felt luminary

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Felted Glass? Absolutely

  This is my latest fascination with felt...there are so many varied ways to use this amazing wool fiber!  I've been playing around with encasing glass with merino wool and felting it so it's nice and tight around the glass.  Then I cut out shapes on both sides of the glass so that the light can shine through.  A friend of mine said it's kind of like stained glass only you use felt instead of lead....that got my head going!  I have ideas now for designs that are similar to stained glass... soon.  It is a bit tricky, I'll have to say.  There were some failures in the beginning, but that's how you learn, right!  If I cut too much felt away, I ended up with edges that are saggy and want to pull away from the glass allowing the glass to pop right out. I also have to factor in the weight of the glass, like the red one on the right.  It is rather thick glass, about 1/4" inch, so the design is also helping the glass stay put.  I had to also pay a lot of attention to
cutting out the design, it had to be the same on both sides.  I finally figured out that holding it up to the light enabled me to cut more precisely on both sides.
   I love the purple one at the top!  They are large pieces of beach glass so the color is muted, it looks wonderful when the light comes shining through it.  I used a short fiber merino batt and some silk for this one.  The purple and yellow one here on the left is the bottom of a bottle that a friend in Florida found on the beach, she sent me some round ones too, they're next!  She has an Etsy shop called "made for fun" and sells beach glass and loads of other goodies in her shop.  The edges are all bumpy and soft from being ground down by the surf, I really wanted to see those so I cut away the felt to expose them.  Actually, all the glass I use is beach glass mostly found here in Northern California, except for the red one, that came from an old piece of stained glass that had an accident.  Below is a picture of where I hang all my little creations, it's the door to my cabin where I do all of my felting.  Around two o'clock the sun comes shining through and lights them all up,
beautiful.  I really am so lucky to have such a magical place among the redwoods to do this work that I love so much!  I got a card last week that sums it up perfectly:

Do what you
what you do          

And i do!        
This is the perfect time to mention that all of this is possible because of my husband, Jack, who supports me completely in my fascination with felting.  He is my most honest critic, he too is constantly amazed at what can be made with felt.  It is so important to have the support of your family and friends in any endeavor one takes on in life, and I have such a great network of both, thank you all.  Sometimes I marvel at my good fortune!
  When I finish my big "stained glass"  piece, it still needs more mulling over in the brain, I'll post it up here.  If there are any wet felters out there that want to experiment with this and want more info on how to do it and what materials to use just drop me a note and I'll be glad to lay out the steps for you.  You don't need to use beach glass, any glass will do.  If you want to use beach glass though, Etsy is a good source, I've seen some good collections on there.  All of these are wet felted by the way, that's mostly what I do.
  Thanks for stopping by!     Terry


  1. These are fabulous!!! I would love to have more info on how you made them!!!!

  2. Hi Terry! I'm so glad someone else has had a similar idea to mine...lol.
    I thought I was nuts.
    I have a vision of felt lanterns with glass (especially sea glass) embedded in them... I've made one successfully enough that I listed it on Etsy. My glass is not tight enough though. The vision I have is much closer to what your hanging pieces look like... sort of like mosaic candle holders are what I have in my head. I just can't get the process to come out with the image I hold...lol

    I am using a flat resist, layers of fiber (merino mostly) then a few pieces of glass here and there, more layers of wool and tons of rolling as best I can with a resist and glass... I roll gently and use my hands and spoons, rolling pins, whatever tool will fit in the spaces around the glass, to press and rub. I rotate and flip the piece often too, then full it by hand for a bit before removing the resist. I come out with a nice vessel with bumps where the glass is. When I try to cut a space over the glass, it loosens or the sides of the piece slump... any ideas? Maybe I should consider also putting some wire or twigs vertically to help support the sides...
    Thanks for reading!

    1. Hi Andrea, I checked out your one on etsy and I see what you mean. When I do mine I literally wrap it in roving and place it between layers of roving, felt it and full it then I cut out the openings so you can see the glass. Love the idea of the lantern but you would have to use a battery light since the felt is
      flammable :( If you want me to go into more detail I would be glad to, contact me through my etsy site, ifeltlikeitbyterry, and we'll get a dialogue going.
      Cheers! Terry