Pre-felts and wool papers

This was the subject of my workshop last Thursday. Firstly an explanation for you non or new felters. Pre-felt is part made felt where you stop working at an early stage and the felt is still very soft which enables it to be cut up and re-used. Wool paper is made in the same way as silk paper but using wool fibres. It’s quite a simple process and I’ll put up a tutorial very soon.

The two examples above show work with pre-felts using a mosiac (sometimes called inlay) technique. In the green and yellow example a shape has been cut from each piece and swopped over. After stitching together with wool yarn to become part of the pattern it has then been felted into one piece of fabric. The colourful example is many pieces stitched together to form a picture also with stitching that has become part of the piece. It is possible to do invisible stitches but unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the one that Judith made. Working this way gives crisp edges to work, clear colours (no background fibres coming through) and allows the felt to remain an even thickness.

The examples above show the pre-felts cut up and laid on top of other pre-felts to create pictures (onlay technique). Again, you retain great control of shapes but where you place the pre-felts you’re actually building up the layers of fibre and making the felt thicker in that one area. You can see the extra thickness best perhaps on the red flower in the bottom left hand corner.

Wool papers are used in the same way as pre-felts, by cutting up and placing onto other fibres or pre-felts. As you add the soapy water the paste is dissolved and the fibres felt together. One advantage it does have is that you can make the wool paper much finer than a pre-felt and still get a crisp edge to shapes whilst allowing colours beneath to show through a lot. The examples above have both pre-felts and wool papers on them.