Something that I remembered Richard mentioning, was that raw felt (not in sheets) could be mixed. I decided to try turning my sheets into fluffy felt (by scratching it). I used stuff ranging from screws, to a plastic cafeteria knife, to velcro to get the stuff to separate into ‘wool’.
When I took these to Richard to ask him what I could do, unfortunately he said that synthetic felt couldn’t be mixed to make sheets. And how do you make sure if it’s synthetic? Burn it indoors! Ok, not necessarily indoors, but burning the fluff made it clear the it was synthetic, because it burnt like melting plastic, instead of burning like wool. He gave me samples of ‘real’ felt for me to experiment with:
I could use felt needles to clump the wool into balls, or I could simply roll it (with a bit of water or dry). In the end I saw that I didn’t like the way the felt wool when I tried to manipulate it in any way. Richard had suggested that I could do a lot of things with the felt sheets themselves (didn’t need to work with the wool).
I conveniently found this:
^ I can’t believe it took me this long, but the felt could be rolled like this to create interesting mats/patterns. And if mats can be made this way, then why not signs?
I also came across a company called ‘lamaconcept’ that seemed to specialise in designing things with felt and embedded LEDs:
^The way they cut and join the felt could be something I try.
Thinking about all the things I could do was cool and all, but I needed to start working on prototypes, to see what could actually work:
^ Started by making a cut out letter. Moved on to creating a ‘mold’.
Working with wax:
^ To test out the two ways of clay, I started melting wax. First came plugging the unlucky thing in, first it needed a transformer, then it needed an adaptor (which I didn’t personally have). After all those troubles were sorted, I started melting. The most fun part of the project so far, way more fun than spending 2 hours pulling fluff from sheets of felt.
^ UMMMMMM….blood…? Ok, so coating results in a crackling texture, which isn’t bad. It looks cool. But the red…just looks like the letter is bleeding…
^ Problems with filling the wax into a mold-like thing to create a marbling look…The wax cools too quickly. I needed to find a way to reduce the melting point of wax. There were ways, but they seemed to be too technical for me to do:
I ended up attempting to melt two colours at the same time, and using a hairdryer to keep it hot and direct the direction of the flow of wax.
After the weird experience with the filling technique, I finalised the idea of coating the letter:
^ Next came figuring out how I could fit the coated letters into the felt. Using the spiralling mat technique didn’t look very plausible or nice.
^ I considered quilting. To do that, I asked my friend to give me a crash course on how to sow the patches for quilting.
^ I also considered weaving. I could weave the letters into a background of felt.