Thursday, February 24, 2011

I JUST FELT LIKE IT: Felting exhibit #3

Now the work begins. Roz Houseknecht and Dalis Davidson carry the rolled and tied wool on tulle piece outside and drain off the excess water.

Roz, along with Paige Garber, Bev Thoms and Sharon Janda begin rolling the wrapped log back and forth with their feet.

 The roll is reversed and rolled in the opposite direction.
 After a spate of rolling, the log is carried back inside and unrolled on the set of tables. The design is checked for shifting and tweaked back into position. Dry spots are rewetted.

 It is recovered with the plastic sheeting and rerolled into a log starting from the opposite end and retied.

 More rolling to continue the felting process. This will be repeated several times.
 The roll containing the Spring panel is wrapped in black plastic garbage bags for transportation home where rolling will be continued until the wool is totally adhered to the tulle backing and to itself. At this point the process of fulling will begin where the panel is beaten and thrown to encourage the wool to draw up and shrink. The 19-20 foot long original size will end up 15 feet or less. Come see the finished 4 seasons panels at the Saville Gallery in Cumberland, MD March 10- April 2 along with many individual examples of felted work.

Again, many thanks to the Barnsville, MD Town Hall for the use of this wonderful space. Joanne


Monday, February 21, 2011

I JUST FELT LIKE IT: Felting exhibit #2

Continuing on with the creation of the last panel "Spring" in the 4 piece installation artwork to be exhibited at Saville Gallery, Cumberland, MD in March:

Dalis Davidson rolls brown wool roving into tree branches:

The rolled roving is placed onto the panel, tucking edges under the dogwood flowers:

Roz Houseknecht, Paige Garber and Bev Thoms assist Dalis in placing the branches.

When the placement of branches is complete, Dalis and Roz pat down the layers of wool while Bev adds color to the clouds.

Sharon Janda, Roz Houseknecht and Bev Thoms begins spraying cool, lightly soapy water onto the panel. When felting wool onto a finely woven background that is not wool, beginning with cool water slows the felting process so that the wool fibers have time to migrate into the brackground before felting to each other.

When the wool is thoroughly wetted, the panel is patted down again using plastic to prevent the wet wool from sticking to hands.

The wetted panel is covered by a large single piece of plastic.


The plastic is smoothed down eliminating air bubbles.

Bev, Dalis and Zita Simutis check the panel for last minute adjustments.

 Dalis and Jeanne Bohlen cut off the excess plastic sheeting.

Using a swim pool noodle for a core, Zita and Dalis begin rolling the panel up into a log.

It takes a lot of hands to smooth the panel so that the rolling is consistent.

Excess water is squeezed out and mopped up along the way.

Draining the excess water.

The roll is tied with nylon stockings.

Whew! Time for a break! Joanne

Friday, February 18, 2011

I JUST FELT LIKE IT: Felting exhibit

While beadwork is my primary love, I also work in other fiber media including embroidery, both hand and machine, as well as knitting and felting.

The Felting Study Group #1 members of the Potomac Fiberarts Guild will have their own show at the
Allegheny’s Arts Council’s Saville Gallery in Cumberland Maryland.
The Opening Reception of the show, I JUST FELT LIKE IT, is at 6PM on
Saturday, 12 March. The show runs from 10 March until 2 April 2011.

Saville Gallery is located at 9 North Centre Street, Cumberland, MD 21502; 301-777-ARTS;
Gallert hours: Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM; Sat 11AM-4PM

Members of the Study Group participating in the exhibit include:
Joanne Bast, Bev Thoms, Roz Houseknecht, Zita Simutis, Dalis Davidson, Sharon Janda, Kathy Korin, Grace Mahanes, Paige Garber, Renate Maile-Moskowitz, Francine Stefancic, Terri Fisher, and Jeanne Bohlen

While each of us will have individual works of art on display, including felted wall pieces, clothing, sculptures, scarves, hats, purses and jewelry, we are also creating a large installation piece specifically for this exhibition. It will consists of 4 floor to ceiling panels following the branches of a dogwood tree through the four seasons. Yesterday we met and laid out the final piece in the series: Spring. I thought that I would digress from beadwork and follow the creation of this major piece.

First, 6 tables are arranged and raised to working height on bed risers. The tables are covered by plastic and then bubble wrap. Jeanne Bohlen, Sharon Janda, Zita Simutis and Bev Thoms stretch out the plastic.

A piece of tulle predyed with ground, grass, and sky areas is places on the plastic. The tulle is 19-20 feet long and about 3-4 feet wide.


Hand dyed wool roving to be used in the panel. Wool is a fiber with scales that can be made to open up and attach to each other producing a fiber mat called felt. Thin layers of wool may also be made to penetrate and attach to fine openweave fabrics such as the background tulle used here. This is referred to as nuno felt.

The roving is pulled into fine wisps and carefully placed onto the tulle. Bev Thoms and Jeanne Bohlen lay out the grass area:

Sharon Janda and Paige Garber lay out the ground and rocks:

Roz Houseknecht, Paige Garber, Zita Simutis, Renate Maile-Moskowitz, Jeanne Bohlen, and Dalis Davidson lay out the sky:

 Bev Thoms and Zita Simutis add shadows and highlights:

White wool has been slightly felted (called prefelt) from which the dogwood petals are cut and attached together by pricking with special barbed needles. This is called needle felting.

The needle felted flowers are placed on the background.

Checking the composition:

It's not all work!

Prefelt in various colors for leaves:

Dalis Davidson cuts leaves out of prefelt:

Roz Houseknecht and Dalis Davidson add leaves and flower details:

Lunch break. I will continue in the next posting. Joanne

We thank the Barnesville, MD Town Hall for allowing us this wonderful space to work in.