Felting is one of the most satisfying things. You take loose fiber, water soap and minimal pieces of equipment and create a beautiful object. I spent the weekend felting. I finished one bag and started another plus I created some felted soap, which is fun to use because it’s not slippery and just feels nice in your hands. I also retook some pictures for my etsy site because I wasn’t fully satisfied with the way the white sterile background looked. I talked the photos over with a friend and when he stated that he thought they would look better outside, which was exactly what I was thinking, I knew something had to be done.
The bag above was created using brown merino as a base and then I use a lovely blend of fiber that I got from my friend Emily Wohlscheid at Bricolage Studios. Emily is a jewelry and fiber artist, I own some of her jewelry and I buy her fiber because she has a beautiful sense of color so I love adding her work to mine. Using other artist’s craft materials and wool from the small farms adds a deeper meaning to my work personally. At this point in the felting process I’ve just been rubbing the wool while it is sandwiched between two pieces of bubble wrap. The wool is wetted and soap is applied. I do this until the fibers are sticking together. Once this happens I roll the entire thing and wrap a towel around the roll.
Then I roll it in the bundle, unrolling and flipping it to roll it from every possible side and direction. I like to tie the roll up with knee highs to keep the bundle from coming unrolled. Not everyone has to do this but something about the way I roll makes them come undone to easily so this method works for me. Rolling is causing the fiber to tighten up and begin to shrink.
You can then cut out the resist. I’ve laid the wool on top of the resist so that you can see how much the wool has shrunk. I then cut the wool to create a flap for the purse and a handle. No sewing needed!
Don’t ask how long this takes because I don’t really know. It is a long process but I love the work. It feels very satisfying to be able to make something from a pile of fiber. I still need to seal the edges where the shape was cut and do a little more fulling to finish up. I will put this up on etsy when I get the chance. I want to get a picture of someone carrying it so that people get a feel for the size.
For a taste of what's coming up here is a pile of lovely fiber that comes from a variety of sources. The fiber on the right comes from my cousin Patti's alpaca farm in California, Hazard Alpacas. The fiber is lovely and super soft. It actually makes the merino feel rough. The colored wool is from Emily of Bricolage Studios and then the merino on the left is dyed by me using avocado pits. I continue to try my hand at natural dying, which I'm sure I will be sharing a little here, come summer. I'm so excited to see how this turns out. Time to get to work.