Friday, August 24, 2012

Felting? Clueless and loving it!

I put the following on my Artsy Journeys blog and copied it here. Enjoy!


Fiber art, felting and a drive way into the country!

So off I go to a Felting workshop with that most wonderful of feelings-clueless.
Yes, clueless. Meaning that I do not have a clue as to what to expect, what to do, how to do it or any preconceived idea of what is involved. I wasn't even sure what "felt" was. :-)

A collage of 7 or the 8 completed in the 6-8:30 class
A friend and I carpooled and it was probably a good thing. I am far from map illiterate-rarely use a GPS (ha ha-I am the type to first look at a map and then see if the GPS is right) so I drove in my little Honda Fit which lovingly gets close to 35 mpg (40 downhill with a back wind) and of course mapquest nor the instructor knew to tell us about the bridge out/detour. No big deal-lovely afternoon, nice drive and eventually we do reach our destination-a "Retreat" deep down  a half mile gravel driveway (this was not much more than a track) through beautiful woodlands and lo and behold, come to a charming house and cute art studio smack in the middle of Franklin Co, NC...and in essence (this is not a joke) in the middle of nowhere. One of those lovely wooded properties bought back when an access road was  the only way to buy ancient, overgrown farmland, replete with the remains of old homesteads. No fields-just lovely forest and, yes, that retreat feeling of crickets and tree frogs ...very loud tree frogs as evening approached :-).

What a cute concept by Debbie!

A lovely example by Sharon!
Anyway, we WERE in for a treat as 8 of us gathered together and our instructor (And Retreat owner), Margaret Hilpert of Cedar Cross Retreat led us through the steps. Now I had seen something on Facebook about felting a scarf and was totally baffled (and lost)  by the rolling, slapping, pounding, soaking of the wool (which is what felt is I discovered) but when actually DOING it, the procedures begin to make sense. 

I was not joking when I said rolling, pounding, kneading and eventually wadding up our creations and throwing them onto a towel on the floor. The word, "workout" comes to mind.
My efforts resulted in this tree :-)
In the photos you can see some of the results and they were lovely. Felting is an ancient art and everyone from the Mongolians to the Europeans understood the insulation qualities of felt...from yurts to felt boots, hats, wall hangings, etc. Personally, after making my small example, I would NEVER put it on the floor. LOL, in our art business no one wants to step on floor mats either (after being made and handpainted) so wiping one's feet on a work of art just isn't in my DNA.

Margaret had some beautiful examples of her work that she had later, upon finishing the felting, had embellished with additional needlework, "needling" (a cool punching in of loose fabric) yarn, glittery stuff and all manners of creativity.

Felting is considered "fiber art".  No longer a survival necessity, but a beautiful art piece for one's enjoyment. The creations seen on the Internet that artists are making are just amazing.  Supplies (just google it) for feltmaking are everywhere. In essence, it is a whole other art industry akin to jewelry making, pottery painting...Frankly I was happy to come away from the experience knowing a new, yet ancient technique for creating yet another form of beautiful art. Everyone dabbles in their chosen art field at different levels and I look forward to "playing around" with my piece when I figure out what to embellish it with...already I can envision using this new art in art journaling, perhaps in some many options!

To learn more about where we were and who we enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, art and beautiful woodsy solitude, visit

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