Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Building My Avatar

     One of the things I enjoy about Etsy is seeing the avatars of the other sellers.  You can tell that they have chosen a creation they care about.  After all, it becomes how you are identified by shoppers and other sellers.
    My avatar is special to me.  Of all the things I've made over the years, this piece really pleases me.  It should have a better name.  At the time I was making it, I dubbed it "Fountain Series #1".  I did make another fountain after this one, but then I stopped making pieces this large.  As much as I enjoyed the challenge, I didn't think there would be a market for them.  But that's what my avatar represents, a felted fountain. 
It all began a couple years ago when I started to really get        

 into felting.  I made some baskets and vases and I was having
 fun with it.  Then one day I got this idea in my head.  I wanted to
 find out just how far I could take this whole felting thing.  There
 are all kinds of fabric stiffeners and different products out
 there that could be used to support a felted structure, but I wanted to see what I could build with nothing but my crochet hook and the integrity of my design.  To the right and below are a few pictures of my crocheted fountain before felting.  
 I designed my fountain row by row picturing in my mind the desired finished shape.  Since I was planning to make this piece tall, I carried a secondary color throughout in the hope that it would lend stability.  In the end, I do believe this second color not only added support, but visual interest.  Of course the most intense part of the process was after it came out of the washing machine.  Molding it while making sure it didn't crease and getting it dry enough to stand on it's own took some doing.  It's  the time during felting when I feel most like a potter and when you feel like everything could possibly go wrong.  It's also exciting.  Will my design and all that time spent crocheting pay off?  
Well this time it did.  It held it's shape beautifully and even came out a little taller than I had envisioned.  It now lives on top of a corner cabinet piece in my studio.  It seems to defy gravity up there.  Well,  maybe not gravity, but certainly what you would expect from plain old wool.