Norma Bradley's Gallery
Mountains to Sea: Hand dyed, hand felted wool mounted and framed ready for installing in your home or office.
About this Gallery
Working with hand dyed felted wool allows me to enter into a process which connects me to a long history as well as the animals and their keepers who provide the wool. The complexity and simplicity of the process is fascinating to me. I like inventing and experimenting with new techniques to provide new forms and textures. The physical involvement of this process engages me. There is something to discover with each new piece. Each piece is developed intuitively responding to the colors, tactile qualities, textures and rhythms that unfold as well as my personal history.
Techniques I used to make felt:
I am currently working with two methods: traditional wet felting dating to prehistory and a dry method which has evolved in the twentieth century.
Wet felt is produced by placing many layers of wool fleece in alternate directions and covering it to prevent the fibers from shifting. Hot water and soap is slowly added. Rubbing and beating follows until the wood fibers mat together. After a significant amount of time of rubbing and beating in the hot water, the fleece begins to emerge as a piece of wool fabric. This is an exciting time as I get to witness my color and texture selection, appear in the textile that has emerged. Because the process is determined by the innate qualities of the wool fiber, it is difficult to control the finished image. This is when the imagination takes over and the piece takes form either for a wall piece or free standing sculpture. A variety of surface techniques and three dimensional forms get applied with needle and thread as well as dry needle felting.
Dry felting or needle felt is the process by which one uses a needle and loose fibers to create a solid form. A needle or several needles are punched into the loose fleece hundreds of times compacting and connecting the fibers until a mass becomes more solid and the desired form is created. With this technique I can control both the color and form of the finished piece.