How often have you forced yourself into doing something that you don’t really want to do? How often have you forced someone else into doing something they don’t want to do? How often have you tried to manipulate something – a person, place or thing? The outcome is never pleasing.
I spent hours trying to force my material – wool pencil roving - to do something it didn’t want to do. Working with machine felting, I tried to braid it when it didn’t want to be braided. Trying to add wire, add string. Bind it, wind it. It rejected it all.
But then I just decided to let it be what it was supposed to be. I put it in the washing machine, and just let it go. And the result was way more beautiful then anything I could have forced or manipulated it to be.
Using this technique – or I should say, ‘lack’ of technique – I let my hands find the true purpose of the material too. I let my hands fumble around on the fabric, folding it, pleating it, draping it. I let the fabric tell me what it wanted to do, and not vice versa. I noticed what was special about this piece of material, such as the beautiful selvage, and tried to make it stand out, instead of cutting it off and not using it.
For this project, I had to set my expectations of the material aside, and let it show me what it wanted to do. I had to let the material show me what its true purpose was.