Felt is one of the oldest textiles. Pieces of felted fabric have been found dating back to prehistoric times. In 'Ancient Miracle & Modern Craft' visitors can see and feel how simple it is to make felt. Only three things are needed: fiber from sheep, soapy water and human 'elbow grease.' Each stage of feltmaking will have a sample: from a selection of the basic types of fibers; how to layer the fibers; how soapy water is used to wet the fibers, the need for gentle rolling; the stronger kneading to shrink the fibers down 30 percent and finally the shaping on wooden hat blocks. Felt is a versatile material which can be colorful and sculptural. As part of the exhibit there will be several completed hats to show the range of creative expression that felt encourages.
I studied textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design many years ago, but a recent foray into feltmaking reignited my sense of creativity. Felting is a craft that suits my temperament: while there is method, there are not too many rules. Improvisation and serendipity are encouraged. I create colorful, sculptural hats that expressively punctuate a wardrobe and are a joy to wear.