Well I’m here to tell you that I’ve learnt much, much more about felting through making mistakes. And I’ve made a lot of them! In fact in an odd way, I’ve come to really enjoy making mistakes! Isn’t that strange?!! Well, perhaps not! The Japanese have an entire philosophy, deeply rooted in Zen Buddhism, associated with this! Wabi-sabi – the philosophy of appreciating flaws. Recognizing that in each imperfection is an opportunity to learn. What a wonderful idea! The idea that you should take joy in error and love the learning that comes from it.
So from now on I’d like you to rename ‘mistakes’ as ‘happy accidents’. Of course some are happier than others, but you will learn from all of them! One time I overworked a seamless nuno-felted wedding dress skirt, consisting of 26 layers of silk chiffon that had taken me 12 hours to painstakingly lay out. It suddenly shrank 10 inches (rendering it child size). I have to admit, I was not initially so Zen about it! However, as I held the shrunken piece in my hands, I immediately realized what I had done wrong….and I never did it again! When I recreated the skirt, I understood so much more about the dynamics of fiber layout, shrinkage and nuno felting in general. (Read all about the making of the wedding dress HERE).
When a student in a flower pin class told me sadly that his leaf layer had slipped, I immediately saw how beautiful, natural and corsage-like the piece looked. I now teach this option intentionally! See! A happy accident and discovery!
I’ve always felt that felting is magical. It’s a fiber art that is all about experimenting, pushing the boundaries and making mistakes. Give yourself the freedom to do this in art, and surely the same will follow in life!
The next ‘live’ session of Learn To Felt – a 7 week online felting class – begins on Monday 2nd May. Find out more details and sign up HERE.