Techniques

 

Blending the fibres

One of the great joys of preparing fibres is using a drum carder to create new colours. The tiny spikes on the drum separate out the individual fibres, allowing the colours to merge together in exciting new blends.

 

Wet felting

Wet felting is a traditional process whereby wool fibres are laid out and sprinkled with warm, soapy water. Friction is then applied, by rubbing and rolling to set the fibres together. By increasing the temperature of the water and the firmness of the rolling, a hardwearing piece of felt fabric can be created. 

 

Needle felting

Needle felting is another way of creating felt. The key tool is a barbed needle which is used to tangle and compact the fibres using a jabbing motion. It is then possible to sculpt the wool and to join different elements to each other using the same technique. Needle felting is very useful for adding detail to pictures and for making 3-D forms. 

 

Free motion embroidery

Free-motion embroidery allows the artist to control the direction of the stitching on the sewing machine by moving the fabric in different directions - it is like drawing by moving the paper under a fixed pencil. I often use free-motion embroidery to add detail and definition to felted pieces and to create free-hand stitch sketches.