I started making felt (a non-woven fabric made with un-spun sheep’s wool) in 1997. I was at Arrowmont in a metals class when I injured my wrist and was unable to continue. I was staying in the class to observe, when a fellow student opined that I was moping around and should um, get out.
The teacher offered no contradictory advice. I decided to go somewhere else. I read a lot of books in the library, pondered my injury, and came within 20 feet of a bear. Really, a bear. Right there on campus. He stared at me. I backed away slowly.
Luckily, Arrowmont has a wonderful open studio policy, you can wander around anywhere, the studios are open til midnight. Each teacher does a slide lecture and a demo, so you’re exposed to all kinds of art and media, not just your own.
It turns out fiber people are terrifically friendly. I hung out with the felters. One of them told me about the Michigan Fiber Festival. I attended that year and took some classes. For the most part, I limit myself to metalsmithing and Precious Metal Clay. Metals have a long learning curve and I don’t want to be distracted.
Felting is one of my only ventures into another medium. Since I found felting in ’97, I continued to take workshops, learn on my own and make hats, scarves, Christmas stockings and yardage. I read a lot and joined the North American Feltmakers Alliance.
I learned from different teachers and found my own favorite methods.
Over that last 11 years, there has been an explosion in felt making techniques — all kinds of innovative, new and exciting methods have been developed, or at least the word got out about them.
Needle felting and various methods for making very thin felt, for example.
There were some small, self-published books on these subjects, but mostly, you had to attend the fiber festivals and take workshops to learn these techniques.
This book, Uniquely Felt, is amazing, because it brings together, in one place, all the innovations of the last 11 years. It’s gorgeous, complete and a terrific resource. Tips previously only seen in online forums, are here, in full color.
The Featured Artist pages introduce you to a number of the big names in felting.
If you’ve never made felt before, you can read this book and confidently make felt, and make these projects.
Some “old school” felting methods (read: ’70s) are incredibly un-fun and tiresome — I took a workshop once with a teacher who actually had me sew muslin to my hat. Sew it!
It’s fabulous to see a book that explains all the new school methods and materials.
I love this book.
So whether you want to make hats, a bath mat, clothes, or smaller jewelry related projects — this complete book by Christine White is an education, beautifully illustrated with color pictures — will help you make what you want to make. It’s the most complete, up to date book out on felt making.