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Learning curves – Part 1

Learning curves – Part 1

In the last few months I’ve attended two felting workshops tutored by happy feltmakers who have been very generous with sharing their experiences and knowledge. The first by Jenny Pepper was titled Decorative felt Surfaces (I had no idea what this was to be), whilst the second by Clare Bullock was making nuno Travel Cloth at a workshop for our local textile group.

I have certainly experimented, I’ve gone out of my comfort zone totally but learnt a lot (and as you will read – continue to learn!).

Jenny demonstrated the laying of the felt to all giving the instruction to ‘lay the shingles thinly’ (important note to self), before she then added her decorations choosing from her vast collection of silk waste, silk fibres, silk gauze, silk carrier rods, wool locks, pieces of cut-off felt etc to name but a few.

I commenced my piece working to the maximum size possible on our tables by laying out my 3 layers. Ha…thinly has different thicknesses (note – next time I must check)! I draft very thinly compared with others, so on inspection Jenny suggested I add another two layers. Fine – five layers total not a problem….but I had forgotten the colour placing by this time!

Encouraged to try as many different decorative elements as possible – I went for it….although totally out of my comfort zone!

I came home and showed my endeavours to EPH (ever patient husband) who was quite silent. When I said I thought it was too busy (my five layers of colours didn’t help) his comment was ‘Mmmm it’s certainly not your usual style!’ Following several days of pondering I decided to mute the cracked area by picking up the colour of the silk carrier rods. To do this I blended suitable colours from my wool collection (BFL, merino & Nepalese). Using this I then needle felted it in.


Trying to make it secure I decided to brush the reverse side, raising the fibres, then further wet felt that area. Definitely a learning experience!

The surface pilled very badly so once dry I attacked it with a rasor and de-bobbler!

Three months later, the work measuring 380 x 420cm (15 x 16.5 ins), remains a PINOS (project in need of something), and currently hangs where I can see it every evening to ponder what I can add/do to make it acceptable in my eyes and to decide on its direction – I definitely know which two it is not! Although?

The two to the left I feel are a ‘No’. What do you think? Then come further questions – should I cut it square, or into strips? What can I do to it – apart from a very obvious one of ‘bin filing’?

My next post will be about the second class that I took, Clare Bullock was making nuno Travel Cloth at a workshop for our local textile group. Stay tuned!

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