Our Temperature Myth Project is Complete!

15 April 2024 |
 Blog | News

At the beginning of 2023, we began a year-long project. Created with the same intention as a knitted temperature blanket, for every day of 2023, we tracked the high temperatures here in Albuquerque and visualized those numbers through specific felt colors. The end result was one of our felt wall panels called Myth. Nature is a constant source of inspiration in our designs, and we love illustrations that clearly yet aesthetically display scientific data, such as geologic charts or spectrometry. Our Myth Panel was inspired by geological prints that depict the layers of the earth, such as this late 19th-century print by Levi Walter Yaggy. The striations of the design seemed like the perfect way to render our Temperature Project in felt!

a colorful vintage geological illustration of the layers of earth around a volcano.
Rectangular felt wall panel with vertical stripes in pink, peach, and blue colors hanging behind a table with books and knick knacks.

A recap on our color choices.

Some people have asked us questions such as “Why aren’t the hottest temperatures red?” or “Are the highs of the day really the best representation of the weather?”—All great questions we are excited to answer! Albuquerque has a desert climate, meaning the temperatures vary greatly between night and day. We thought using the daily average temperature would not accurately reflect what we experience. We picked our color ranges intentionally to reflect the effects of temperature on nature, cool tones for winter weather, bright and vibrant in ranges conducive for growing, white at the turning point, and a range of grays to represent the effects of extreme heat on plant life, very sparse and sterile feeling.

Are you ready to see the whole year??

Let’s dive into so some of the particulars of the year!

July was VERY hot. In fact, the very large chunk of ashy gray represents 23 straight days of high temperatures over 95 degrees. That sweltering three weeks broke heat records here in ABQ. On the opposite side of the thermometer, we only used our coldest blue color once in February.

Looking back in hindsight, we could have created the key with smaller temperature ranges and a larger variety of colors (we do have access to more than 95 colors of felt) so that the resulting panel would have been more of a rainbow. But our goal for the chosen colors for this project was to reflect how the high temperatures affected our local environment: blues for cold weather, yellows and greens for the temps optimal for growing, and ever-darkening grays as the highs became oppressive and the greenery died away. Considering our original intention, we feel that the final colorway of the Temp Myth was a pretty accurate view of the weather in 2023.

So we tracked the temperatures and laid out 365 strips of wool felt on edge in a template. But there was A LOT more work to be done before the final piece was ready for installation.

The 365 pieces posed two initial issues. First, the organized strips were too long for the template. Second, the repetitive colors when days remained in the same temp range looked blocky and honestly, boring. The solution… enter one of our talented fabricators. They worked on the strips, swapping out 5mm felt for 3mm to make all 365 fit and add a more visually pleasing width variety.

Next, they worked on adding variation to the blocks of a single color. Luckily, because wool felt is a natural material, there is variation within the same felt color due to dye lot variations. So in areas that showed the same color over a series of days, we pulled out some of the strips and replaced them with pieces from a different dye lot to add slight but perceivable shifts in tone.

Next, the strips need to fit snuggly into the template so that we knew they will fit well into the metal cradle without wanting to pop out.. They also need to be straightened to lay parallel to the side edges and perpendicular to the bottom edge of the cradle. Finally when everything looked and felt settled, the strips were glued into the frame and left weighted under the cradle overnight.

The final work to complete the wall panel involved trimming the long strips away so that the length of the felt matched perfectly to the size of the cradle it sits in. Since this is not a product that we make very often, we used this project as a learning opportunity for our new fabricators on the processes of making a Myth Panel.

With the panel completed, we decided to hang it in our lobby. Under the piece is an easy-to-read key of the felt colors and how many times each color was included, as well as a small blurb about the project. We are excited to have visitors to our studio see this fully realized project.

Thank you to everyone who followed along in 2023 as we undertook this project!