Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Molo felt rocks & DIY felt rocks & Ronel Jordaan South African felt rocks

Felt rocks are sculptural pieces, made from 100% pure wool felt - solid all the way through! felt rocks are sold in sets of 6 hand selected rocks, including one rock that has been split in half to reveal the solid wool interior. The felt rocks are packaged in a natural wool felt bag that can be re-purposed as a fashionable and useful hand bag. The rocks vary in shape in size, but average about 4-6 inches across.

Part discovery, part invention, felt rocks in their raw form are lumps of felt formed as a byproduct in the industrial process of making felt polishing wheels for optical lenses. Small bits of wool fluff gather more and more felt fiber, growing like snowballs, as they tumble around in a big drum with the polishing wheels. Each wool fiber is a tiny hollow tube with burred sides. In the felting process, with steam and pressure, these little hollow tubes become entangled with each other forming a strong bond without any glues or binders. Like rocks formed by the tumbling action of a river, each piece takes on a unique shape. The pieces are selected, processed and finished through a series of steps, with some being hand dyed and other left in natural shades of warm white and grey wool felt.

DIY felt rocks by Derek & Lauren @ Design Sponge

here’s what you’ll need:

wool roving
a bowl of hot soapy water
g rack or towel

1. separate a generous handful of wool roving and loosen the fibers by gently pulling them apart with your fingers.

2. gather the wool into a loose ball that is about twice the size of what you’d like for your completed rock, and dip it into a bowl full of hot soapy water. (to create a decorative line across the face of the rock, wrap a strand of white roving around the ball before dipping.)

3. the wool will immediately begin to shrink up. once it has fully absorbed the water, remove it from the bowl and continually pass it back and forth between your hands until it has cooled. re-dunk and repeat the process until the wool has reached the desired rock size and density. during this process you can try to encourage the shape of the rock, but we found that most of the shaping takes place in the next step.

4. rinse your rock with cold water. Gently squeeze out the water and begin shaping the rock with your fingers. repeat rinsing and shaping a couple of times until you are happy with the form of your rock.

5. place on a drying rack or towel and let dry overnight.

Ronel Jordaan

Ronel Jordaan, a textile designer for 28 years is mainly inspired by nature and gives free reign to her imagination using felt as a preferred medium. This utilitarian material has been used for centuries and is made of wool fibres that interlock as they are rubbed together.

Thanks to its malleable texture, the felt she combines occasionnally with other natural fibres such as cotton or silk gives Ronel the freedom to create anything she can imagine.

Her product range includes rock cushions, scatter cushions, screens, curtains, throws, scarves and pebble carpets. Ronel has also trained a group of women in the art of felting. These women produce the designs with her and have now started creating their own designs with her help.

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