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If at first you don’t succeed…

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We all know the ending of that phrase is, “try, try again.” Felt making is like that. There are infinite varieties of colors, textures, techniques, and processes out there. Some methods work better than others; some work for some of us but not for other people. Some work once but not twice. But, one of the reasons I love felt is that it is so variable. I love those happy surprises that happen when an edge is turned under with a tad more fiber in one place than another or the edge scoops in a bit more in one place than in another. I love that organic part of felting; however there is the side of the craft that needs consistency. When I set out for a certain look and don’t get it, that sets up a problem for me to solve. Read more

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Lifelong learning

Black-Rust I-12When I took my first class in felt making I thought that was it. Now that I knew how to make felt; I knew felting. How wrong I was! Had I been listening closely to my instructor, I would have heard really heard and understood—when she said, “There are as many ways to make felt as there are felt makers.” The longer I felt, the more felt makers I meet, or come into contact with, the more I understand the truth of her statement.

I can’t remember my second felting class, but I certainly remember that first one—and the most recent classes I completed with Pat Spark in April. In our class discussions with Pat we learned much about the history of felting and about processes from around the world, then how to adapt them to our modern pieces. Pat reiterated the idea that to be a felter means you should know something about the history of the craft. This thought grounds me and I feel connected. Read more

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Shambolic Felt: Recycling, Improving, and Renewing

It’s not new, but that is the beauty of it. Shambolic, when you look up the meaning of the word, is chaotic, cluttered, messy, muddled, and untidy, but that is what I love about shambolic felt.

My first exposure to it was in a class taught by Marlene Greuter where we made a shambolic jacket. Our pre-workshop assignment was to put together a collection of articles of silk clothing from second hand shops. How fun was that—my kind of homework assignment!

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The colors I chose were in the teal and salmon families, augmented with cream, black, and a spritz of glitz. (See photo) I finished my jacket about mid-day on the last day of class and decided to make a matching scarf from my leftover pieces of silk. From that class forward I was infatuated with the technique. I have not made another jacket, but have felted, wristlets, capes, scarves and hats using that same shambolic technique. Read more

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Thinking like an engineer

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Felting is like engineering to me.

I was an English major, never an engineer and not once took a course even remotely related to engineering. So I really should say felting is like what I perceive engineering to be! It includes thinking inside out, upside down, and devising ways to join which part to what other part in order to make the final result match the imagined piece. Yep; that’s engineering. Read more