Recycling Electrical Wire

Artwork In-Progress
Bowl framework over a form made using recycled electrical wire.

Experiment with using computer loom wire to make a bowl. They are too thick for twining. Will undo this and try using them as spokes only, twining with yarn/thread instead. Will also try random weave. The wires are short so lots of ends to deal with.

I have a collection of electrical wire that has been salvaged from old computers and cables. It’s a bit of a lottery as to whether you get copper in the centre, and whether the wire is solid core or braided. The thickness and flexibility also vary tremendously. As I’ve been having a bit of a clear out recently I decided I should experiment with these to see if I can make something successful from them (and therefore continue to “rescue” wire) or if it is a waste of my time (and space) to keep them. It is difficult and very time consuming to remove the plastic casing so I am trying to find a way to use them without doing that.

I don’t like this first attempt. The wire is too thick and the pieces aren’t long enough to successfully twine with them. I’m going to pull this apart and try a different method.

Another disaster – felting this time

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

Needle Felting the Bowl

I spent several hours creating two bowl shapes by randomly weaving over a plastic bowl with Courtelle machine knitting yarn. I planned to embroider different designs on the inside and the outside of both of them and then dry-felt with hand-held felting needles to integrate the wool stitching. This was easy to do but took quite a bit of time and I was quite pleased with the overall look.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. After embroidering over the weaving I used needle felting to finish - this weakened the structure.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. Embroidered with tapestry wool on the inside and outside and dry-felted. In places where there was no wool the needles weakened the courtelle to the point where it could be torn easily by hand.

Then I noticed there were some weak areas between some of the circles on the outside. When I pushed (hard) with my finger I was able to push through and pull the fabric apart at those points. I wasn’t able to pull it apart where there was wool on both the inside and the outside (ie the courtelle sandwiched between the 2 layers). I cannot tear the other unembroidered bowl so clearly it was the needle-felting that has broken down, or cut perhaps, the fibres of the Courtelle. I was unimpressed – it had taken me several hours to dry felt (leave alone the time taken to make the bowl shape in the first place) and in so doing I had destroyed something I quite liked the look of.

Lessons Learned

I have learned a lesson – I will only dry-felt with felting needles on wool. This was my first foray into dry-felting with needles and now I am wondering how strong some of the embroideries I have seen made with the embellishing machines are when they have used synthetic fabrics/yarns. I am going to put these in the bin – I don’t want to incorporate something I am not happy with into any other artworks. I am going to embroider the other bowl base as I am quite happy with the strength of that structure – but I will not be using felting needles on it because of the Courtelle base layer.