In the Spring of 2012 I took a felting class. At the time I was working for RISD so I was able to sign up for RISD Continuing Education courses for free. Taking into consideration my schedule, the commute, and my interest in the fiber arts, felting made the most sense.
Felting is the process of creating felt, which is the attachment and intertwining of wool fibers with water and agitation (wet felting) or with a needle (dry felting or needle felting). The process for wet felting is basically as follows:
- Lay down the pieces of felt in a “cross-hatching” layout
- Wet with cold water and soap
- Press down
- Wet down with hot water and soap
- Agitate to desired consistency, shape, size, etc.
The most difficult part for me was the agitation. Imagine washing clothes on an old-fashioned washboard. For someone like me who perspires profusely at the slightest hint of manual labor, it is my least favorite part of the process.
My favorite thing to make was a felt clutch. I still want to perfect my technique of felting marbles into the felt so that they are stationery and don’t break through the felt and fall out. Another favorite thing was the unintentional Barbie dress I made (it was suppose to be a vase but ended up with a hole at the bottom). Felt vase with hole in the bottom = shift-style Barbie dress. The instructor loved the idea so much she took a picture to include it as part of her education portfolio.
At the end of the course I was able to take a bunch of felt home. Now I have to buy a washboard type device, some oil soap, and figure out what I want to make as future Christmas and birthday gifts. Everyone will get felt by me!!
Felt scarf with gauze netting (in process)
Felt “sampler” to practice technique, turned into clutch at the end of the course
Felt two-tone clutch and cloche hat
Felt pocket/container with shells, felt cuff bracelets with marbles
Felt Barbie dress