Saturday, March 26, 2016


"Mother Nature and Child",  14 1/4" X 10" X 6 3/4"   Lori LaBerge  2016

Working with industrial felt has been proving to be both a joy and a challenge.  I am loving that I can expand the use of metal that has been employed in my rug hooked work.  

Here are a few challenges I ran into working on "Mother Nature and Child":

1.  Flexibility is the key component of most fiber work.  It allows for manipulation.  The weight and thickness of the felt determines how much flexibility will be allowed.  I used an F15 felt that is 3/8" thick.

The work from another angle.  Lori LaBerge  2016

2.  The addition of metal to the work affected the movement of the felt.  Metal has weight which pushes down on the felt.  I let this happen in this work as I was intrigued by the shape it was taking.  A decision will have to be made with future work as to whether to continue allowing the fiber to fall naturally or to add a support system to force it into a particular shape.  This would depend on the design of each piece.

Looking down into the work,  Lori LaBerge  2016

3.  The closer I brought the top screws to each other, the more height could be added to the piece.  How the metal is attached greatly affects shape.

4.  The felt could easily be cut with an exacto knife.  This gave a clean cut, though care had to be taken.  Due to thickness two swipes of the knife were needed.  If the second cut did not meet the first cut, a ridge was left on the edge of the felt.

Bent spade point needle

5.  Solid, sharp needles were needed to bring the thicker yarns through the felt.  I used industrial steel needles.  A bent or straight spade point with wide eyes worked though effort was needed to pull the needle through the felt.  Felt can also be cut with a laser or waterjet.  

6.  I am looking into leather cutting tools and punches to work with shapes in the future.

This piece was planned to include a rug hooked bottom.  I decided this would just be too busy if it was included.  The next work will be tapered down, allowing for a rug hooked section to be attached.

Knowing what not to include is as important as what to include in a piece.  Try editing ideas, perhaps bringing those ideas into two separate works rather than trying to fit them all into one work and have a great day. 

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