The joys of Wet-felting

1 11 2008

Today, I finally loaded the pics from my camera to the computer of the kids felting the large mural at the school where I am doing a residency.  I am so blessed by these pictures.  Being at the school has required a lot of energy, and a bit of neglecting other areas of my work, but let me tell you about the realy payoff.  On Friday, I had a class of about 16 kids. Some of them have serious mental or physical handicaps, and some of them don’t.  (my theory on life is that we all have some handicap.  for some, it’s an inability to empathize, for some, it’s a lack of industry, for others, it’s the need to use other people) so their handicap is just more obvious than some of ours, but these kids have opened their minds and hearts to me, to embrace what I had to offer them.  We spun yarn with thigh spindles, we have tried weaving, and now we are felting.  Friday’s class is so attentive, and willing to learn.  We have had a very tactile experience.  Until Friday, I’ve been unable to reach one particular student, but on Friday, with a special invitation, he joined us, and I was so blessed.  Our mural is 12’X5′, and we put 6 tables together, put a wooden frame on the table, and covered it with a sheet of plastic.

In that makeshift basin, we felted our mural with 15 gallons of soapy water, and 36 hands, patting, rubbing, and making warm bubbles.  We laughed and worked and talked and my new participant sang.  As I write this, I’m almost tearful with joy for the blessing that it was.  The finished product is a ‘Tree of Life’ that the kids drew.  It has their school on it, and fruit.  The vines and texture of the bark of the tree is made from the yarns they spun on their thigh spindles.  Because of privacy issues, I won’t put up pics of the kids, but here is a picture of their mural drying.  The next thing we will do is to needle felt some detail, and sew on the fruit and flowers.  We will also ‘train’ the vines.

I’m so thankful for my time with these young people.  They have given me new eyes.

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