Making 3-D Felt Vessels Using Beth Beede's "Felting Over A Ball" Technique

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TThis weekend I am teaching an exciting felt making workshop on making 3-D sculptural felt vessels using the "felting over a ball" technique developed by Beth Beede, a very creative Massachusetts felt maker.  There is a good description of the technique at: http://www.spinsterstreadle.com/norwegian_wool_vessel.pdf.  Also Carol Cypher describes the technique in her book" how we felt".  Pat Sparks has another good post on her site at "Experiments with Hat on a Ball".

With all this background, here are some pictures to inspire you. These photos were taken of
my class yesterday. We had very enthusiastic felt makers! (Thanks to Ann Marie and Sharon for letting me use their photos) I'll post some videos of the class, as well, so you can hear and see how  the steps are done when using the "felting over a ball" technique.  

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The first step is to lay the wool over a 9" deflatable Gertie brand ball. (You can click through the pictures to  enlarge the image)







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Then you carefully lay down the wool in layers.  We will be adding about eight layers of wool on the ball.








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You pat the wool down so it stays on the ball.









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As you are laying out the wool, you can add more colors.  Since the wool fibers will migrate as the wool is agitated, the colors will show through in the final vessel.  You can achieve wonderful blends of color and texture by doing this.



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Now, I have 8 layers of wool covering the Gertie ball.  You can see how big this ball of wool gets!  in this picture I am decorating my vessel  with silk fibers, acrylic yarns, and sparkling cellulose fibers so the outside of the vessel will look really interesting when I am finished.





IMG_0575-ball-in-pantyhose.jpgThen we push this gigantic ball into a pair of pantyhose to hold the vessel together as we agitate the wool.  Here is what it looks like when we have stuffed the wool ball into the pantyhose.





This was the first day of two 4 hour workshops.  In the next post, I will show you remove to the vessel from the pantyhose and continue the felting process.  More to come!

2 Comments

This looks very interesting. Is there a part two I can see?

hello, i was looking for beth beade, and found you, i did a felt course with beth at lake junska[spin off auntern retreat 2000 i think. fantastic time,i have taught a few felt lessons since, but i am still mostly a spinner, thankyou for the memories.marian w.

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