'Queen of Hearts' ~ wet felted
I'm not sure why I hadn't discovered the textile art of wet felting until very recently because it has certainly existed for thousands of years. Felt was probably discovered by an ancient nomadic sheep herder suffering from frost bitten toes. Stuffing sheared fleece into leather foot coverings for warmth and then chasing sheep for a day or two would be enough to make it all happen.
Moisture and heat combined with pressure and agitation causes the scaly fibres of wool to lock together and creates a very strong and incredibly warm fabric. The only thing missing way back then, besides clean feet, would have been the lovely, pure olive oil soap combined with warm water which modern felters use to help wool fibres open up like the scales on a pine cone and then smoothly connect to each other, forever.
|'Pretty Pixie' ~ wet felted|
(Design inspired by Maureen Harding,
Dreamspin Fibres, Campbellford)
Using this wet felting technique to create a hat has been a remarkable and wonderful experience for me. Hat felting has a sharp learning curve and I can see that it will take a lot of practice through experimentation to get where I want to go with it. Beside the fact that my first few attempts consisted of a lot of trial and error, which required creative patience (not my area of expertise!)... I was hooked. Wet felting is magic!
After beginning on my own using information from books, and gaining inspiration from Marjolein Dalinga (Bloomfelt, Montreal) who did a workshop at Rose Haven Farm Store last summer (where I now work part time)... I met Maureen Harding (Dreamspin Fibres, Campbellford), a lovely and talented teacher not far from where I live. Taking a felting course last fall with Maureen was a revelation. It seems that felting not only connects fibres, it also connects people and she has kindly inspired me with sage advice through email conversations filled with ideas and encouragement for which I am grateful.
|'Leonardo' ~ wet felted|
|'Leonardo' ~ top|
Although I have an arts background and studied at the Ontario College of Art (OCA back then....no D for Design until much later!)....textiles and fibre art were never on my radar. Later at York University, I was motivated to experiment with different mediums by Peter Kolisnyk, a wonderful art teacher and gifted artist...but I still hadn't discovered wool fibre. Through felting I have begun to push myself creatively in different directions which has made me more comfortable with experimentation. I love working in 3D! Felt, so warm and soft to the touch, is filled with endless possibilities and everyone needs a lovely warm hat.
|'Renaissance' ~ wet felted|
|'Renaissance' ~ top|
|'Shakespeare' ~ wet felted|
|'Shakespeare' ~ top|
|'Airie Fairie' ~ wet feltd|
(Design inspired by Maureen Harding)
|'Airie Fairie' ~ top|
|'Virginia Woolf'' ~ wet felted|
(Hat design inspired by Jannio - France)