Friday, June 3, 2016

First Few Handwork Classes

We are having a great time doing Handwork for Homeschoolers! The first few classes have been mainly focused on dyeing (both silk and wool) and felting (both wet and dry). We've dyed silk with iDye for natural fibers, dyed white wool felt with Kool-Aid powders, made wet felted soaps and felted eggs, and needle felted bunnies. And it has been a wonderful start to our summer!

My friend's daughter didn't understand wet felting at first and was impatient for it to be over because she couldn't feel the texture of the wool as it was changing and becoming felt. So in her initial experience, she couldn't see why it was taking so long and she rushed and ended up with holes in her finished piece. Which is exactly what happened to me when I first started wet felting! Which I shared with her. I really like felting a soap as a first project because it is simple, most people already have an extra bar of soap on hand so it's easy, and you don't need soapy water so one step is eliminated (the grating of your bar of Kiss My Face, my favorite for felting).

Then, I think felting around a raw egg is perfect because children intuitively understand that they need to go slowly and be gentle... it is a RAW EGG we are talking about here... and so they have a more successful experience. And they have a clearer idea of what the finished product will look and feel like. So it comes together in an a-ha moment.

I could tell she had had that a-ha because during of something she did during play time. (We play before handwork begins, plus we take breaks for play and snack between projects, so there's a rhythm of expansion and contraction. Handwork requires concentration and can be fatiguing.) She came in from the yard with three peony buds in different stages of openness. She carefully laid them down in front of me while she explained. The largest loosest fluffiest bud, she said, was the wool when you are first felting. It is very soft and loose and airy. The second bud, which was less open, she said reminded her of the wool when you are in the middle of felting and it is starting to lock together but isn't yet hard. And then the unopened bud was, she explained, like the finished felted product. It is tight and it is locked together and it is hard and it has shrunk.

Isn't that fantastic that she made that analogy? I was very pleased.

I cannot find my copy of one of my favorite picture books to accompany a Handwork lesson and I have searched everywhere. It's Red Berry Wool by Robyn Eversole. Luckily, 1) you can get used copies starting at a penny and 2) until it arrives I can tell the story myself because the reviews on Amazon are so detailed and give a step-by-step retelling of the plot. And this IS Waldorf, after all, so me telling the story orally is actually preferable. This lovely story will lead us into our first finger knitting lesson!

We used the Kool-Aid powders (unsweetened) to sprinkle over sheets of wet white wool felt and dye them beautiful tropical colors. From there, we will be cutting out fish shapes and sewing finger puppets. I found a few of my old blog posts from years ago about this very same project... blogs are so helpful when you want to remember the details of projects you did before.

Work! - Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blow Drying Wool Felt - Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm going to go ahead and put all my open windows in here so I can close them and finally restart my browser. This way I won't lose my tabs and if you want a recipe for homemade bathtub finger paint, or you're curious about the marvelous Russian Fairy Tale I recently found, and for which I am needle felting all the animals and people as my culminating Needle Felting project in my Waldorf teacher training, you can enjoy them too!

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