I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shades of Magnolia Pearl

I took this class with the highest of hopes. I waited all weekend, with anticipation, for this all day Nuno Felting class at the Art Is...You Retreat and I was not disappointed.
I think we all came into this room with the desire to learn something about this amazing form of felting.
To create a beautiful scarf out of pieces of fabric and wool fleece.
This is Lorri Scott. She was our instructor. She is a self-taught fiber artist. She transforms silk, fabrics, yarns and ribbon into wearable art creations. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA. With the assistance of her sister, she  guided all of us into the world of Nuno felting and by the end of the day we all had a beautiful scarf that we would proudly wear out into the real world.
The process of Nuno felting is long, rather complicated and physically demanding. First you lay bubble wrap on a towel. Then you lay out the pieces of fabric that you want to piece together. They can be odd shapes or long strips.
When you get the design you want, you "glue" them together with small amounts of wool fleece which will eventually adhere all the pieces together with the wool backing that you layer on top of the fabric. This is a very simplistic way of telling you how the process goes but there are plenty of online videos that explain this in detail. Just google Nuno felting and marvel at the amazing process.
Lorri first had us do a small piece (about 6x8 inches after felting) that taught us the process of Nuno (which means cloth in Japanese) felting.

When we were comfortable with this we started laying out the pieces for our scarfs.
I was so busy I didn't take any photos of the process... beginning to end. Darn! I'm sorry I didn't. It would have been the best way to show you what each part entailed.
When the scarf was laid out and everything was in place, we wet the whole thing with soapy water, rolled it up and started the felting process... to MUSIC. Lorri had some good music to roll with.  FELT AND ROLL... FELT AND ROLL..
You do this for at least two songs before you stop, unroll it and check it to see if the wool is sticking to the fabric. If not, then you roll it back up and FELT AND ROLL SOME MORE.  It takes about six to eight songs  before you're done.... if you're lucky. You can use a timer or count to 1000 or some other creative way of passing the time, but good music would be my choice. If you have ITunes... Perfect.
You'll have good strong arm muscles if you do many of these scarfs.
When you get tired of rolling with you hands and arms, you can put the roll down on the floor, sit in a chair and roll with your feet.
I think this art is the answer for people who don't like to exercise other ways. This exercise also gives you a sense of accomplishment and produces something besides sweat. Well, you may sweat a little. You are going to have sore muscles but you'll have a lovely scarf in the end.
After the rolling.. there is the hot water in a bag and slapping the fabric around on  the table or floor. It's good for ridding yourself of pent up anger and  ugly feelings.
Then you rinse and towel dry.
Then you scrunch and roll until the fabric is all drawn together.
It's fun to watch what happens.
When your arms are ready to fall off, you're probably done.
Lorri had us throw the scarfs in the hotel dryer so they would be dry in time for dinner and knock every one's socks off.
Here are some  closeups of samples that Lorri brought... to inspire us.
Talk about Gypsy colors...
And using lots of lace.
I will have to try a scarf with lines of fabric like this on (on the left). I like the look.

Then we had to show off our finished scarves. These were done by the students in the class.
They are so varied and beautiful...

What a way to use up your scraps of fabric. If the fabric is silk, nylon, muslin or any fabric that you think is loose and open enough to felt through... it's usable.
I love this one. The student used lots of pieces of fabric and almost drew a picture with the pieces. She must be a painter.

And finally my completed scarf. Again, I didn't take a picture in the class so when I got home I staged my own photo shoot.
 Yes... Shades of Magnolia Pearl.
The ends of the scarf are lace curtains. Lorri recommended leaving them on the end and only felting them where they attached to the scarf. I really like this idea.
It's all lacy and open and... well... like Magnolia Pearl would make it.
Lorri modeled the scarf in the classroom and almost didn't give it back. I took this as a compliment.
What do you think? Pretty?
This is a close up of the main part so you can see how the felting shrinks but the fabric doesn't. When this happens the fabric gets pulled together and makes this new, interesting, textural  construction.
I asked my grandson to model the scarf when I stopped by on my way home.
He wanted to keep it. Somehow it didn't quite go with his tie dyed tea shirt. So...
I brought it home to the farm. Maybe I'll use it over a window. Can't you just see how beautiful it would be with the sun shining through it.
And maybe I'll wear it for the holidays.


Art Is... You Retreat  was a wonderful adventure and widen my artistic awareness.

I'm never going back to being passive and unmoved by life. It's just too much fun to get my hands dirty... to be excited about things.
Life is too short to stand at the edge of the pool. I finally want to learn how to swim... in the deep end.
What ever you do... do it with passion.
The word is PASSION...
and the color is any color you want.


  1. Your scarf is SO beautiful! I LOVE Magnolia Pearl stuff! And I am fascinated with the fact that you created it yourself. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. Thank you for sharing this post with us. Your scarf is just beautiful. As I said before you are very talented wish I was more like you. Have a blessed day.

  3. oh wow...the product is gorgeous...love the color and the textures...def would be nice worn or with the sun shining through...

  4. First off...love the bluebirds in your header. I just saw a bunch of them on my fence today after my walk. We never had them at the other house. It's wonderful to see them here. And that scarf is gorgeous! I wish that I had known about this class. I would have loved to have gone too. Wonderful!!

  5. I'm sure your scarf was the star of the class. It's beautiful!! I think I'd rather have it somewhere I could see it every day, rather than just wear it on special occasions! Clever girl!

  6. I've seen a lot of nuno-felted scarves but your's is stunning! You must be so proud of yourself!

    I'll have to add this to the list of things that I want to learn how to do...

  7. Gorgeous! I've got all the pieces to make a scarf here, but just can't seem to get it done. You are a great motivator!

  8. Breath taking! I'm stunned and at a loss for words!

  9. Gorgeous Farmlady just beautiful. You have waaaay more patience than I do, though I am taking a fabric dyeing class in November!

  10. Your scarf is gorgeous!! I am so excited to learn about this process that I'm going to do more research on it. Love the lacy ends...so very pretty indeed.

  11. //(*_~)\\ I am so proud of you. Your scarf is truly magnificent. You are an artist! I agree with Pauline, it should be somewhere where it can be seen - - - - - often. You mentioned possibly using it for a window treatment; what about in your darling new potting shed??? ~Dawn

  12. Your scarf is absolutely lovely! By all means display it in your home, but you must wear it often!

  13. Those scarves are so beautiful, even yours. I am in awe...

  14. Wow I love your scarf... The fabrics and colours are amazing..:O)

  15. It is a beautiful scarf and I love the addition of the lace curtains. The photo of your grandson is priceless. What a dear face he has. I recently put a fringed shawl my aunt knit for me years ago, on an entrance door window and I love that it lets in the light, but adds a curtain. A window treatment is a great idea, where it can be seen and you will be reminded of making it with such passion.

  16. I found my way here from a comment you left at lasfibers blog. I just HAD to know which student left it so have read much of your blog backwards to "this place" to find out. Your writing is very entertainiing and re-living the Petaluma class through your words was thrilling. Thank you for this.
    / Lorri's sister, Jan


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