Lotus sculpture inspired lotus top hat

Lotus Inspired Felt - from Online Class to Hat

Earlier in the year, I participated in a class with the amazing feltmaking artist and teacher Gladys Paulus. Check out her impressive projects such as Faces of Extinction and read an interview with her, HERE.


Online Education

However, I had never taken a class with Gladys because, in the past, she only taught in person.  But, due to the Coronavirus lockdown and wanting to decrease her carbon impact by flying less, she is developing online classes. The fantastic Inspired by Nature: the Lotus

Collage of one felted Lotus Pod made with Gladys Paulus online class.


Such Excellent Teaching

Instructions for this deceptively simple-looking object happened over a three-weeks via the Ruzuku platform. It’s an excellent website to learn a skill on because it is structured. One can see how many lessons there are and in what order you should tackle them. Gladys both demonstrates via clearly filmed videos AND step-by-step text/photographs. While videos can be helpful, I find having ‘pictures and words’ much more satisfying when I have a small detail that needs confirming. Plus, it’s so much more efficient instead of having to fast-forward through a video.


With Gladys’ class, lessons were released week by week. So that when you completed the first week, you then needed to wait for the next ‘installment’. Students' anticipation of the upcoming lessons added to the fun!

The initial activities were familiar, but by the second week, I was swimming in excitingly new three-dimensional feltmaking territory!!! And by the third, I was totally blown away by the class and my classmates' various and impressive solutions.

Taking it Further

As I worked on my table-top-sized sculpture, I wondered about how it could be used in felted millinery. What about making a top hat with a lotus AND a stylised pond for the brim?


Rough Sketch


Rough sketch of Lotus Hat with Pond.


 Boring Layout Photo

Fluffy Merino and Icelandic wool roving laid out for a Felted Top Hat.

More Exciting View

Top view of Brim - Pond of felted hat.
Above is a top view of the upperside of the brim. It has silk fabric and viscose fibres laid upon wool roving. As the hat is felted around multiple resists, I needed to assemble the parts halfway through, before further shrinking it down.


The Completed Hat

Front view of the completed felted lotus inspired Top Hat.

It is most certainly a BIG hat - almost too big. It has a wobble to it, like other past engineering challenges. {See the Vegas Creamsicle Hat}. Consequently, I will keep this one for my own collection. Nevertheless, I will continue incorporating the helpful techniques learned from Glady's outstanding class.


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