rotraud

    Once upon a time...
 ... back in 1989. There was this cap, an odd-looking brown and white cap. My sister-in-law had felted it out of uncombed sheep wool and had given it to my husband. He wore it all the time. People turned around and stared, it was far too conspicuous for my liking. I thought it should be possible to make a more beautiful one. So my sister-in-law and I felted a brown “Sunday best” hat. From then on the cap was just used for outside work. I felted another hat for myself and one for my oldest daughter – rose coloured with purple dots. The wool I bought at a weaver, who also offered combed wool batting to spin. Without this wool my felting career would have come to an abrupt end with a second odd cap. However this wool felted well, although all I knew was that wool and water with soft soap felts under friction.
       
 IMG 1742   I neglected spinning, knitting, weaving, and sewing. I was completely consumed by felting. I found I could make anything out of wool that was usually made out of other textiles: hats, baby shoes, slippers, balls, pictures… and suddenly a felted dwarf materialised from the wool and another one, until there were seven. After that a beautiful black-haired Snow White appeared and I had discovered the felted figure. My first dwarfs were felted around a wire, but I soon realised, that it works perfectly well without. A teddy was then born completely made from wool.
     
 Image 0182   So how does it work? Many pieces and layers of wool are attached to a basic shape and sprinkled with water. When the basic shape is ready, the felting begins. The final shape and the expression are modelled while felting. It is fascinating, how long and easy the form of the figures can be changed. Any colour can be used and every imaginable shape can be created: from fine to coarse, from tiny to big, from lifelike to fantastic.
     
 IMG 8527   A small felting workshop developed in the middle of our house over time. While my daughters played and chattered around me, I felted animals and fairy tale figures. I decided to make felting my profession: In 1991 I registered the workshop as a business. To begin with it just gave me a little extra money, but slowly it started bringing in a good income. This work made it possible for me to be at home with my children and to arrange my time myself. I sold the figures at several craft markets.
     
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Our pets were perfect models for felting cats and dogs.

  

     
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Thousand of animals and figures were born in my workshop over the years. At the beginning of my felting career, this ancient craft was rarely seen in central Europe. Nowadays felting is much more widely known.

  

     
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I started to offer felting courses in parallel with my making and that is now my main focus. It is great to see how satisfying and pleasant it is when people experience how felted figures are created from a basic shape to “living” animals or creatures. I really enjoy teaching interested people how to felt animals and figures. 

     
 bauernhoftitel   After running many courses I started to think about publishing a book. My first book "Filzen von Tieren und Figuren" (Felt Animals and Figures) was published in 2001. The second one “Filzen von Tieren aus aller Welt“ (Felt Animals of the World) followed 2004. “Eisbär, Pinguin und Co” (Polarbear, Penguin and Co) was published in 2007. The latest book "Auf dem Bauernhof, Filzen für die ganze Familie" is now translated into English entitled “A Felt Farm”. It has felting instructions showing how to make each of the animals and objects. The second part is a beautifully illustrated picture book with a little story to read with your children.