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Felting by Karen Platte
31 March 2007
Karen invited all visitors to the Country Craft Market on 31 March to visit her stall and discover the wonder of felt. She demonstrated some felting techniques, and had prepared kits costing R15, that can be used to produce felt items. She assisted those interested to make their own felt craft items from these kits. Needless to say, many children enjoyed the experience of wet-felting with Karen.
Hannah Hawkins (11),
Rebecca Hawkins (8)
Sophie Danielson (11)
enjoying their felting experience
Soap suds and wool make felt???
A little help from
Rub and rub and rub ...
a completed felt picture
The mention of felting is unlikely to conjure up many special thoughts in most people. Karen Platte works in a medium that few understand and most simply take for granted. Perhaps most will think of felt as a protective lining, or indeed, the covering of a snooker table.
After all, it is simply another fabric bought by the metre at the material shop. Or is it this simple? Karen can introduce us to a world of felting that we never imagined.
But firstly, back to the beginning. Karen developed an appreciation for natural products when here children attended a Waldorf School. She found herself running a craft shop at the school and the joy of working with and experiencing the purity of these natural materials left its mark. Karen admits, "I was hooked and have simply continued working with these gifts from nature ever since."
My first ventures were into knitting with pure wool, and I still produce a variety of knitted animals and other forms that are a delight to old and young who appreciate the feeling of natural fibres and textures.
But then, during a visit to Australia, I discovered felt and the seeds were sown for a new venture that became more of an adventure. The person who introduced me to felt in Australia, visited South Africa to present classes in felting, and I made sure I was in front of the queue.
"That was 11 years ago and the enthusiasm only grew with time. I progressed to being a full-time felter by 2000" says Karen.
Karen explains that felt is made from the raw wool of sheep. The wool is first wetted and soaped, and then rubbed to interlock the fibres until it forms the felt. Felt is a versatile medium, it gives one freedom of expression, being easy to adapt to any design and pattern, even as the article is taking form.
"As a consequence, I make many different and varying items. Since I am working with such a wonderful natural product, I can easily adapt what I am doing to my mood for the day", she tells. She says that of course there are always the popular items such as note book covers, small purses, cell phone covers, hot water bottle covers, tissue covers, broaches, angles, handbags, scarf's, etc, but actually the list is endless as new ideas keep emerging.
"I also supply felting wool and hand made felted articles to shops, and run a mail-order system to supply dyed wool, felt kits and felting needles to other felters all over the country. I also conduct workshops for adults and children on how to felt" she adds.
Last Updated 04 November 2017 16:09