York Felters – paper-making heaven

What looks like scribbles...

I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a local textiles group to join and lo and behold, one of my new Twitter friends mentioned that one was forming in York. Off I trotted and met a wonderful and diverse group of fellow felters while we made silk paper. It’s been a while since I have been able to go out and feel so confident in not only someone else’s home but with people I’d met for the first time. I fully appreciated that I am truly doing what I love and that any vestiges of illness have gone. Hurrah!

is in fact silk paper.

The process of silk-paper making is so much less labour intensive than felting, but one of the techniques was pretty messy (it was the way I did it anyway). Over thick newspaper we laid out silk fibres on a square of net and then laid a second layer at right angles. A second piece of net was put over it to make a sandwich and the whole was damped lightly. The best bit was squooshing thin wallpaper paste (about the consistency of single cream) with a big brush into the sandwich on both sides. This was put to one side to dry off.

The other method was much cleaner, but strangely I found it less satisfying. There must be something I enjoy about being messy…(no comments from those who know me). The silk fibres were laid down on baking parchment as in the technique above, and was sprayed with spray starch before covering with another sheet of parchment to make the sandwich. This was then ironed until dry when the parchment was peeled away to reveal the paper.

The translucence is something to be worked with.

Looking at the two pieces of paper on the day I was far happier with the effect of the first – just from a textural point of view as it is so translucent. Unfortunately, I have mislaid the second piece so cannot show you the contrast.

With the paper put to the light it began to show me where I could go with it. I have a large felt piece I’ve been working towards with sketchbook work and samples, and I have a suspicion it may be more suited to being made in silk paper rather than felt, just because it is so sheer and maybe easier to work into gradually to build up the layers to create the effect I’m after. I now have supplies so can begin to play with it properly. I hope to continue with this alongside the felt samples I’m making.

Crafter Deborah and her paper (note the wonderful felted earrings and necklace...)

If anyone is holding back from joining a group of fellow enthusiasts (and this applies to any area) because you feel awkward or think you’re not good enough, if you are able to put those thoughts to one side and just go along, you may surprise yourself. You may also make some wonderful friends or at least have regular play days to enjoy. I’m certainly looking forward to our monthly felting sessions and swapping ideas and woolly talk!

Is such fun legal?

4 thoughts on “York Felters – paper-making heaven

  1. Oh, what a coincidence. I am York too and I just found your ‘How to make felt balls’ on pinterest. I have never worked with felt at all, I am a quilter, crafter and painter, but I loved the video so much I invested in some merino wool to try it myself. I would love to join a local craft group, where can I find the York group you mentioned? Is there a website?

  2. Hi Rachel – I live in Vancouver Canada and I want to find a source of the gorgeous colours of Merino wool that you use in the felting wool balls video – if I want to order on-line how do I describe the product (in particular the wonderful colours) or if you know where I can order please let me know Many Thanks, Peg

    1. You can either Google “merino rovings” or “felting supplies” for your area, or, if you wait for a short time, I will be posting up links to felt ball kits that you can buy from me.

      The colours are rather fine aren’t they!

      Rachael

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