Today I took a workshop for beginners and we discussed how I first learnt to felt.
It was so interesting to think back and useful to realise how differing styles of teaching create good or bad felting habits.
I would love to hear other peoples ‘first felt’ experience. So please comment.
This is mine…
I was studying textiles at Orkney College ( how lucky am I?). It was the first year the course had run and things were new and exciting for us as well as the tutors. It felt quite experimental. The Orkney Isles are cheek to jowl with artists ( in every sense, music, drama, fine art etc ) and crafts people. These artists patronised the college, they would come in and give lessons in there medium. AMAZING. More on that another time.
So as you can imagine work placements were a real treat.
Myself and Krusty were jammy enough to get Mary Smith a feltmaker.
We went straight into making a hat! We were working on a big board which covered her bed in her bedroom!!! It was a tight squeeze which added to the excitement.
We worked with a lot of water and used a sander. At the end we had a great hat and a sense of wonder. That loose fibre became a 3d, strong yet beautiful hat in 5 hours.
We had little understanding of the technique, why it worked or any of the detail. But I was hooked. This was 1997 and there was little felt about.
I was self taught from then on, learning so much from experimentation and the joy of mistakes. A year ago I attended the IFA and four amazing workshops which gave me confidence in what I was already doing.
I have also been around other felters when they have been teaching and I try to listen to what their students are saying, watch how they learn and make not to ensure that when I teach it is as in-depth as they can take in/need and gives them what the need to progress on their own.
I look forward to hearing about your beginnings.