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Monday, December 17, 2012

The BOX Challenge!

Every year for the month of January, my gallery (Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts), proposes a theme, instead of our usual Featured Artist of the Month.  All the artists are invited to display their renditions of that theme.  We've done "Miniatures" for at least two years, and I've never really participated.  When this year's theme was announced, I tossed off the idea as a crazy one for me.  I began to think about it and posed these questions to my fellow artists and myself:

  • What is a box?  
  • When is a box not a box?
  • Does it have to have a lid?
  • Must it be functional?
Raspberry Box
With a couple of ideas in mind, I decided to give one a try.  I KNEW instinctively that that it would be almost impossible to create a felted box with a lid that fit properly, so my first one is a lidless box that IS functional as well as decorative.  

It is ~9" (almost square!), handknitted and freeform crocheted, felted in Wonder Washer, dried, and then embellished with black wool needle felting.  It is raspberry, not real red.  It can be used for stationery (think Christmas or other greeting cards!), wrapped candy, jewelry, coins, anything that will not stain or get caught in the fibers.  More photos on flickr.  Click on each one to open it to full size.

I was fairly pleased with this first one, so....why not try another.  This time I had an idea for a lidded box, and realized that it could be possible, if I made a cube and then CUT through the felt (it will not unravel once felted!) on three sides to create a flapped lid.  So, I made six equal-sided squares, whip-stitched them together with the same wool, and threw it into WW (Wonder Washer!).  

Felting is a very imperfect art, because you never really know what you might get!  After about 45 minutes in WW, it seemed to be the size I envisioned, but it most certainly was not the straight-sided cube of my concept.  I pulled and pulled and reshaped, trying to create straight no avail.  So...enter idea #2.  I LOVE freeform anyway, so in keeping with my penchant for freeform anything, I went with this unknown object, realizing that it still fit the challenge.  So I continued with what seems to have become a signature embellishment: freeform needle felting around the cube.  And here is the result!

The Blues Cube
It has NO function...just form.  I guess you might say it's a decorative piece that would entertain on a coffee table as a great conversation piece.  Whatever!

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