How do you paint with wool?

By Anna Walker
on October 30, 2019
1 comment
How do you paint with wool?

 

What you see in the picture above is the first felt ‘painting’ I created shortly after I discovered felting more than a decade ago. I had been looking for more and more ways to create felt and had come across a couple of felt artists online whose work I greatly admired: Jan Waller and Moy Mackay.


Jan’s work is fun and full of life-often featuring a figure at play or her daughter. I love her vibrant colors and the sense of whimsy evident in her work. I was delighted to meet Jan at a workshop in Wisconsin several years ago, and she is just as fun and whimsical as her work! You can see some of her work here:

Click here to view some of Jan's work

 

Moy is, for me, the goddess of felt painting. Her felt paintings of scenic Scotland where she lives and works are incredible for their detail, shading, and artistic interpretation. Moy’s work has helped to elevate felt to an art form because her approach to felting comes from her training as an artist. I am excited to have booked my tickets to Scotland in February 2020 to take a workshop with Moy in her home studio. Take a look at her work and see if you don’t agree:

Click here to view some of Moy's work

Painting with fiber is all about building up layers of fibers-they blend much like watercolors when you felt them together, either through wet felting (my preference) or needle felting. It is possible to create lovely felt paintings with either technique-you just have to play with the fibers until you discover your voice. Luckily, with a reference picture, and many colors of fiber, you can find yourself creating your first felt painting in a single class, like these students of mine have done:


  

 

The difference between Craft Felt & Wool Felt

By Anna Walker
on October 23, 2019
The difference between Craft Felt & Wool Felt

When I am asked if I use craft felt in any of my classes, I like to let my students know what the differences are between craft felt and wool felt. For starters, craft felt is created with manmade fibers, mostly plastic and synthetic fibers, which have been needled and/or heat processed to cause the fibers to adhere to one another. Wool felt is made primarily or entirely from natural animal fibers, mostly, sheep wool. 


Wool felt is more expensive than craft felt, and for good reason: animals require care and feeding in order to produce their wool over and over again throughout the life of the animal. Most wool producing animals (sheep, alpacas, llamas, etc.) are sheared once or twice a year, to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. Wool is a sustainable resource for this reason. 


When it comes to using a felted base for needle felting, I think that wool felt allows for the addition of fibers to be more cohesive, easier to adhere those additions without distortion, and gives a final feel to the project that feels more complete. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use craft felt as a base-it’s merely a preference of mine, your mileage may vary, as it were.


If you have a chance to play with both craft felt and wool felt for an experiment, I suggest you give it a try so that you can decide for yourself which you prefer. Wool felt can be purchased at a number of places, a couple of my favorites are these:


Weir Crafts

National Nonwoves (on amazon)


*Links in this post may contain affiliate links. I only share things I love with you, but I do receive a small commision if your purchase through my links!

WHAT IS FELTING?

By Anna Walker
on April 29, 2019
WHAT IS FELTING?

Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibers such as petroleum-based acrylic or acrylonitrile or wood pulp-based rayon.

(Source: Wikipedia)


Clear as mud, right?


Felting is a way to create things of beauty, both fabric and sculptural, through the use of a barbed needle (needle felting) or by changing the pH of the wool and using friction in a soap and water application (wet felting).

Here on Stab Things Into Existence, I’ll teach you how those processes work through photos of the processes, video tutorials, as well as introducing you to felt masters and authors who can help guide your journey into felting.


My own journey began with a 4 ounce hand dyed wool roving which I won in an online giveaway some 10 years ago:

(picture of the first ‘scarf’ I made from that roving)

The roving was beautiful, soft, and I loved petting it, but I knew I had no intention of wanting to learn how to spin yarn out of wool (no offense), and I wondered for a while what I would do with this fiber. That wondering was answered a couple of months after receiving the roving when I saw a $4 teach yourself how to needle felt kit at my local craft store.

For $4 how could I go wrong?

Two months later, every horizontal surface of my home was covered in felted wool and I was hooked! All because I took a chance to if felting was a good fit for me-and I hope that you will take that chance yourself with me here at Stab Things Into Existence!

YOU MIGHT BE A FELTER…

By Anna Walker
on March 25, 2019
YOU MIGHT BE A FELTER…
Not sure if you're a felter... You just might be if you do any of these things...

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Keeping It Real

By Anna Walker
on February 21, 2019
Keeping It Real
All of this is to tell you that you should just have fun-enjoy the exploration regardless of the outcome. Play. Discover. Create. That’s all. And that’s everything.

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I love stabbing things! No, really! Who could have seen how my life would be changed by winning an online giveaway of a hand painted wool roving ye...

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