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!
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.
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.
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?