My friend Miszek in Poland is an artist whose chosen medium is felting. (You can see his extraordinary creations if you if you click on the link to his site in my blogroll.) Over the past weeks there has been much e-mailing between us because Miszek is making me a hat. The original idea was that it would be a bear hat, simply because I loved the bear hats I’d seen on his blog. Here are Miszek and Robert being bears in a wood.
However the spirit led Miszek in another direction, and he must have divined that my totem animal is not a bear, because although the finished hat has not yet been revealed to me, I know from this little drawing there are antlers!
From Miszek to Clive
Gdansk. 22 October 2011
The hat is ready
at its readiest
I am pleased with it. At some point it’s just ceased to be a hat and has become the unexpected. But you will see it after the hat arrives safely in Ty Isaf.
Leaving for Chojnice in the morning. I’ll spend the weekend teaching students financial analysis. Not in a mood for 2 x 10h marathons. I just know I will be dead after that. But it’s only 3 weekends this year so I cannot complain.
You may put the pictures on your Artlog, of course – I’d be delighted.
Here’s the first batch of “the making of”
From Clive to Miszek
Llanilar. 22 October 2011
Miszek, this has been a truly thrilling way to start the morning, seeing images of the felt being born.
I had no idea the process was so sensual, so hard-core, so furiously energetic and visceral. I had thought… because I had never experienced such a thing before… that it would be a wrestling-match. But in fact it’s far beyond anything so clumsy. It’s ‘creative surgery’.
The way you plunge your hands into the slippery, emerging fabric brings to mind childbirth, or as I’m sure can’t have escaped you, wild sex. The kinetic energy is staggering.
And there at the end of it, like the coat of a foal licked clean by its mother after the tumult of blood and afterbirth, that wonderful, sleek, manicured nap of the finished felt. This isn’t a hat. It’s a universe!
I’m completely blown away by the photographs, by the notion of felting. Blown away too at the skill and power of your hands at work. This, like all the crafts still practised by hand, is a timeless, window into the past. a thing of beauty. I’m so happy.