The middle school art class was without its usual and very competent teacher this morning. I jumped in to fill the gap. More or less. Truthfully, mostly less…I don’t know how to felt.
Lucky for me, the students have learned how to felt in the weeks since school started. They worked on advanced projects, mostly tapestry work that needs precise design.
With their guidance, I worked on a beginner project of shaping the roving wool,using a cookie cutter and a felting needle.
I was eager for guidance. How much wools should I add? Would it work to blend colors? I learned that I had to flip my work often, and that density is a hallmark of a strong piece. When I added wool to make the star thicker, I was advised to make sure I kept needling in order to blend the layers completely.
I accidentally jammed the needle into my thumb, which started to bleed. I got lots of sympathy, and a bandaid. Students were eager to tell me about the time they had done the same thing, which made me feel less clumsy.
The companionship around me was warm. Felting is a quiet and rhythmic craft. It facilitates conversation, and is rather forgiving, making it soothing. Some of the students plan to continue this as a hobby at home after the course is over next week.
When one student finished a project, I was too much of a novice to offer a critique. So, a classmate stepped in to fill that role.
At the end of the class, my star was finished, I hoped. I turned it over to a couple of volunteers for its critique. My color choice was assessed. The star’s density was praised. A good suggestion for my next project is that I concentrate on filling in the points by moving my needle on a diagonal.
We know we have learned something when we are able to teach it to others. Thank you Felting Classes 1 and 2 for showing me what you knew so I that I could learn it too. And I hope that the gentle and positive guidance you showed me is also something that you have learned here, at PDS.