Recently, I started to felt wool. My initial experience felting took place in my friend, Deborah’s, kitchen several years ago. We happily soaped and splashed away making some rather colorful, misshaped blobs of felt. We had a blast! At that time, my focus was weaving and the night of felting was just a fun arts and crafts activity. I stored the pieces of felt I made in my mill studio.
This year, I used a portion of my long ago felted pieces for the hair on my piece titled “Stood Up”. As i worked with the felt, I considered felting a background for my next piece. I called Deborah and we made a date to once again take a stab at felting. This experiment grew to include a foray into needle felting three dimensional features on one of my next pieces yet to be finished. Needless to say, I was hooked on a new dimension of fiber. Summer beckoned and I began to envision days of dyeing and carding to felt in new ways. I searched the Internet to discover ideas and rediscovered the art of nuno felting. Nuno felting is the art of felting with a lightweight fabric and thin layers of wool and embellishments.
After an adventure to purchase fleece at a local sheep shearing with Deborah and the grandchildren, I had new fleece to wash, dye and card. I studied how to begin to nuno felt and created a plethera of materials for a summer workshop for friends.
To insure that we were ready to share what we knew, Deborah and I had a dry run last week. What fun! We learned a lot; particularly what to do and not do. For instance, during the “thwaking” stage (our technical term for throwing the piece on a hard surface), do not have glass anywhere nearby. Breakage will occur. Thwaking can get seriously out of control when women find how deeply satisfying it is to violently slap around a hunk of soaked wool and silk.