The possibility of a carpet? I would have to felt a whole lot, and patchwork it all together, and secure it to the floor, and ask participant’s to take their shoes off in the gallery – which I don’t think they would be willing to do and also even Nathan said that he wouldn’t. Need to rethink this. Jen mentioned about having a carpet printed but the cheapest quote I could find for that was £750 so that’s a no.
If I was going to make mittens for the Peter Scott gallery then why not make them for the installation? I’m going to look into this further and the possibilities of this in terms of time/ resources/ money etc and then determine whether I can manage this feat. How many would I have to make? Maybe 5-10? Would I make gloves or mittens or fingerless gloves? It would be a really interesting and cool thing to look at, especially as in previous terms I had thought about using latex gloves for the participants so that they are unable to touch the objects in my installation, mimicking the detachedness of virtuality and reality and further pushing the participant from reality into virtuality but whilst they are in reality. If I am going to do this I need to pull it off as perfectly as possible, go through different patterns, tests etc, oh no.
Above are 1200dpi scans of some of the felts that I made to make my mittens from: I have made a total of 25 pieces of felt for 8 pairs of mittens for my installation, however, the scanner in LICA has broken therefore I never got to scan them in before I made the mittens from them. I explored the possibility of reinforcing my felt for the mittens so that they would be less fragile and therefore easily accessible, however, the texture of the felt when stiffened was too coarse and rough against the skin. I want the participant to be able to be comfortable when wearing the mittens and liken it to them wearing their own mittens, not something horrible and rough that would distract their attention from the installation to the mittens themselves, pulling them out of the immersive installation.
Above are images of prototypes of the mittens that I made, that were later recycled and remade into actual mittens for the installation. Following this initial pair I made with a simple hand blanket stitch, there were many changes to patterns and stitching that I executed in order to sufficiently create these mittens usable by the participants. The reinforcing of felt did not work however did work well with the strings that join the mittens together. I wanted the strings to be long enough that the participant’s do not feel like they are handcuffed whilst experiencing my installation, therefore the strings had to be of a significant length, and simple spun felt would not work for this. I mixed PVA and water together and essentially dreadlocked three entire pieces of felt that had been cut into strips, before sewing them on the machine also to further strengthen them. Whilst working with the mittens the sewing machine’s tension was set to 2 the entire time, enabling me to bind the extremely thin felt fibres together more efficiently.
Reflections of mittens:
They look so so good. They are exactly what I wanted, not too simple and not too difficult. The reinforced strings have worked very well and are providing sufficient support for the mittens, especially as they will be hung from this string in the alcove of A27 for the participants to wear. The colour combinations have been executed well and they all have enough detail in them that the participant will be able to see how much effort and time I have put into making the felt, designing the felt, making the mittens etc. When the mittens are hung in that alcove, I don’t know how they should be hung!! I’ve been pissing about with them for so long now that I can’t decide. I think that them hung with two nails apart from each other but twisted looks the best – but I’ll have to see when they’re hung in the alcove itself. I’m only going to put out 4 pairs at a time, that way I can replenish them once they get ruined. I’m fully prepared for them to get trashed so I’m not especially upset about it. I just hope that people have fun and enjoy the installation and immersive themselves within it.