Thursday, 3 March 2016

Hands At Play

More fun at our 'Felt' workshops, or more like messy play for Grown-ups.  Some educational psychologist once said that we learn most, whether adult or child, when we are playing... our brains are relaxed, and using our hands the 'what if' questions of experimentation and creativity start to flow.

We are wrapping stones and bars of soap with wool, and then felting the wool to the shape.  Felting around a bar of soap, is very bubbly...

Felting around a rock to make a paper weight.

 Using Gotland fleece with a few colours makes the warm colours leap out, here a big stone is being felted to make a door-stop.  An integral handel has been added, which only just shows in this picture.

Felt beads, each hand-rolled, arranged look like the planets.

A treasured bead, a work in progress.

This pebble became a felt wrapped 'rock pet'.

Next week we will start to design bags to be made of felt.  So we will be looking at shrinkage, template resist design, and laying out on a larger scale.  So far most of our felt pieces have been quite small.  We will need to work over a couple of weeks as we only have the morning to work in.  Some pieces will have to be transported soggy.  More messy play.

Each week we learn something different.  As a facilitator I learn that being playfull is the easiest way to learn, but also that everyone's creativity is completely unique.  All have access to the same wool, the same water, but the hands are different, the 'what-if' questions are different.

I heard a story about Einstein.  He was asked how come he was so clever.  He answered that he kep asking questions.  Thought provoking.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Collage works in progress

On Tuesday mornings in South Brent you can find an enthusiastic group of fibre fanciers creating amazing pictures from sheep's wool.  Here are some of the 'works in progress'.

We started by making silk paper, then different coloured pre-felts, as well as choosing yarns and fibres to include for texture.  The tricky bit is choosing a design - some chose pictorial while others opted for pattern.

We used the wet-felting technique to 'glue' the collage pictures together. Water plus soap plus the magic ingredient 'elbow grease' to create friction, et voila! the wool turns into felt.

One student chose to use the needle-felting technique to make her collage which involved stabbing the wool into a pre-felt background with a very sharp harpoon style needle.  

Looking forward to seeing the finished results next week!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Eggs of wool

A basket of eggs - handspun balls of wool, created from special wool.  A new passion, to spin is strangely restful, once distressed to some degree.  Guaranteed to make you swear when the thread breaks and disappears.  But once mistressed, it feels so good, the new yarn zipping from your fingers as the fibres snap into yarn.  

basket of eggs

Spinning has kept me sane over the last months.  At odd moments to distract my mind I've sat down at the spinning wheel to calmly make yarn.  And bingo my mind is calmed.  The oddest thing but it works, and then also spinning becomes addictive, and the 'what if' question arises, then the I wonder if I can... Very satisfying

homespun wool

This lustrous yarn was created from a special wool, from Lunesdale in Lancashire.  The sheep are mules bred from Swaledales and Blue Face Leicesters.  This particular sheep lives at Tunstall in the Lunesdale valley - a special place where my family live.

Swaledale Sheep at the Lunesdale Show