I had the pleasure of teaching some talented artists this week at the Studio. Like most of the workshops I host there is a specific skill identified .Medieval styled wraps were the chosen aspect of felted fleeces . Using beautiful Shetland wool fleeces and a backing selection of native wools ( Shetland and blue faced Leicester) we set to work outdoors on the railway platform , covered from the elements by the Victorian glass canopy .
Mark who has a handmade jewellery business Design of the times (https://www.facebook.com/designsofthetimeshandmadejewellery/) and his lovely wife who creates with fibre had bought several felted fleeces for their displays and saw the link between both as a business potential . A marriage made in heaven and a wonderful combination.
Sandra has many textile skills from spinning and weaving and the creation of stunning knitwear to mindfulness teaching ( great combination …mindful textile creations ) felt making is new to Sandra as it was to Mark.
An initial discussion of why and how fleeces felt and a hands on to our native fleeces felted , what is most suitable and what might be a challenge – we went onto choosing our raw fleeces . Plenty of space is needed and lots of hot water.
The suitable part of the fleece was shaped to work with the body contours and any gaps or felted edges were eased out or gathered together.
Once the backing layer ( false skin ) was added ,tussah silk was placed where the wrap would make contact with the skin to make for a more comfortable garment.
Covered with net and wetted down until flat with lots of hot soapy water, the whole piece was rolled up . We used the felting machine but of course it can be hand rolled or rubbed for a longer period of time .
Rolled twice in different directions and placed in our large washing machine . It goes through its first rinse . The wool is then teased out lock by lock and shaped to contour the body better.
The modelling was fun and the closures Marks makes just stunning on the fleeces.
A hard days work but lots of laughter and a new skill learned , a very successful day .
Thanks to all three of you and of course the beautiful dogs who were so patient