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Nancy Bevins Felting    The Art Of Felting

The Art Of Felting

Although wet felting techniques have been around since ancient times, needle felting has only become common in the last century. I was first introduced to it by my good friend Lynn Yurkiewicz (did I spell that right this time?) who learned it at the Augusta Festival in Elkins WV. She now teaches it at various venues. It is basically...sculpting with wool.

You begin forming the creation by rolling or bunching the carded wool into a tight form, then poking it with a very long barbed needle. This intertwines the wool together. With enough pokes, it tightens up. The more you stab, the tighter the form will be. I usually use plain white or even mixed scraps of wool for the core of my project.

Next, you cover the outside with the desired color, and continue sculpting with the needle. I've probably stabbed my own fingers more than I WANT to remember, including a few pokes all the way through, and once halfway into my thigh.

There are different tricks of the trade, but they will make no sense to someone who is already confused with the above description. You tighten here, add wool there, pull pieces off in other places, until you are satisfied with what you have made!

All my wool is from our own sheep and goats. It has been sheared, washed, picked, carded and dyed by me, with a little help from the kids. I have a hard time keeping an inventory because it takes so long to finish each project, and they are usually sold before I can get another made.

My mind is always bulging with ideas of what to make next. I like making most anything, though I've found I never know what will bring the most interest. I love making creatures that are lower on the "fan-club totem pole." Things like possums, armadillos, mice, rats...even snails! That is the beauty of felting, if it exists, you can make it. I once bought a felted tuna fish can with a felted can opener made by a young artist on Ebay. For goodness sake, in some parts of the world people actually live in a felted wool home (a Yurt). Anything is possible!!

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