I shared a week or so ago about my introduction to feltmaking and how my desire to make felt for my own explorations ultimately led to my quitting the pincushion business.
In the meantime, though, as I explored tools and techniques, and looked to skilled practitioners, I encountered Roderick Welch, and through discussions on a felter’s forum came to understand my own processes better.
I dreamed of taking a class from him and his partner Karoliina Arvilommi to learn the techniques of carpet making she practiced, but knew that the chances were slim.
Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.
Earlier this month, my stars aligned and I headed to the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island for Karoliina and Rod’s class. My photos with captions finish off the post.
Taking some time to be with my design idea before the class really paid off in the resulting finished work.
On the ferry! Ready for this adventure more than a decade coming.
Luscious, luscious colors!
This fleece is Finnish Landrace (I hope I took proper notes, and got that right!). I was so taken by Rod’s description of how their business, cleaning, carding and dyeing this amazing fleece, is instrumental in revitalizing this breed of sheep, bringing it back from near extinction.
Getting ready to make a sample – taking color, motif and size all into consideration.
That is some thick batt of fiber!! This deep grey is my favorite of the natural colors.
Building sample piece part 1.
Ready for color.
Colors – all of these ar in my finished pieces.
Building sample piece part 2.
Controlling the edges of each segment of each motif, accomplshed by dry felting with the fingers .
Finished sample. I cried my way through this day. Almost 2 years away from the felting table, remember. This is hard work, and I wasn’t sure I’d make it all the way through to finish a larger piece. Rod and Karoliina both encouraged so much, and helped me to find ways of working that made it possible.
Building the batt for the final piece.
Cartoon with design elements laid on. Each ‘fluff’ is where a corner must be turned and controlled as a sharp point once it’s laid on the piece.
The color blend of the background.
Laying on the design. Interweaving the motifs=challenging.
Design is all on! Over a dozen corners had to be turned and made sharp here, and everything kept in a preciase location for the design to work.
Tilting the table to drain off cold water from the day before for a fresh start in the morning. Gravity is a friend.
For scale (and because I can’t stop touching it). This technique yields a smooth, firm surface on a stiff felt. So used to “pebbling” on my finished felts. This is a new set of techniques and approaches for my feltmaking. Wonderful.
Rod and Karoliina indulge me with a picture of us together. They are both so kind, skilled and helpful. Glad I finally got to take a class from them, after all these years.