Elis Vermeulen of Holland is my partner in Felt United.
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!
ow you make me laugh!!
I also wonder sometimes, we are soo different, is that why we work together so well? you too push me out of my comfort zone. scary business sometimes. 🙂
I am really happy you are out there. Glad you are my friend.
For the first few years of felting, I only used finer fiber (merino, etc.)with the occasional foray into wenslydale for scarves. Started making rugs and I’m totally fascinated with working with harsher fiber and creating a very hard, smooth rug. Love it!C-1 and pellsul (sp?)are two of my favorites. Just received some of Ron’s finn wool from Maureen in Canada. Very greasy and smells to high heaven .. love it! My sample piece from it is the bomb!
Every year I go to Maryland Sheep and Wool with purchasing goals. This year I want to purchase a fleece (or two) and bring it home and shape it up somewhat (pluck some of the weeds and dung out of it) and make a big, rather organic looking rug.
Fun stuff! I’ll have to put Texel on my dance card.
ahhh..Rod’s finnwool, I have heard nothing but good things about it… it is on my list. I have yet to put my hands on some. hmmm… note to self: contact Rod.
I think most of us start with merino.. it is so widely available. I feel like I am on the brink of a great adventure right now.
and as for the Maryland Sheep and Wool show.. I envy your being able to attend!
What a wonderful post. Incorporates all the best in life: friendships, differences, laughter (love your comment about not having dinner without showering first…That would be me!), and of course, wool. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same? I’m always happy when upon first hearing, trying, tasting something, I think to myself, “I don’t know about this!”, only to try whatever it is, to find that, “Hey, I actually like this!” or “Wow, I never would have thought of that…You’re right.” My husband and I are so different in our way of thinking, but I’m usually 🙂 glad that to have his take on things.
I love felt-making (not nearly as experienced as you), but even more, I love the connections and friendships I’ve made through this wonderful medium. It inspires me.
Thank you for sharing your talents (love the picture of you in your studio, too).
thanks for your very sweet response Dawn! About trying new things… just ask my husband how far I have come since we met!! Whether it is regarding food, physical activities, new concepts or just being willing to do something regardless of any preconceived notions – I am a different person than I was a decade ago when we met. It really is the only way to grow as an individual.
Funny.. you mention experience. I still consider myself a beginner in almost everything I do, including felting. I still learn every day and admire those who have dedicated themselves to the ‘Craft of Felting’ and plowed a path that makes it all that much easier for us to follow.
Interesting and gorgeous work!
thanks for passing by!
I was on your blog earlier today and saw your printing on felt. Very nice! What fun to experiment like that. I think trying new things is some of the most fun one can have as an artist. I subscribe to the RSS feed, looking forward to seeing more. Keep in touch.
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