Felting has been around for centuries, even millennia. As legend tells us, there was once a shepherd with hurting feet who had just sheared a sheep. When looking at the wool, he thought “Why don’t I put some of this lovely wool in my sandals-couldn’t hurt?” And, after wearing the fleece lined sandals for a few hours, he discovered that not only did his feet feel better, but that the wool had compacted and formed perfectly to his foot. VOILA’! Felting was discovered!
Fast forward a few thousand years, and now felting is seeing a resurgence in creative circles. From sculpting figures and organic shapes to encouraging the laminating of wool fibers with a base fabric (nuno felting), to wearables and accessories of almost anything you can imagine, felting is everywhere.
So, back to the question: is there anything new about felting?
My personal response is ABSOLUTELY. And here’s my reasoning: every time you pick up a felting needle, or gather your soap, water and bubble wrap to start a project, you are bringing your NEW interpretation to felting. We all have a perspective that no one else has, and when we begin to create a vision from our imagination, we bring something new to felting.
For myself, I will begin to bring the new techniques I learned in the Moy Mackay workshop last month to my inspiration photos of the flint hills and the tallgrass prairie. I’ll also be working up a different way to create wet felted flowers based on an idea I had before going to sleep the other night.
You will do the same as you begin to explore your creativity through wool and felt. I encourage you to try out your idea-that’s how I found my love of using cheesecloth and cotton gauze instead of silk and chiffon for my nuno felted scarves. And while sometimes your exploration doesn’t prove to be ‘successful’, you’ve still stretched your creativity and discovered something.
I'd love to hear how you experiment in the comments below!