TOUGH DECISION

By Anna Walker
on January 22, 2020
TOUGH DECISION

I’ve made a tough decision, one which impacts me in all the feels, but one which I’ve made for the right reasons. 


I will not be attending or teaching at GenCon in Indianapolis this year.


GenCon holds a special place in my business: I truly began my teaching at GenCon many years ago when I first discovered felting. My husband, Randy, who had a rather significant following on Twitter (his favorite form of social media), began talking with his twitterverse about what I had taught myself to do, how he loved my felt paintings, etc., and it attracted the notice of Marian, the organizer of the SPA (spousal) events at GenCon. Marian asked if I would be interested in teaching some needle felting classes since I was coming with Randy (Geek adjacent, I guess), and I jumped in. Those classes, and the ones in following years, helped my hone my skills as a felting facilitator, and are a huge reason that I’ve created this website, www.stabthingsintoexistence.com, and The FELTit Experience. I am forever grateful for the opportunity that GenCon and Marian provided me.


GenCon also holds a very special place in my heart and memories: Randy and I traveled to Indy each year for several years, and would have traveled there in 2016, but we chose to buy a house instead of spending the funds for GenCon. And two months later he died. I traveled to GenCon in 2017 as a pilgrimage, really, to go for him, leaving a little of him behind in Indy, and seeing if I really belonged there without Randy by my side. After all, my geek was no longer with me. I told the story of Randy at each class I led that year, how he had introduced me to this wonderful community of geeky nerds who liked to stab things into existence (the slogan was most definitely born at GenCon), and visited with friends we made during our annual trips. I was assured by the SPA coordinators, and by friends, that I most surely belonged there, if I wanted to continue my annual trek. 


The following year, GenCon was not possible as I had moved across the country, and then my father began declining and I found myself helping my mom for the final month of his life. Daddy’s funeral was on opening day of GenCon 2018.


Then last year, I had scheduled classes, arranged for my oldest son and his family to join me for the travel to GenCon, and ended up recovering from back surgery instead. So I had to cancel classes late in the game, and was watching GenCon from afar.


So, as I have scheduled two big trips for this year (Scotland in less than a month and a Caribbean cruise in June), and am planning four launches for The FELTit Experience, I am going to wish those of you who attend GenCon this year a wonderful con, full of amazing games and classes and workshops, and will keep in touch here, on FB and IG.


As Randy would say, init or what?

Where I began

By Anna Walker
on November 27, 2019
Where I began

Some of you have known me from early on in my felting journey, and you have seen my work transform and evolve slowly over the past ten+ years. Some of you only know me from what I’ve been teaching and doing these past several years, as I’ve honed my teaching skills in local workshops, convention classes, and guild events and meetings. 


But I dare say that very few, if any of you, recall my early work, for which I was, at the time, as a self taught felter, very proud. Now some of these make me cringe:



I show you these pictures to encourage you-we all start somewhere. Some of us hit it out of the park straight away, others of us gather all the information and tools we can to learn in our own personal way, etc. And, while much of my early work I wouldn’t pass my test for displaying these days, at the time, I was thrilled to show this ‘new’ art every chance I could.


More than anything else, though, looking back over my early work allows me to see that I WAS PLAYING with the fibers, LEARNING what they would and wouldn’t do for me, DISCOVERING how I could best use particular fibers for a particular use. ALL of these are vital to exploring a new path, and I wouldn’t change a thing about how I learned to felt. 


My hope is that I can help YOU to PLAY, LEARN & DISCOVER what felting can mean to YOUR creative process. What are you hoping for?

What you don't know...

By Anna Walker
on November 13, 2019
What you don't know...
Of course there are rules, as there are for any art-don’t use any fibers that have been superwash treated to wet felt is a big one! But I hope that you will give yourself permission to say “what if” and then discover for yourself what the end result will be. And, if you feel you need permission from someone other than yourself, then PERMISSION GRANTED!

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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!

Spine Surgery knocked GenCon OUT!

By Anna Walker
on July 10, 2019
1 comment
Spine Surgery knocked GenCon OUT!

I’ll be launching something cool this fall, and if you want to have access to me for felting classes, tips and tricks, special events, etc., then head over to www.stabthingsintoexistence.com and leave your email address. My friends who give me their emails will be the FIRST in line for this new project, The FELTit Experience. 

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Felted Rope Lariat Class TOMORROW!!

By Anna Walker
on January 27, 2012
Just a peek at what we will be working on during class tomorrow morning:  

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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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