How Are the Garments Made?
I start with raw alpaca fiber. The fiber is cleaned, combed and hand dyed to make a palette of colors to work from. It is laid out on silk or alpaca felt to create the design. The work is massaged in a way that lets the fibers join together and does not disturb the design. Gently rubbing over a textured surface or a rolled sandwich of bubble wrap, firms the felt and makes it a new stable fabric. The process is simple, time consuming and the possibilities are absolutely endless! I feel that I have just scratched the surface.
The Felting Process
Each wool fiber has a microscopic covering of scales along its shaft. The scales open up and entangle with one another, forming a strong and permanent link when they are exposed to the combination of heat, the alkali found in soap, warm water and friction. The alkali in the soap assists the wool to absorb water, causing the fibers to swell and the scales on the fibers to open up and interlock with one another. An alternative felting method is to repeatedly penetrate the fibers with barbed needles causing them to entangle together. The two processes can, and are, often combined together resulting in exquisite results. Using both traditional and modern felt making techniques, wool fiber is magically transformed into distinct, wearable, artistic, statement garments and home decor.