Friday, October 19, 2012

Sculpting Bowls

Ruffled Thread Bowl 2012

I have been creating these small fiber bowls, which began as a means to recycle leftover thread cuttings, yarns, and lint.  The results always have an element of the unexpected.  Previously I had used Solvy sheets, a water soluble stabilizer that looks like plastic wrap, in making my own fabric out of threads and stitching for appliques on my quilts, as you see in the center of one of my "Squiggles Series" below.

Squiggles 3  © 2008  Linda A. Miller

So, I began to wonder about the possibilities of a three dimensional piece... and how would that work?  Three years later you see the results.  I thought it time to share the process with you.

Fibers set up in hoop - top side

Back side of piece

To begin, I set up layers of lint, thread cuttings and yarn between two sheets of Solvy.  This package is then put in an embroidery hoop before stitching.  I find this keeps everything together as I stitch.  I use a 10" hoop that allows me access to all areas under my machine's arm.  Then I use free motion stitching all over the surface to keep the materials together once the stabilizer is gone.

Stitching completed

Once the stitching is finished, the materials are taken out of the hoop.  I trim off the edges of the Solvy (I now have a bag of those cuttings to use in some project!)  and wash out the Solvy in a water bath, leaving some residue remaining which will act as glue for bowl.

Post washing

Now the material is ready for forming into a bowl shape.  I am using packaging from store bought muffins currently. You can experiment for yourself with different forms.  Once molded, I let it dry.

Shaping the bowl

The bowl is very light, almost paper like in texture, and holds it shape.  I seal it with acrylic sealer or matte medium to protect it. have fun fiber bowl!  You can see more bowls in my Etsy shop.

Ruffled Thread Bowl - top

Using the soluble stabilizer to create is not a new idea.  I love seeing how others have gone down a similar path to develop their own style of three dimensional art.  In the current  issue of Quilting Arts (October November 2012) Julie Richardson talks about her own process of turning scraps into sculptural bowls.  She uses AquaMesh Wash Away embroidery stabilizer.  I may have to experiment with that!  Let me know what you come up with.

Ruffled Thread Bowl 2012


  1. Interesting... I was wondering how you got the shape. I could see adding beads and maybe some feet to these, too. Fun!

  2. These are fascinating! I love the unexpected results you must get, each and every time. Intriguing.

  3. Thanks Ladies! I do love the unexpectedness of the process! And yes, I have been thinking of beads, too!


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