Hand-felting? What’s that?
When I first heard the term 'hand-felting', I had no idea what it meant. To me, felt was the stiff squares of acrylic fabric available at craft shops, in many colours.
All that changed one day as I watched a lady demonstrate the art of felting. I was fascinated as she transformed wool fibres into pretty little felt flowers. No machines, no sewing, just using her hands. I had never seen anything quite like it… and I was hooked!
Not long after I had bought some fresh fish, which came bundled in a sheet of newspaper. As I unwrapped the package, I noticed an article on that oily sheet of newsprint, about a community group that was running workshops on felting. I couldn’t believe it! Quickly re-wrapping the fish (to be dealt with later!), I contacted them quick-smart. And the rest is history!
It wasn’t long before I found myself learning how to hand-felt from a wonderfully enthusiastic instructor. I soaked up every bit of information and hung on every word and tip.
And then I practiced for hours. I tried new techniques and experimented with the torrent of ideas rushing through my mind. And I loved every second of it.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland, having just fallen down the rabbit hole. An incredible world of creating imaginative, totally unique pieces of soft, beautiful and functional felt, was unfurling before me. I was meeting like-minded and talented people. There was a wonderful sharing of ideas and heaps of opportunities to hone my felting skills. It truly felt like I had found my ‘thing’.
The appreciation and positive feedback from friends and colleagues only served to fuel my passion. They encouraged me to turn this passion into a small business. When I did eventually take that step, the response was very affirming.
But making my work available for sale has always gone hand in hand with a desire to further my felting skills and to push my boundaries. Over the years, I’ve continued my learning journey by attending workshops and meeting other artists whose work I admire.
Later, I began experimenting with creating large works of felted art. Thematic and textural pieces that have been very satisfying… even meditative to work on.
I completed the circle a few years ago when I started teaching the art of felting to others.
I never tire of seeing the delight on their faces when they realise they’ve actually just created a little magic by turning those individual fibres into a unique piece of felt. And for me, it is indeed very satisfying to be responsible, in some small way, in spreading the love for this time-honoured art form that is as beautiful as it is functional.
I will continue to share my original designs of individually hand-crafted felted accessories. And I hope my pieces bring as much joy to those to wear them as I felt while creating them.