I just spent three amazing days in a church basement with 11 other women and one fiber art teacher, Jean Gauger. Northeast Fiber Arts sponsored the workshop, providing sustenance midday, and camaraderie. Through Jean’s instruction, a few yards of colorful silk, and a pile of soft merino roving, we each completed a nuno felted shawl. But this class was about so much more than just felting, it was about women sharing a common passion and encouraging one another. At moments, you could have heard a pen drop as everyone was concentrating on their work at hand, and at other times, the room filled with laughter as these women shared their lives and stories. At the end of the three days, we had learned advanced felting skills and had gained new friends near and far.
Jean is an amazing teacher and fiber artist. Her story and journey into the world of felting is so inspiring. I sat for quite a while looking through her design journal, a diary of sorts, which she brought along with her. Here, she illustrates her ideas and puts sample pieces of felt for each design. She stood with me, flipping through the book, telling me the inspiration behind many of her pieces and her process of recording each in her journal. Her book was just as beautiful as the actual garments that she creates.
The first day of class, Jean spent time discussing all of the different surface design elements in the piece we would make. After lunch, we spent the afternoon felting samples, using the fiber and silk that we had chosen for our project. By felting a sample, we were able to determine our shrinkage rate. We created our samples by sandwiching fine merino wool between two layers of silk.
Day two took more concentration, as we each began laying out the wool and silk for our shawls. We worked in soft whispers, lending a hand or giving words of encouragement to one another. Jean mingled among us, giving instruction where needed and refining our technique by taking the wool into her hands and showing us how to lay it out. Once laid out, we were able to start that magical process of wetting, rolling, and rubbing to create a lightweight piece of fabric.
Day three was a day for serious work, as we had to finish felting our pieces. I finished felting my shawl before lunch time, which gave me an opportunity to make a small felted “scarflette” in the afternoon. Before we all departed, going our separate ways, we shared email addresses, promising to stay in touch, and took some group photographs.
My completed shawl….
My completed scarflette…
Hello to all from Nicole’s Keep Calm Craft On!!