Kay Dudek used felting processes, both wet and dry, to make the orange beads in this necklace. She added wood and metal beads for artistic effect.
What can you make with wool? If you visit Kay Dudek’s studio in Fort Collins, you might believe the answer is — just about everything.
Purses, jewelry, lampshades, hair ornaments, vessels, sculpture, toys, flowers, and art to frame and hang. Kay makes all of these plus shawls, mittens, and fabric without spinning, crocheting, knitting, or weaving.
The tiny scales along the surface of wool fibers catch on each other permanently when the fibers are rubbed together mechanically. Add a little soapy water, and the scales join even more strongly. The process is called felting — needle felting if the wool is dry, or wet felting if soap and water are used.
When Kay works at the felting process long enough, she can turn fluffy wool fibers into dense objects that have almost no give to them, like the orange beads in the necklace pictured above. Continue reading
This wool vest made by Una Walker was on display at Estes Park Wool Market last month.
From raw, recently shorn wool to wearable wool art, I saw all the products that anyone who loves fiber might want at this year’s Estes Park Wool Market. While I was searching for Front Range artisans to feature on this blog, I met several who had come from farther away. What they taught me on the spot was fascinating – so much so that I pulled out my notebook and camera and tucked away my Front Range criteria.
First was Una Walker, California owner of Wooly Walkers, who made the vest pictured here. Punch needle rug hooking is Una’s business – she sells supplies, designs patterns, teaches workshops, and creates handbags, cushions, and anything else suitable to the heft and durability of a hooked rug weight. Continue reading
Fran Bowen of Fort Collins creates bears for all occasions by felting wool. The polar bear, center, is a work in progress and will soon be dressed for the season.
Fran Bowen’s felted wool animals would bring a smile to my face any time of year. Right now, however, they’re especially fun as Fran decks them for the holiday season. Some of the bears and mice have been growing fluffy white beards, donning hats with white tassels, or trying on colorful scarves. Meanwhile, the deer are wearing Christmas ornaments around their necks, and the newest birds are looking slightly sparkly. Angels and Santa Clauses of felted wool have joined them for the season.
No matter what special occasion Fran’s bears might be celebrating throughout the year, one thing remains the same: They’re wool through and through, and so are their accessories. Continue reading