felted rocks, small and large

28 Feb

Balloon Dog, Jeff Koons, Palazzo Grassi, Venice

I’m on an art kick this week.

Back in my design firm days, we used to talk about the need to engage all the senses when creating new products. Of course, we all want pictures to be beautiful. We want candles to smell lovely, we want watches to tick, and we want cookies to be delicious. But for some reason, we don’t always think about how things feel when we touch them, and how delightful it is when the sense of touch is stimulated.

Haptic perception is the power of recognizing objects through touch. And to me, it’s best sense to play around with. As Balloon Dog (above) illustrates, it’s super-fun to have your expectations challenged. And just as a balloon dog is supposed to be small and lightweight, a rock is supposed to be dull and heavy.

That’s why I think these felted rock cushions by South African textile designer Ronel Jordaan have captured the imagination of many bloggers and online shopkeepers.

Silver rock cushions, Ronel Jordaan


Ronel Jordaan rock cushions, Viva Terra, $298-$595

If you feel like shelling out $300 for a cushion, at least you’ll be pleased to know that they’re all hand dyed, carded and felted merino wool with natural filler, and “made by women in a successful job creation program in Gauteng- Johannesburg.”

Ronel Jordaan lumbar pillow, Viva Terra, $198

The lumbar pillow features little cabbage flowers amidst the stones.

Smarin Living Stones, Olozoo, $320

A French designer named Stephanie Marin sells her own version of the stone cushion, called Living Stones, which I found for sale at an environmentally-friendly kids’ shop called Olozoo.

If you’d like to try your own hand at felted wool stones (albeit on a smaller scale), I found two great tutorials online.

DIY felted rocks, design*sponge
One is from the ever-prescient design*sponge, in a post from last February.

Felted stones, Resurrection Fern

The other is from Resurrection Fern, which includes directions on where to find merino (wool) roving, the fabric you’ll need to make the stones. It looks like a great weekend project. All you need are little rocks, wool, soapy water, and a washing machine. (By the way, the rocks come out at the end. After all, no one needs that kind of haptic experiment happening indoors…)

Remember, don’t throw things at your friends.

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