Laying the wool in small, equal tufts is a long but important task: the consistency of the fabric is dependant on this stage. To me, this is the least exciting step because it requires a lot of attention as well as some stamina: a size 70 garment takes up at least a couple of work-tables, which means that to be able to reach the center of the pattern, I have to climb on the tables and nimbly complete the job!
After dampening and soaping up the whole lot, the hard work begins! Working the carded wool requires a repetitive movement that becomes a moment of meditation in which thoughts flow from one topic to another. This is the phase of "the interior monologue" of felting when the mind is lost in thousands of different thoughts - intimate moments that often lead to a deep inner peace.
Once the wool begins to felt, turning into fabric, I begin to feel a subtle motion under my hands: the meditative moment is interrupted and the wool - almost forcefully – demands my attention: the dialogue and the challenge have started. The wool wants to be massaged, to be rolled and even beaten hard on the table to tie its fibers together. When I beat it, I usually visualise the tax clerk or the owner of that car that usually parks in front of my driveway: and the whole process becomes liberating!
Now it’s measuring time: this is the moment when each movement becomes important to control the material. I must measure the power and the amount of motion and stroke the wool to work out the details.
With a mannequin at hand I move on to the final touches. Indeed, the work is over and, tired but happy my soul has found a moment of peace.
- Laura Zuliani -
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