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My Process

My projects begin with color. I assemble fabrics and fibers that interest me as a color pallete and lay them on my work table to ponder. Sometimes a design idea emerges or progresses from this point.


















Most of the time my projects start with a dry, feathery layout of unspun merino wool. The layout is usually done on top of bubble wrap. The bubble sheet dimensions are greater than the desired finished dimensions of the piece, anticipating 40 to 50 % shrinkage.

Once the dry layout is complete, I add tepid, soapy water and compress the wool through a net or another piece of bubble wrap to make sure all the fibers are evenly wetted out. After removing the net off a scarf, for example, I have what is like a blank canvas to design with a wide mix of thin fabric and fiber possibilities. Let the drawing and painting begin!

I often imbed fiber shapes or fiber lines between wool and tissue-thin fabric that I lay on top of the wool to create surface texture, or place cut up pieces on top of the fabric to create depth and visual movement in a layered design narrative.

For a flat piece, like a scarf, once the design is as I want it, I again place a top layer of plastic or bubble wrap and begin a massage. With wet, soapy hands I rub all over the piece to initiate the connection between fabric and fiber. I do this for several minutes, working slowly. Sometimes I use an electric sander with a bubble strip instead of sandpaper and speed set on low to accomplish this stabilization of my design.

Once the massage is complete, I often turn the flat piece over and design on the back side, but every project is different.

Once it is well massaged so the design is stable, I will roll the two layers of bubble wrap with the project inside onto a pool noodle or PVC pipe and begin rolling the project on my table. Rolling in all directions can last well over an hour. The project is still wet and soapy. Shrinkage is underway.

After rolling, but sometimes before it, I inspect my designs and work with my most favorite element in felt design, collaging with partially felted shapes that I cut just for this purpose.

Once rolling and final design check ups are done, the fulling begins. Fulling enhances shrinkage and creates shaping. Fulling consists of tossing, rubbing, stretching, and rolling the project on itself. There is a lot of excitement and change in this physical part of felt making. 

The last thing that finishes the project is rinsing out the soap, spin drying the piece, and giving it the loving attention of a steam iron.

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