FeltUnited, a community that welcomes and encourages feltmaking
How does one celebrate felt? Why does one celebrate felt? Good questions. According to the FeltUnited website, the day “started out as an idea to bring felters together across the planet.” It’s been celebrated since 2009 and is now on it’s seventh year.
Together – we felt united.
Every year on the first Saturday of October, felters from around the globe show their felt to the world, work on collaborations, travel the world to meet each other, party, celebrate, exhibit, teach, talk and share. Everybody in their own way, all united on working in the same theme, same day, same joy but different ideas. Photo’s and stories of all you do on this year’s FeltUnited can be shared on the FeltUnited facebook page.
I joined Facebook 2011 and became aware of real people making felt; versus my solo interactions which were limited to me reading feltmaking books. At last, I was not alone in my kitchen. It was so exciting to know that I wasn’t the only one in the world absolutely enchanted with working with wool fibers. Moreover, the work created and shared on FeltUnited was so varied and fabulous. Some folks made wall pieces, others felted wearables. A few made impressive art installations.. And the group was so welcoming and supportive of each others’ creations. Those who felted as a hobby shared alongside professional artists.
FeltUnited 2011 Color Theme – Red to Violet part of the color spectrum
For my first FeltUnited I made a felted hood ‘showing’ Red Riding Hood with the wicked wolf shadowing her. It was unseasonably warm to be wearing a wool hood in Norwich, England. I had my husband take photographs of me in the beautiful grounds of the Norwich Cathedral. I felt a bit shy and silly wearing something so different (and warm). Can’t remember if I wore the hood while riding the bus into town. I certainly wasn’t bold enough to hold a workshop or work on a collaboration with anyone at this point in my felting journey
FeltUnited 2012, Fire Theme
I continued to make hats out of felt, my skills improving bit, by bit. Thinking about the theme of Fire, I made a sort of veiled fascinator hat with images of flames engulfing a scaffolding. Again, I went to the center of Norwich to help share my love of felt in public. My patient husband again served as photographer. Ended up posing in front of a printed mural of the flames of Londinium ;.that is in the ‘Boudica and the Romans’ exhibit of the Norwich Castle Museum.
FeltUnited 2013, Water Theme
For this hat I tried to combine the textures of tide pools with what I imagined an Edwardian or Victorian Lady might wear to the chilly English seaside. On the inside there are two long ties made of cotton with nunofelted wool. For one needs to tie on one’s hat at the windy beaches of Norfolk that we used to love to visit during the spring and autumn.
FeltUnited 2014, Peace Theme
Peace is a rather difficult theme to embody, for me. Perversely made me think of ‘unpeace’ within the world. And I didn’t feel like making a felted hat that ‘represented’ war, hate or natural disasters.
Instead, I recalled a dear memory. During the pregnancy of my first child, there was a swimming pool at our apartment complex. It was beyond delightful to swim in the pool: to be weightless of my huge belly and unworried about what the future of motherhood might bring. At peace for just a while. In fact, while I’m not a particularly good swimmer, being in it or looking at, water brings me peace.
FeltUnited 2015, Home Theme
I sort of cheated on this year’s FeltUnited because I didn’t manage to make the idea that I had in my mind for this year’s theme of Home: three sculptural hats representing the houses of The Three Little Pigs. This series will be next on my list of things to make! Instead, I took the opportunity to publicly and properly share my love of felting with a table at Pittsburgh MakerFaire. I demonstrated and showed all the stages of feltmaking. And also had several completed hats on display. I had so many amazing conversations about creativity and feltmaking with visitors! Lastly, Pittsburgh (or the suburbs or it) is my new home. Like the last of the Three Little Pigs, we’ve chosen a brick house to live in. Although, our home has curious sections of white polyvinyl siding on it. Would that be the fourth Little Pig’s house?
I wrote a blog post about the MakerFaire here.
Have you had the opportunity to be part of an ongoing community and watch it (and yourself) grow through challenges, themes or contests?