Felting fascinates me. What a great medium! There are lots of different techniques but basically it boils down to dry or wet. Here are just a few….
Basically, it is the art of wet felting fiber through a piece of open weave fabric such as gauze or chiffon. The fiber is placed on both sides of the fabric, then using hot, soapy water and lots of elbow grease, it will felt, sandwiching the fabric in between.
Not one of my favorites, I admit. This is a dry felting technique using wicked sharp, specialized felting needles to “fuse” layers of fiber together by repeatedly stabbing it. It’s very versatile… you can embellish fabric/clothing, make ornaments or even very detailed 3 dimensional objects, such as hats, dolls… the list is endless! (The last time I needle felted, I put a needle through (yes, all the way through) my finger.
Perfect for 3 dimensional objects such as bowls or slippers. The purpose of the resist is to keep the fibers from felting in certain areas. For example, with slippers, you don’t want the sides to felt together or you can’t put your foot in! You can use anything from bubble wrap to rubber matting for the resist. When I make slippers, I use heavy construction type plastic sheeting.
For a simple bowl, cut your resist in a circle. Lay fiber on top and felt for a few minutes. Flip the whole shebang over, tuck in the sides and repeat. Each layer of fiber should be laid out in the opposite direction of the previous layer. Keep doing this until your bowl is the desired thickness. Once the fiber is fairly well felted, cut a hole on one side to make the opening of the bowl. Remove the resist and felt the inside and begin to shape your bowl.
I’ll go into more detail about the different techniques in future articles. Let me know if you have any questions!