A Special Teaching Opportunity

Last week I had another really enjoyable and unusual teaching opportunity.  The Southern Highland Craft Guild  in Asheville, North Carolina of which I am a member, was hosting a group of international teachers for a morning of craft and relaxation on their day off from their studies. These teachers were studying  different teaching modalities in the USA on a grant from the U.S. State Department. The program provides funding for a small number of  highly accomplished international teachers to take part in an intensive professional development program, which includes a broad range of educational classes and faculty support while residing in the USA for 6 weeks.

I was one of  2 teachers who was privileged to teach a workshop to the  17 teachers at The Folk Art Center.  The workshop I taught was a 2 hour introduction to the art of felting.  The other instructor was Laura Simms, another fiber artist who was teaching an introduction to marbling on cloth. Laura took half the group and I took the other half.

I had several goals for this special workshop.  First in this brief introduction to felting I wanted to provide a hands on, fun experience where each participant would make and embellish a small piece of felted cloth. Second, I  provided some historical context about  felting through the centuries around the world. Thirdly, I wanted to show the various raw materials used to felt with and show several different types of finished felted products.

To do this I brought in several types of raw wool- some of which was from my own shetland sheep, some commercially prepared wool sheets, some hand dyed merino wool, and several of my Nuno felted garments and accessories. I gave a handout with a brief history of felting. Then we moved on to experience the actual felting process.

I had prepared individual felting kits which included  3 different colors of merino wool, an outline of a 10 x10 square to be filled in with the wool, sprinkling bottles, bubble wrap and plastic sheets to cover the wetted out wool. On the table was another pile of assorted wool bits, yarns pre felts and sparky fibers so everyone could embellish their piece as they wished.  It was so much fun to see men getting into felting for a change. Everyone seemed to be very into the process asking questions, and wanting additional information about felting. Some of the teachers even shared some thoughts on how they could incorporate felting into they own  classroom curriculums.

The tables set for felting

The tables set for felting

Some various types of raw wool and some embellishment fibers

Some various types of raw wool and some embellishment fibers

My felted items to show what you can make with wool

My felted items to show what you can make with wool

All is ready to start.

All is ready to start.

Designing his piece- the first layer of wool

Designing his piece- the first layer of wool

Laying her first layer of wool

Laying her first layer of wool

Adding the embellishments on the final layer

Adding the embellishments on the final layer

Stretching the piece into shape

Stretching the piece into shape

Rinsing out their pieces

Rinsing out their pieces

The Proud new Felters with their finished pieces

The Proud new Felters with their finished pieces

A beautiful piece by any standards

A beautiful piece by any standards

The day was a lovely one for me, the teachers all said how much they enjoyed learning about felting and I was thrilled they all were so involved in the process. They were so  enthusiastic and inquisitive. One woman couldn’t wait to do more of it when she got back home to her country, maybe another felter was born !

I am grateful I had the opportunity to teach this class.

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4 Responses to A Special Teaching Opportunity

  1. It looks like it was a wonderful experience for all the students. I have to take a class from ou one day soon.

  2. alexandra cortes says:

    Wonderful! Congrats Elynn. You have amazing work. It’s easy to see that you’re just as an amazing teacher.

    • amanostudios says:

      Thanks so very much. I really enjoy teaching. Did you see my new video on U-tube? I also posted it on my personal facebook page but somehow am not able to post it on my Business amano page. Thanks again.

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