A stop in Aix-en-Provence a few years ago took us to a wonderful felting studio in the heart of the old town. Sharon loved being invited into the back of the little shop to see where the fibre artist was creating her felted scarves, shawls and jackets. This inspirational moment laid the seeds for an ever-growing fascination with our ancient connections to felting fibres and the incredible versatility fibre offer.
The talents of felt artists like Fiona Duthie and Laurie Steffler, both from nearby Salt Spring Island, have created a surge in interest in felting locally. Sharon has taken both workshops and online courses from Fiona and recommends them highly for anyone seeking ways to expand their knowledge of materials and techniques. Fiona is also deeply involved in felt::feutre canada and the week long symposium of Canadian felting in September 2016 in Pentiction.
Amazing work in felt is easy to find and it’s so inspiring to browse. Ariane Mariane is a French textile artist whose extraordinary creations were showcased at Berlin’s 2015 Felt Fashion Show during the German Felt Festival. Locally, the talents of ftextile artists like Fiona Duthie and Laurie Steffler, both from nearby Salt Spring Island, have created a surge in interest locally and beyond for felting.
One of Sharon’s first, playful projects with felting was with 100% wool felted balls, great as toys for kids and cats and, reportedly, a good static reducer for dryers. Needle felted pieces shown locally, like this wonderful bird created by Heather Thurston and the aquarium by Patty Wilson, show the amazing versatility of felting. Wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting: all are facing a resurgence.
Needle felting as an art form took flight in the 1980’s when US fibre artist Eleanor Stanwood and her husband, David, began sculpting with a single needle from industrial machinery used to make larger felt batts. With David’s playful creation of multi-coloured jewellery, word soon spread of the unusual application of felting design with individual needles. Other fibre artists soon adopted this method in their work.
Sculptural needle felting is still growing in popularity and the fibres and tools are becoming much easier to find. Kids love it too! Have a look at our felting kits and other felting supplies on our online store and take a course or check online for easy to follow instructions.
Taking it a step further, Thermoformable Felt is useful for felters who want a stable base for durable, three dimensional objects that can be embellished for a highly decorative finish. Our Thermoformable Felt is 90% wool and 10% polyester in a 2mm thick sheet.
The following information comes from online research rather than being based on our experience with Thermoformable Felt.
To create shapes, it can be “cooked” in an oven, toaster oven or microwave at between 265F – 300F for about 10-20 minutes. Slightly wetting the felt before shaping and heating may help you achieve your desired effect. You can also help to shape it dry using pins before it’s baked, but only if it’s then going into an oven and not a microwave. Apparently, using steam or immersing the piece in boiling water also works. This application of heat causes the polyester component to soften for a short time, making it suitable for shaping the piece before it cools and hardens.
Caution: light colours may tend to change their original colour when exposed to high temperatures. Using the minimum heat and time should work.
Read The Story of Felting to learn about felting’s evolution!