble to get all sides of your hat. Dribble, dribble, dribble. For 20 min. About. Pull off nylons and remove ball.
You now have a floppy big hat. Place your hand inside the hat and rub it along the cooling rack for friction. This accelerates the felting. It also shrinks it in the direction you are rubbing. If it seems super long rub it up and down(top to bottom). If it is super wide rub it side to side. Keep popping on your head for size. When close, the shaping can begin.
Want it pointy? Poke your finger inside the top and pull from the bottom. Want a brim. Roll the bottom. Or stretch the bottom out flat for more of a cowboy look. Experiment. Keep popping it on your head! No need to be delicate. You can pull and stretch pretty hard.
Don’t like it later? Re-wet it and shape it again.
We made our own clocks today in the Hayloft! My apologies for the bad photos. Blasting hot but we persevered and ate Popsicles. We also snuck in some needle felting and berry picking between coats of paint. Another day where I have to pinch myself. I’m quite sure I’m dreaming that I finally have the studio of my dreams and the great fortune of sharing it with such inspiring students. As an artist, nothing is better than surrounding yourself with the raw,unfiltered, unencumbered awe that children behold of our world. We adults, our vision blurs as we get on in years. We see the big picture( coffee, car, work, home, dinner, bed). Children still have eyes like hawks. They see all the amazing details and goings on that surround us( an ant carrying a giant piece of bread, the many colored grains that are the sand at the beach, the cool path a trickle of water makes). These children are repairing my vision. I cannot thank them enough.
Assemblage art at Hayloft. What a free for all and a blast! The studio looked as if it had been ransacked by the end of each day. This was a total stream of conscious, try it and see what happens, go for it, that might be cool, kind of class. When allowed to have at it, the students were remarkably clever and unencumbered. Deep inner creativity was unlocked and flowing. Fun!