Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Art of Felting

                                                 When I begin work, I sit down to this.

Washed and cleaned 100% wool batting.

And these. 
 These are felting needles, if I had gotten close to them with the camera you could have seen little barbs on them that tangle the wool together.

Oh and I mustn't forget these too.  Without the foam...I would stab myself over and over.  I still stab myself sometimes, since I gave up coffee...much less.

I must begin every piece this way, with all these materials,  no exceptions.  

It can be a tedious prospect at 8am.

Because I always want to jump ahead and start with these...

100% dyed wool roving...same stuff used to spin yarn.

But alas, I have learned the hard way (in life and felting) that if there is to be any thing of lasting substance...there are no shortcuts, one must do all the work...not just the stuff you like doing.  Not just the stuff with pretty colors.

See...I have been doing my work, not just playing on Facebook all day.  

Once that is all done...the fun stuff happens.

Roving is sold by the ounce and comes in long skeins with the fibers of the wool all running in the same direction.  

I pull the fibers off the skein and use them like I would paint on a paint brush.

Then I stab the s&%* out of it with my felting needles. 

Then I take up a new color.

And repeat over and over again just as I would do with a painting.

Once I have the basic design and I am happy with it, I do detail work...with just one needle.  Yes, these babies are a lot of work.

You can sorta see the barbs on the needle, the lighter places on the end of the needle.

Felting is an ancient art, dating back to the Bronze Age.
Fragments of felt have been excavated and dated back 2000 years.
No one is certain about it's inception or original origin.
In Asia, the nomadic people used felt to create the walls and flooring of their yurts, the homes they traveled with.
Within those homes, those nomadic people also created art with their wool to protect and invoke blessings on them and their homes.

Although it is my belief blessings and protections are largely created by our own thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and the world, those ancient nomads may have been on to something.

I do not intentionally invoke Druid Magic as I weave my felted tapestries.
But there is certainly a lot of thought and love poured into every piece, into every layer of color.

The rest of the magic I suppose, would be up to you.


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