We make a funny pair, Elis and I… we are so very different in everything we do, from the ways that we work, to the materials that we use. Working with her has freed me (or pushed me.. I am still not sure) to work outside of my comfort zone and to try things that I would never have considered before. I have always worked with fine fibres (merino, alpaca, cashmere etc… using norwegian C1 for sturdier pieces) while Elis prefers to use courser fibres, often in the grease.
We have done our fair share of “sheep talk” of late, and the wheels are spinning in my head once again.
While I was in Holland with Elis, who is a lover of Texel wool, I tried my hand at felting with it. She LOVES to use it ‘in the grease’ – in other words straight off the sheep, full of vegetable matter (and more) and smelling like a barn! haha.. Not really my style, but I am game for anything. So in our typical ways, we went to work and laughed the entire time at how we work in completely different ways. From the manner in which we lay out our fibre, to the way we wet them, to the way we roll. Polar opposites – it is refreshing to work with someone who can show you new ways of thinking and expand your horizons.
Since that trip, I have been obsessed with trying to new wools. Specifically Norwegian heritage sheep, but also other breeds to get a better understanding of wool and how it felts.
Christine White author of Uniquely Felt offers a “Felting Lab” which would be a dream to take. It is an intensive study for Feltmakers designed to give a thorough understanding of the feltmaking medium.
Andrea Graham a very talented artist from Canada is currently in the ‘Lab’, and discussions have arisen about felting with Texel, hence the inspiration for this post.
Here are a few photos of my first time with Texel. My goal was to create as thin and even of a felt as I could using this fleece with a raised square in the middle. Elis laughs at how I work … going wild is going to take me some time – hehe. We rolled for what felt like eons before it started to felt, using boiling hot water. The smell, well…. what can I say? You do not felt with this and then go out to a restaurant for dinner without taking a good long shower first!
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Texel, should contact Elis, she is an expert in using it!