It's so lovely to have a prayer bowl on the table, holding a short stack of verses, or a few meaningful talismans. Sometimes it's nice for them to be empty, holding space. These took us a couple of hours. They could easily be done in under an hour, but of course we were doing a few projects at once, and eating a sweet lunch from Brian while he played some tunes. Iris, at 6, made one alongside us, with not too much direction. We got some of the roving this morning from Jennifer Tan at Syrendell, and Robyn keeps a gorgeous stash of silken threads that add streaks of sheen + magic, but really you could use any old roving. If you don't prep the surface with a waterproof table cloth and use a nice plastic tub with a lid, this project has the potential to make a huge mess.
1 large rock for each bowl. Keep in mind the bowl will shrink, so start large.
A fat wad of wool roving in various colors.
Soapy dish liquid + plenty of hot water.
A coffee mug.
A large plastic bin with a lid.
3x3' bubble wrap.
1 Waterproof tablecloth or oilcloth + a few towels.
Step 1: Prepare your surface. Lay down the table cloth. Place the bin in the middle of the table with the lid beside it, lip up. Lay your bubble wrap on the lid. Have the stack of towels close by.
Step 2: Fill the tub with at least 6 inches of hot, very soapy water.
Step 3: Choose your wool. Consider how you want the inside to look (I like a different color peeking out), and if you want the colors to show up a certain way. Of course, you can't be attached to any of it. The wet felting method has a mind of it's own.
Step 4: Using 5-inch wide, thin strips of roving, begin layering the wool around your rock. Use a cross-hatch pattern, overlapping sections as much as possible. Keep going until the rock is at least twice as big, with a fluffy, 2" layer around it.
Step 5: Grasp the bundle with two hands and slowly lower it into the bin. Use your mug to pour water over the top, pushing the wool down onto the rock surface. Use the bubbles to shrink the wool surface, and slowly turn the rock over, continuing to push the wool down onto itself.
Step 6: Once it starts to shrink a bit and hold it's form, you can move faster, turning your stone and pressing in with more aggression.
Step 7: Pull out your stone and place it on the bubble wrap. Fold the wrap over and use it to rub the wool. Move quickly, turning the rock to get all sides. This will shrink it up, hooking the fibers into themselves. It may help to add more hot water over the top with the mug.
Step 8: Move back and forth between the bin and the bubble wrap. Once it's nice and tight, rinse the stone in cold water.
Step 9: Place it on a towel and lightly pat dry. Look it over and choose how you want the bowl to sit.
Step 10: Cut a small hole in the top with sharp sewing scissors. Pull the wool down over the rock to remove it. Use your hands to form the mouth of your prayer bowl. You can cut it a bit wider, or form a bit of a lip at the edges.
Step 11: Form your bowl, place it back on the towel and in the sun to dry.
You can embellish these or leave them simple.
Robyn made my first felt prayer bowl years ago, during class at Rudolf Steiner College. It has a string of beads attached, with a metal plate that says, "Play." We keep a stack of tiny angel cards in it, traveling from shelf-to-shelf around the house.
Others are cozied up on the mantle and an upper sill, filled with words of sustenance for ourselves or reminders needed to carry the day.
Do you have a favorite verse, phrase or prayer? Please share in the comments below!