I use local wool from farmer friends in Vermont and try to stay in New England for special wools. These days I am dyeing my own wool that I purchased or processing raw wool . which means I skirt, clean, wash and drum card. Hand dyeing is always a surprise of varying colors and shades so I drum card it to better blend colors.When you buy from The Felted Gnome you not only support a Vermont Artist but you also support Vermont Farms. All that you see in my shop is designed and made by my own two hands in my studio. I have no helpers, factory or off site company shipping . It is truly hand made by the artist.
Needle Felting is a unique art. It is not an old technique, it started in the 1980s when some artists found that by using a machine felting needle they could shape wool by stabbing it . It takes many stabs over time to sculpt wool into a solid figurine but the results as you can see are terrific. There is something magical about wool felt creatures and paintings. It emanates warmth, strength and evokes a time when play was innocent. I hope you enjoy my little beings and my functional art as much as I love making them.
What is Wet Felting?
Wool fibers are stimulated by friction and lubricated by hot water and soap to force the scales of the wool to interlock and compress thereby creating a wool felt cloth.
I layer local Vermont unspun wool roving, add soap and water and then rub, roll, slam, and beat in to submission to shape the hat, slippers or mittens you see here. Then it is air dried, a design is needle felted onto the item and it is wet felted a second time to lock in the fibers.
All my wearable art and accessories are made by wet felting. Much of the wool either has been processed by me after being sourced from local farmers or has been processed by a local (next town over) fiber mill.