I was lucky enough to get to spend this Thursday and Friday over at Open Drawer in Hartwell, doing a fantastic wet-felting workshop. Wet felting is something that I've been doing without really knowing the best way to go about it. I generally just throw a lot of water, soap and wool tops about until it turns to felt (which, upon reflection is pretty much how it works), but it was great to learn the finer details of the process. (I also apologise in advance for the horrible quality of these photos).
This nasty looking thing above is what we called a 'feral felt', basically an experimental piece to get the hang of things.
While this might look pretty basic, I, personally was dumbfounded that I was able to create a near perfect square by wet-felting. It was awesome to learn the sort of control you can have over the felting process!
We did some fairly experimental and really interesting stuff, including creating pre-felts (basically bits of felt that aren't fully felted) with bits of silks tops, threads and fabric of all sorts laid into them. You'd be amazed at the extent to which felt will grab and hang on to things that aren't wool.
Pre-felting allows you to do some pretty amazing stuff, including embedding pieces into other pieces, as shown in my funny little abstract experiment above. The pink and lighter pieces are actually embedded into the dark blue piece, as opposed to stuck on top. It's something that's really unique to the medium and I certainly never thought I'd learn that in a beginners' course!
We also made flowers, which were much easier and nicer than any felted flower I've ever been able to make before.
So, these things are all pretty messy and experimental, but once you learn the basics of felting, you really can go wild with experimenting, and doing things you can't do with any other textile mediums. I still think I favour needle felting, but this workshop definitely got my mind racing with a few wet-felting projects I'll hopefully get started on soon!