Since finally reunited with the family back in Italy, I had the luxury of reminiscing the beginning of your journey and remembering how my mom started learning about felting. She shared her story with disbelief that I didn’t remember every single detail of that famous day, but also with a lot of enthusiasm of reliving her feelings of those days, more than seven years ago.
I wanted to share her story with you, with the hope to inspire you to follow your dreams and hobbies, which even if they remain as such, will always give you what you need at the right time in your life.
Here it is:
“Mi ritengo una persona fatalista e curiosa” - I consider myself a fatalist and curious person. These two characteristics made me discover felting and fall in love with this ancient technique, which I consider a true form of art.
Around seven years ago, while at the beach in Italy, I ran into an old colleague from my early teaching years, who I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. She was, at that point, already retired and started sharing with me her hobby with such enthusiasm to catch my attention and wanting to know more. She had found her passion in felting, and I must admit that at that time my knowledge of felting was limited to the industrial felt you use to make elementary school art projects. When she started explaining that crafted felt was created using wool and the simple ingredients of hot water and soap, it was an incredible revelation for me. The more she was trying to explain the felting process, the more incomprehensible and unlikely was to me the idea to then create dresses, hats, handbags, scarves etc. using that same technique she was describing.
My facial expression of utter confusion probably gave my thoughts away, until my friend insisted I attend one of her felting courses that she was offering in her studio the following day. Again – I won’t lie to you, but I wasn’t a fan of the idea of sacrificing a day of sun and beach time with family, therefore I gave her a vague answer and told her I would stop by only in case of rain. You can probably guess what comes next; against all odds, the following day it was raining and thunder storming! I accepted to take the course…. then and there a whole new world opened up.
“Il Feltro mi ha subito conquistata.” - Felting immediately impressed me. We started working intensely for two days and created a flower and a handbag…. And a ridiculous back pain!!
What fascinates me the most about felting is the surprise of the results, which are never predictable. No matter how much you try to coordinate the colors and position the silks, the final product is always surprising. In the past, I’ve worked with several arts, ceramics, decoupage, jewelry, but none are comparable to the unpredictable handwork of felting and painting with natural wool and fabrics. They seem to have a life of their own, and that is precisely why our pieces are unique and unrepeatable.
After that course, I became one with the art of felting. Unfortunately, I was still teaching at the time, therefore time was always limited and I would create a piece here and there, just as a hobby. I promised myself however, that I would have dedicated “anima e corpo”, body and spirit, to it once retired. My plan went to fruition and as soon as I retired I attended more courses, refined and personalized my technique, and experimented with different methodologies. Once in Rochester, NY thanks to the help of my daughter Jasmin and my husband Gary, we transformed a hobby into Feltro Fashion.