Thursday, May 6, 2010
From My Fiber Garden
I have spent the last few weeks more playing in my fiber garden, exploring the world of needle felting, or "dry felting". This is a felting technique where the wool roving is poked with a barbed needle, which tangles and matts the fibers into a solid form. Its a fascinating process to work with. It starts with drawing out the wool roving into thin layers, then blending colors together to gain the color effect that you the fiber artist want...then start maddly poking with a fine sharp pointy needle to shape the fibers into a recognizable form! Well, not quite that simple, but that is the process in a few words! Next I will try "Wet felting" which is making traditional true felt. This is the process of laying out the fiber in thin sheets, applying pressure, water and soap, which in the end will turn the sodden mass into cloth. From there, the cloth can be molded into many forms.
What I find perhaps the most wonderful about the needle felting process is the ability to paint with wool. After the basic forms of my flower petals have been made from several shades of layered wool roving, I then add the top colors, or highlight colors seen at the throat or tips of the flower petals. Its a wonderful and fascinating process. For my first examples, I used pictures of Asian Lilies that took in July 2007 at Campbell Pottery, Cambridge Springs,PA. Bill Campbell raises acres of lilies every summer for the enjoyment of his customers. The lilies have beautiful, simple shapes, with lovely layers of colors to enjoy!