Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
Well, it’s official! I have been bitten by the felting bug! It’s taken me a while to get here, but I’m glad I finally made it!
I went to college many years ago for Graphic Design and NOT ONCE did I have a fiber class. I seriously think I would have loved it then too! I remember sculpting, calligraphy, painting, drawing, printmaking and photography, and while I loved those courses, sadly fiber art was nowhere to be found.
I have experimented with felting for the past 4 years or so. I have made gifts for family and friends, I taught some of my colleagues how to needle felt two years ago, and I taught my family how to needle felt this past Christmas. I also was able to attend a PD on fiber sculpture this past school year, with a group of my teacher friends which was amazing! I have taught younger kids how to wet felt with a ziplock baggie but it wasn’t until my amazing friend Christine Miller really made me re-think about bringing needle felting into my art classes at school. I guess I have not only been nervous about giving my students a serrated needle, but there are so many students in my classroom at once (we have 800 students at my elementary) I have been nervous about monitoring their progress and my ability to cut down injuries.
So I decided to try a trick suggested to me for my summer art camps. I only have 10-11 students at a time and this would help me work out my system, my fears, and my timing for this wonderful material! The trick? Cookie cutters! The students hold the cookie cutter on the side so their hands are nowhere near the part where they are stabbing with a needle!
The students you see in the photos are from 4 ½ years old to 10 years old! Isn’t that amazing?! Only one person pricked their finger, and they even admitted it was because they were not following one of my rules: if you lift your eyes up off the felting foam, your needle goes into the foam while looking elsewhere. They took it very seriously and had so much fun! They had 3 options for their project: a hair clip, a pin, or a canvas board. I now see this is so doable in my elementary art room, especially as a pull out for a small group of 10 or so.
I also have Middle School Art Camps, so they will learn sculptural needle felting using a wire armature! I already have had parents contacting me where to get the supplies because now their children have caught the felting bug as well! I’m so excited to share my passion with others and hopefully they will go to inspire others as well! Happy felting!