Felt Pebble Cushions – Part Deux

Sometimes projects need a bit of time to percolate, and sometimes they just need a push from the outside. A customer was searching for felt pebble cushions to complete forest-themed playroom and came across pictures of the pebble cushions I felted last year. She wanted to complement the pair of Ronel Jordaan stone cushions she bought with a scattering of smaller pebbles. Since I had been wanting to try super-sizing these pillows, I decided to take on the challenge for my own learning.

I scrounged a large piece of cast-off foam from an upholstery shop, sliced it in thirds and then glued the slabs together with spray adhesive to form a large cube. To get a slightly more organic shape, I carved the foam block in the back yard with a serrated knife until it was sloped and curved to my satisfaction.

The biggest cushion proved to be a logistical challenge because it was really too large to felt on my own. I had to wait until a friend could come over with an extra pair of hands. We worked together shaping the felt until it made a tight fit around the foam core. Rinsing the cushion took a very long time, and I wasn’t able to spin out the excess water, which meant it took several weeks before it was really dry. Now that I’ve finished a boulder, I’m convinced that the originals are worth every penny. This baby is going to live in our front room. It makes a perfect foot stool and perch.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and respecting an artist’s integrity. My cushions were not intended to be identical replicas of Ronel Jordaan. The wool I used is speckled and heathered, and the shape I chose is deliberately blocky. I love her work, and have no intention of creating discounted knock-offs. There is little satisfaction in copying someone else’s idea, though there is something to be learned by exploring an idea or a theme. Much as painters learn by imitating the style of a master, as a feltmaker I can learn volumes by trying a technique or project created by another; this is why I take workshops and buy felt books. My goal is to expand my stock of knowledge through deliberate experimentation.


5 Responses to “Felt Pebble Cushions – Part Deux”

  1. 1 Karen Friday, April 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I have been intrigued by these for quite some time now and Just Happen to have a pile of foam remnants in the back of my van…. I am so glad you did this and I agree that sometimes you just have to experience a process to understand it, whether in felting or life. I also believe that you could give the same materials to 12 different people and come up with 12 different things, we all look at things a bit differently.

  2. 2 angie Friday, April 16, 2010 at 10:35 am

    So true what you said about artistic integrity…I think along those lines as well.
    Have you ever seen this quote?
    By the way, I love to felt around foam and often scavenge foam pieces (at least if they haven’t started disintegrating) from couches left beside the road. I love the idea of soft furniture…i thought once I might make my whole living room out of sewn and felted furniture…around a theme…like “salad”.
    Oh well, it was one of those ideas gone by the wayside…

  3. 3 joniphippin Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Great work . I love them.
    I applaud your attitude to other peoples work and totally agree. I really like it when people copy what I do for themselves, but feel frustrated if I have spent a long time developing a technique for it to be ripped off and then undersold.
    You put it so well.

  4. 4 walnutgarden Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    well said. and wow! this cushion looks awesome. I cannot even imagine how much physical labor that took. I bet the kids love it!

  5. 5 monroma Friday, August 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Wow, I’m impressed …

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