Baba Felt

My research into traditional felt making has led me to felt workshops around the world, from the deepest darkest depths of Wales, to warmer climes - Alicante in Spain and central Turkey.

Every region has their own story as to how felt came about. The origins of felt in Persia are ascribed to Solomon’s son who was a shepherd. He was sure that his sheep’s wool could be made into waterproof mats without the aid of a loom, but try as he might he could not make the fibres stick together. He stamped about on the fleece crying large tears of frustration... in doing so, the fibres started sticking together. And behold! He had discovered felt...!

Here are some photos and a bit about my recent trip to Turkey.

A typical house in Afyon, Turkey

A typical house in Afyon, Turkey

I found these hanging outside a shop - they are stiff felt cloaks known as kepenek and are worn by shepherds in Turkey to protect them from heat in summer and from cold and wet in winter.

I met Fahrettin, who comes from a family of felt makers going back generations, in an old town in central Turkey. We worked together sharing ideas and he started work making felt samples.

The process involves layering the wool, ensuring the fibres do in a different direction with each layer. We built up different colours to create beautiful colour blends. He then flicks hot water over the wool and starts rubbing it with soapy hands.

blog afyon 9.jpg

Fahrettin dyes the wool by hand in his workshop.  

He rolls the wool up in an old rug and places it into this pressure machine. The machine continually squashes the rolled felt while Fahrettin spins it round. This process is repeated, he unrolls the carpet and wets the fibres and rolls it up again in a different direction and puts it back in the machine. To make a larger piece to the felting process will take an entire day. It then takes several days to dry out.

Here are some samples of colour ways and textures we worked on.

Fifteen Hollen St

Around this time last year I was commissioned to design an art piece for the lobby for the Fifteen Hollen Street project, a new block of apartments in Soho. 

As I meandered down the streets, it was a great opportunity to delve deep into the history of Soho. I became much more aware of remnants of the past... old signs, cobbled streets, spouts on windows.. so many stories waiting to be told. 

Collaborating with the architects, builders and property developers who commissioned the project,  I developed my idea and worked with my fabricators to bring it to life. 

The idea was to have a fourteen meter long brass ribbon which looked like gold. The start of the ribbon would be a thick slab which could be sat on, the ribbon would then twist in and out of the walls getting increasingly thinner and beaten until it was beaten to gold leaf just microns thick.

We annealed the metal to make it more malleable, and beat it using large mallets.  We applied a patina to bring out beautiful colours and textures in the brass. 

Sample tests to work out textures and techniques.

IMG_6817.jpg

The end section of the ribbon where it turns into gold leaf. 

FUTURE GATHERING Design Museum, Holon

 

- From Domestic Craft to Contemporary Process

July 03 / October 25, 2014

Feltup chair was chosen as part of the Future Gathering exhibition.

 

Curated by internationally renowned trend-forecaster and curator Li Edelkoort.

"In this exhibition, Edelkoort, renowned for her visionary eye, brings together contemporary design themes that reflect traditional domestic crafts ... These designers use three-­dimensional craftsmanship, which reinvigorates design, lending body and beauty to archetypical chairs or giving form and volume to lighting structures."

http://www.dmh.org.il/exhibition/exhibition.aspx?pid=32&catId=-1

Heals - Discover Craft show

As a member of the Works collective, I have been involved in the curation of our show at the Discover Craft show at Heals, London. A special edition Hybreed chair and my Stitched Urns will be on sale.. come and have a look.

http://www.heals.co.uk/page/healsevents

 

Pictures of the Show. . .

 

4blog.jpg
3blog.jpg
6blog.jpg
2blog.jpg
1.jpg


stitching urns . . .

I have been working on some new experiments, creating objects which play with the senses...in this case the haptic and visual senses. I cut shapes out of neoprene and stitched them together to make soft 3d vessels. I have started working with a ceramicist to take molds from my vessel forms in order to make some slip casts. 

Below: working on some samples to pick up detail of stitching and texture

urnblog5.jpg
urnblog4.jpg

My neoprene models. The finished cast shrinks by 20% so these have been sized up

urnblog6.jpg
urnblog7.jpg

The molds taken from my neoprene model

urnblog10.jpg
urnblog.jpg

 

Made by Works & Christie's

The Works Collective have been busy creating a display for Chrisite’s window in South Kensington entitled  20 LIONS –  Made by WORKSThis installation embodies our collective’s philosophy of individuality and equality.  Each member will create a preparatory sketch and a sculpture of a lion in our chosen medium – resulting in a series of highly unique, yet cohesive objects. Each Lion will be signed and share pride of place in the installation which will run during London Design Festival. We will hold an auction of the ‘secret’ lions and preparatory sketches at the end of the festival.

blog lion 3.jpg
blog lion 1.jpg
blog lion 4.jpg

My lion is made up of six pebble-like parts which build up the form. Each part was cast from a fabric mold, which gave a beautiful textured finish with visible stitching at the seams. 

blog lion 2.jpg

Made by Works do Milan

Made by Works came together to curate an independent show for the Milan Furniture Fair. We built our show in a large space within a warehouse in Ventura Lamrate. 

Works is an interdisciplinary group of young creatives based in London, UK. We aim to challenge the perception of design and provoke a change that would fundamentally shape our future world. This collective is an assembly of graduates of the Royal College of Art from various departments that pursue the development and promotion of individual work on a cross fertilizing platform.

Hybreed chairs on show alongside Marjan van Aubel's Well Proven chairs and Hilda Hellstrom's Sedimentation Urns.

blog milan1.jpg

Silo Studio's moulded glassware.






BLO lamps at ToolsGalerie in Paris

Four BLO lamps have been commissioned for the Lumiers Celestes show at ToolsGallerie in Paris, alongside designers and artists including Faye Toogood and Matteo Zorzenoni.

 

ToolsGalerie

Projects & Object Designers

119 Rue Vielle du Temple

75003 Paris

Airtime on The Culture Show

I was invited by BBCs Culture Show to review The Art Behind Furniture exhibition at the V&A museum, curated by Nick Humphrey. 

click on picture to go to the BBC website to view video clip

click on picture to go to the BBC website to view video clip

The Culture Show:

December sees the opening of the new furniture Galleries at the V&A, which tell the story of how British and European furniture has been made and decorated for over 600 years. Along with some of Britain’s brightest and best new furniture designers, Tom Dyckoff picks some of his favourites amongst the 200 pieces on display.


Tableu Vivient - Ophelia in Hysteria

 

See if you can spot one of the chairs from the Hybreed collection, which will be featured in a new theatrical performance: Tableau Vivant: OPHELIA IN HYSTERIA, inspired by the painting Ophelia by Millais.

Ophelia in Hysteria is an extraordinary two hour session which combines theatre, dance, visual arts, live music and a creative food lab by food designer Rolan Dack. It will be a highly participatory event that blurs the boundaries between actor and audience.

"Our aim is to bring our shows even closer to the audience and we encourage you to take an active part in the performance, food and theatre".

 WWW.TABLEAUVIVANT.EU

304951_10151052752076135_1270722439_n.jpeg
photo-3.jpeg

 

 

RCA Paradise in Milan

Presenting my newest project ‘BLO’ at RCA Paradise in this years Milan design fair.

See you there - lets hope for good weather.

www.paradise.rca.ac.uk

BLO

The blowing iron, a tool used to blow air into glass, has remained unchanged for centuries.This project has pushed the development of the blowing iron, creating new possibilities in the way the tool can be used and what it can produce. With the new blowing tool multiple lung-like atriums can be blown at once. The tool becomes an extension of the blowers lungs.

Once the glass leaves the kiln it is reunited with the tool that blew it. The tool now works as a stand for the glass, which is illuminated to create an ambient light source. 

Photos from the show . . .

Sam Weller, Petter Thorne and Nic Wallenberg's Making Money in Milan project.

Sam Weller, Petter Thorne and Nic Wallenberg's Making Money in Milan project.