What is Fiber Art

There are all kinds of fiber, both natural and man made. I mainly work with natural fiber, with wool being my favorite. I take that wool and turn it into felt. Felt you say? YES!

So how is felt made you might ask? It’s a deep dark secret. No, not really. Felt is the process of squishing the air out from between each strand of fiber and “locking” the strands together. Wool is special as that each strand has little ridges on them that will grab onto each other. Not all animal fiber has this, but if you’ve ever had or seen a cat or dog with matts, that’s felt. Surprising but true. Once fibers are felted, they cannot be unfelted.

There are two methods for making felt, wet felting and dry felting.

Wet felting is the process of using water, a bit of soap and agitation to lock the fibers together. This method goes back thousands of years and was used for clothing, rugs and even as the outer cover of huts. Today there are just as many uses, from lovely clothing, scarves, purses, shoes, boots, and hats, to name just a few.

Dry felting is also referred to as needled felting. This is a very recent development in the art world. This method originated in the industrial industry where large plates with barbed needles inserted into them ( kind of like those fancy meat tenderizers ) that would poked into the fibers hundreds and hundreds times until the fibers locked together and created a felted sheet. A really smart cookie looked at those needles and thought, hum... and started to sculpt those fibers into three dimensional shape and needle felting was born!

 Many times both wet felting and needle felting are used together.