On Wednesday I’m leaving North Carolina to return to Oaxaca for several months with two pieces of luggage stuffed mostly with wool roving, notions, needles, felted pin cushions and embellishments (buttons, beads, lace, used coffee and tea filters). This morning UPS delivered 25 lbs. of ecru wool roving that we will be dyeing with cochineal, indigo, moss, wild marigold and other natural materials in our upcoming Felted Fashion Workshop that starts February 2 (yes, we have two spaces open).
Twenty-five pounds of wool is HEAVY and I’m grateful to participant Deborah Morris, M.D., PA-C, who will bring half of it with her for me! Debbie is from Fayetteville, NC, where she teaches in the Methodist University physicians assistant program. She is placing PA students in the Teotitlan del Valle public health clinic this summer for a volunteer clinical experience. Our other participants are coming from California, Massachusetts, and San Miguel de Allende.
Jessica de Haas, our instructor, is a fashion designer from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, who works exclusively in hand felted fabric through her design company Funk Shui Felt. During our workshop we will be felting onto silk, cotton, muslin, cheesecloth and other porous natural material to create cloth. From the cloth, we’ll be designing and sewing one-of-a kind garments based on indigenous-style Mexican clothing.
An example is the poncho (above) I made this past autumn. While it was definitely an experiment, and far from perfect, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments when I’ve worn it out and about. The fabric looks like an animal skin with the variegation in the wool. I felted it on muslin then embellished it with hand-stitching and a garnish of a red felt flower with a seed bead center!
Some of our participants asked if they could experiment with other forms of sculptural felting. Both Jessica and I said, “bring it on.” So, we’ll learn technique and then the only limits will be our personal creativity. As an aside, I recently took a needle felting workshop from fiber artist Christie Minchew who lives in my home town. I’ll be bringing along materials to share in case anyone wants to learn and experiment with this technique, too.
So, that’s what I’ve been up to these days as I wind down the holiday season here and look forward to being in Mexico, my other home! Now, on to packing and getting ready for the first leg of my travels to Puebla, where I’m meeting up with fiber arts friends Norma (yes, another Norma) and Mara from Santa Fe.