Months have passed since I stepped out with a group of intrepid felters for a weekend retreat on Whidbey Island, two hours from Seattle. We rented a large classroom space at an art school and three bedroom vacation rental a short walk from the classroom. We piled roving, pool noodles, bubble wrap and a sense of adventure into our cars for a weekend of experimenting and hard work.
This was such an amazing weekend of fun, it is hard to put it into words. Besides the bags and bags of food, snacks and beverages; everyone brought their favorite felting books and bits of eye candy. We shared our personal stories, our dreams and our ideas late into the night, while working very hard during the day.
The muse and inspiration for the weekend was Chris White’s book Uniquely Felt. We pored over the projects, dissecting the aesthetics and merits of each, imagining departures from the originals. I’m not sure which was more fertile ground: the evening discussions or the daytime experiments.
We collaborated, critiqued and assisted each other with the projects without getting in the way or interfering. I really can’t imagine how it we managed to assemble such a harmonious group of symbiotic personalities.
Our classroom had lots of space and enough tables that we could each pull two six-foot folding tables together for a larger work surface than any of us had previously used. The classroom had kitchen counters with simmering pots of water and two sinks on one wall, making hot water and rinsing stations easy to access.
With no time constraints, we pulled out all the stops trying ideas that were percolating in the recesses of our imaginations, just waiting for the opportunity to be made into felt.
Some projects were a raving success, while others were a learning experience. I spent most of a day working on a wrap-around skirt idea that just didn’t work. Now I have a whole lot of felt yardage to show for it, and that idea has been put to bed. Should I ever want to try a felt skirt, I’ll know where to start and what not to do.
The Unique Felters from left to right: Leah, Jean, Linda, Paula and Jeanette.