While I was at one of my favourite places on holiday, Studland Bay, I was having a walk through the waves just at the edge of the sand when a big gust of wind blew my new straw hat into the water. I rescued it but it was very soggy and unwearable, so I turned it over and used it to collect some of these shells.
Not particularly beautiful shells but some very shimmery pieces that really caught the light.
I was looking down at the waves and the shells half-buried in the sand, plus the odd bit of seaweed, and thought I'd try to represent it all in felt. Wise family members dissuade me from taking my new-ish camera near water, so I couldn't take a photo.
Can you incorporate real shells in layers of felt? Well, yes you can, if you really want to, but you have to be careful. I laid out two fine layers of fibres, then put some shells and pieces of shells in, then added another two fine layers of fibres so they were covered. I used some edges of silk squares for the swirly froth as the waves break on the sand.
When the piece was felted together well, I rolled it up using bubble-wrap and a foam pool-float - I usually use a bamboo blind but I thought that might be too hard for the shells!
When the felt had shrunk and fulled a bit I gently cut small holes in the top layer just over the shells to expose them a bit, and then carried on rolling.
All was fine until I thought I might throw the felt just a bit since it didn't seem to be hardening as much as I expected (how silly is that - to treat it really carefully to start with then chuck it against a table?)- this was when I broke two of the shells, I thought they might be a bit more protected by their cushion of felt! But they'd lodged in their little pockets of fibres so well that I was able to insert another couple quite securely. The shimmery pieces of shell did break up a bit but stayed lodged in the surface.
Always worth trying out ideas, I like the finished piece as the colours are lovely and soft and it really does remind me of looking down at the beach as I walked.