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.