What Is Felting
Felting is an ancient technique that has become extremely popular in the last several years. The internet has contributed to the exponential growth through videos, online classes, forums etc.
The art of felting uses wool fibres which varies based on the breed of sheep. Felters have an understanding of what breed of sheep produce the wool required for their uses. Merino wool is widely available, and is better suited for certain projects. There are plenty of resources available to understand which wool can be used for your project.
I use wool which has been prepared and processed from raw fleece. It is already washed, carded and made into a batt or into a roving. A roving is a ropelike piece of fibre. A batt is a flat sheet of fibres.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to felt. I prefer the wet felting technique. Wet felting allows me to make anything as easy as a square or as complex as a seamless felt garment.
There are many resources available to learn about the various techniques of felt. Experience is key to a successful project. Have fun!
Sharon's Experience With Felting
Sharon has explored and attended workshops in: wet felting, nuno felting, organic and botanical imprinting, shibori stitching using wool, yarn, various fibres and needle felting. Sharon has travelled around North America to learn from local felt makers and eco-dyers. Twice a year Sharon hosts international felt makers and eco-dyers to come and teach their techniques. Sharon is ecstatic to be in her studio blending her passion for the textile arts with the art of eco-dying or also known as botanical imprinting. Sharon teaches in her studio the art of felting and botanical imprinting.
Sharon uses a wet felting technique that mattes or compresses wool fibres into a fabric. I mostly sandwich silk between wool and other fibres such as wool/ angora yarn, sari silk, bamboo, or I use wool alone. I mix a soapy solution which is added to compress the wool, once compressed the wool is agitated to help the fibres migrate into the silk. There is a fulling process that is quite physical to roosh the fibers. The rooshing occurs when the wool fibres have worked their way through the woven fabric and have grabbed each other on the other side. As the felting progresses, the fibres twist and curl more and more tightly around each other, gathering and bunching the fabric.
I love the challenge felt making offers. There is so much to learn about felting including the carding, dying, 3D images that can be so tactile and visually appealing. I love to learn more surface design techniques and the ultimate goal is to learn how to make women's garments. My brand new studio is now completed. I plan to host international artists to teach their techniques and to teach my own classes in the future.