What do these cute merino lambs (or rather their mum)…. and these not-so-cute silk worms… and I… have in common? … … … We all put a lot of time, love and effort into creating this nuno felted silk scarf:
What is felt?Making felt is a pretty magical process. How cool is it that this (merino wool roving): with just some soap, water, agitation and compression, transforms into a fabric like this (in a process called wet felting or traditional felting)?!: But, when wool fibers are coaxed to felt with silk, (in a process known as nuno-felting) something truly breathtaking happens as a feather-light wearable work of felt art is created! For example, when “Silver Lining” was first laid out, the silk gauze fabric was much longer. BEFORE: Fine layers of merino wool were laid on top of the silk, leaving some of the silk bare. The scarf was covered with protective netting, soapy water was added and the bundle was rolled up and tied. Then the rolling began…. Nuno felting involves a LOT of rolling! I rolled…… and rolled….. and rolled some more. Then I rolled again for good measure, repeatedly checking the progress of the nuno felting process.During about 40 minutes of rolling the wool fibers wiggled their way through the silk gauze and got tangled on the other side. A fabric was formed but it was weak. It needed to be ‘shocked’ to get strong. No, there was no creeping up behind it…instead the delicate bundle was plunged into hot, then cold water, and ‘kneaded’ like bread to make the fibers tangle, shrink and lock irreversibly. Then it was flung…..HARD…. at a surface (I see a workshop for divorcees in my future as cathartic flinging on serves only to improve the strength of the fabric!). As the roving felted, it shrank, grasping the silk gauze and taking it along for the ride, resulting in beautiful, delicate ruffling. AFTER: The finished nuno felted silk scarf. And some more magic! Even though the felting procedures are defined, there is never complete control over the process. The thickness of wool used, the amount of rolling, the pressure applied, the heat of the water, the vigor with which the felt is shocked and thrown, all impact the felting and create a truly one-of-a-kind piece of wearable felt art. Felt, the oldest fabric known to man, serves as a metaphor for life; the wool fibers that tangle irreversibly and become transformed into felt fabric, represent the interwoven relationships that bind us (humans, or in this case, the sheep, the silkworm and me!) together and shape our lives. Hard to believe isn’t it, that a collaboration with a worm and a sheep could produce something so delicate? Just as I said – magical! This nuno felted silk scarf is available for purchase at www.FeltEvolution.com.
- Have you ever tried felting?
- – Would you like to learn how to make felt, or how to nuno felt?
- – Check out how you can get started by doing one of the workshops available at FeltEvolution.com