In 2006 Dutch artist, teacher and art therapist Irene van der Wolf discovered a new but simple way of creating interesting design and texture in felt. She named this technique Upwolfing.
By poking wool through a foam mat with holes in it and adding a base of wool or fabric, wonderful sculptures and wearable art may be created, even by total beginners. For those with previous felting experience the possibilities are endless, the more experience one has the more one realises that these mats have endless applications! Once the design is laid out Irene actually uses a tumble dryer to do the felting. I’ve experimented with this method myself using the small Upwolfing mat and also felting by hand, both worked perfectly. I used the dryer to felt the sample shown here, it’s a combination of merino, mohair, alpaca locks and wool neps. The tumble dryer method is incredibly fast and puts no strain on ones body, very helpful for those who find felting physically demanding. Depending on the piece being created, using the dryer can actually replace all of the traditional rubbing and rolling.
All preparations of wool are perfect for Upwolfing. I’ve experimented with a mixture of roving, batts, raw fleece, hand made prefelt and commercial needlefelt, each was successful although batts were not the easiest. I’ve also incorporated silk fabric, knitted mohair and mohair knitting yarn into some of my pieces.
Irene’s whole philosophy revolves around there being no mistakes and opening up the mind to learn through play and experimentation. It’s a concept that I absolutely love and I’m very excited to offer a selection of Upwolfing tools to fire your imagination. Irene also has a series of videos (in Dutch but a couple have English subtitles) and these are very handy to see how she creates certain effects. Here is the link to the relevant page on her website. I’m also offering her latest book, the first to be available in English as well as German and Dutch. Over the course of 2018 I’ll be facilitating Upwolfing workshops at Clasheen so keep an eye out if you’re interested in attending! If you’d like to join my workshop mailing list please click this link.
NB Please note that the price for all the Upwolfing products that I offer includes P&P to both Ireland or NI. If you live anywhere else I am very happy to price postage for you but note that the further away you live the more expensive this may become. Because of the rural location in which I live and the distance from the post office I will try and dispatch orders as soon as possible but please note that it may be a few days before I get to town. Thanks!