A behind the scenes peek into the makings of a Felted Witch Hat inspired by the impacts of Climate Change.
My wet felted witch and wizard hats usually contain new creative territories. They are bigger 'canvases' with more room to try ideas. Often, they are more gravity-defying. Consequently, there is an adventure in figuring out how to make what is within my mind's eye. Sometimes, the ideas and the methods to make them work well; other times, they do not.
Unsurprisingly, there were both envisioning and technical challenges with this Felted Witch hat.
I had imagined a dark, turbulent sea licking a parched desert plain, which then resolved into grassy growth. This part, towards the tip, has lots of short felted cords. They ended up looking clumsy, dare I say, squat and ugly. A problem like this is where the MAKING gets scary yet invigorating.
What did the hat need? How does one fix a problem besides remaking it over again? Resolutions to problems usually come from staring, racking one's brain, and walking away from the project. Then, eureka, a brain wave: what about changing the stubby cords into something else? Hence, the visually and emotionally improved sprouting seedlings arose!
Technical - Or it's too floppy
Along with visual challenges, I needed to fix other aspects. The 'cracked earth' technique involved four layers of wool, a thin plastic resist for the cracks, and 3-4 more layers. This area of the felted witch hat is both heavier AND more unstable. It impacted the hat, making it slightly wobbly. Here’s an in-process photograph of me removing the thin resist.
So, I hand-sewed in some millinery wire. The plus was that this part became bendable and posable - a nice and unexpected benefit. However, there was now a new 'awkward area' below due to the stitching. More staring and thinking. Ultimately, I removed the wire, only to re-sew it again a day or two later. Thankfully, it looked right the second time but remained too floppy.
More Rarely Used Techniques
Next up was the stiffeners. You may have seen the minor saga with stiffeners if you follow my Instagram. In the end, painting Hydrolac-B on the inside helped to firm up the upper part of the hat that was initially too flaccid. I purchased this powder from Hats by Leko, back when I was living in Pittsburgh.
Then everything came together quickly enough, and there is a New Hat which you can find HERE. Dare I say, it is ready for Halloween!
(Hopefully, the next chapeau will flow more rapidly).