Dechrau means ‘to start’, ironically, as this was the first word I noticed as a shape/sensation. It had a raspy, cat’s tongue feel to me. It was a discomforting sound. I thought of all the things that gave me that nails-down-blackboard feelings (or for me, nails on unglazed pottery). Initially I considered using needle felting, as the feel of felted objects give me that sensation. After some experiments, I decided to use felt as an element, but not as the star of the show.
I ended up making a heavy, irregular chain for a neckpiece. I deliberately gave no attention to how each link would interact with the next. I wanted it to have a disjointed feel. The main wooden piece was cut for me locally from windfallen beech by Paul from Isca Woodcrafts. I asked Paul to cut a large, curved tongue shape. I splintered the surface, for that biting-lolly-sticks sensation, before varnishing it. I added gold leaf to the top and sides to draw attention to the contrast between the rough and smooth wood.
The felted aspect went through several false starts – side tufts and so on before I settled on a mat in colours I hate together (brown/rust/yellow) beneath the wood, for the ‘itchy jumper on skin’ aspect. A complete frustration led to a melt-down at the not-right look of the piece, led to me shredding some of the felting wool. Thus, I accidentally discovering exactly how to finish it! I needled loose wool into the mat so it sticks out from every angle. Perfect for the fluffy-tickling-irritant feeling I wanted. Despite me setting out to make a super-annoying, discordant piece, I really love how the finished necklace looks.
All photographs ©Aga Hosking Branding