During the past years I have received many requests for instructions on how I make Fiber Bowls. Some people come to take a class and for others it is just not possible. So, I’ve decided to make this my first real blog post.
There are numerous publications, videos and articles about making these bowls varying the materials and shapes, but the basic technique is always the same, and it is the technique that I use. Where I spend more time and effort is in the design, in the fine-tuning, in making these bowls three-dimensional art pieces rather than utilitarian bowls. You can see a selection of my bowls on my website here
I’ve divided this tutorial into four sections:
- Prepare Canvas
- Shape Bowl
- Fine-tune Design
- Finish Edges and Stitch
Let’s start with Section 1 – Prepare Canvas
For a complete supply list please go here and choose Bowl Art. In this section we will be using the heavy duck canvas and the Wonder Under fusible web. You can find duck canvas online and Wonder Under fusible web at quilt shops or JoAnn Fabric stores.
Start by cutting two identical circles of heavy duck canvas. I generally work with circles that are somewhere between 16” and 18” in diameter, but they can be any size.
Apply a layer of Wonder Under fusible web to one of the circles.
Fuse the two heavy duck canvas circles together. The two layers will make a sturdy bowl. You will need a very hot iron as the heat needs to go thru the thick layers of canvas to fuse properly. This fusing takes 15 to 20 minutes and may leave burn marks or a slight yellow coloration on your canvas; don’t worry, this will all be covered up later.
Once you have your two layers of canvas fused together, add another layer of fusible web to one of the sides and apply one piece of fabric to the entire surface.
This will be the outside of your bowl.
Now onto decorating what will be the inside of your bowl. For this, I chose two slightly different reds and applied fusible web to one side of the fabric. Batiks are my preferred fabrics since they become less worn at the edge with all the manipulation that happens when working on your bowl.
Using pencil, start by making a very high level sketch on your canvas. My design will be a set of asymmetrical concentric circles swirling in my bowl.
Using both red fabrics with fusible web already applied, I start cutting out shapes and covering the canvas, making sure to distribute the two reds in a “swirly” way. At this point we don’t add any details since they may distort when we shape the bowl.
We only cover the canvas with our background palette, in this case red. Your canvas is ready for shaping!
While you work on this, I’ll go and write Section 2.