I know that I always start these posts with things like “what an awesome day,” “what a great experience,” “how magical it is to be part of this work,” but you know…. There is no other way to describe it.
The work is not about “felting” it is not about “craft” it is about community. Every time I have the opportunity to sit with people – often complete strangers and let the day move on, the underlying events of the day are the same. People getting to know people, meeting others, catching up with friends, stopping our busy lives for a moment and breathing, engaging in a process that becomes quite meditative. At times, yes, the felting process challenges people that expect total control over their work. But with the felting of the spheres, if you pick, pull and fiddle you will get a mess, these people have had to learn to stop, relax and have faith that the piece they are working on will come together. It may all look like it will fall apart (that is when people want to fix, fiddle and play) but if they stop, have faith and keep working it will come together.
I asked my son today why he did not want to make one; his younger sister has made many. It was when we were discussing this over lunch that I realised that I had not explained to him properly my intent with this work. He thought it was just trying to make as many felt spheres as we could! That maybe we were trying to go for some sort of Guinness record! That the conversations the adults had were not interesting! (He is a young boy). So over lunch we discussed the work and my intentions. Well these are very deep and varied, but the condensed version is….
We all do live under the same sun – within that sentence alone are so many bigger issues that can be discussed. I explained to him that we live in a community and within the community are other communities and this work is a way of linking the communities. That the work and the contributors are documented on this blog and the work will get bigger, it will travel, that there will probably be other versions of this work around the world as well – who knows what will happen? (How exciting!) That within this art work young people, children, non-artists, crafts people, and professional artists are all working together to create an artwork that celebrates community, communication and life. How often does that happen?
Then there is the process, this work lets you work in solitude and in the company of old friends and to meet new friends, to stop and help the person beside you, it is a leveller, there is no teacher in this work, we all learn from each other. We would rarely – if ever stop and talk to a complete stranger, but during these casual session people are, strangers sitting beside each other and some times even sharing intimate stories.
My son started to get what it was all about, that it is not just people drinking tea and coffee making felt balls! That the work and the fact that it is a skill that most people can successfully achieve is about inclusion, it is a celebration of community, it is about being involved and sharing stories, learning from each other.
Later during the day some of his mates popped in, they stopped, sat round a table, made a sphere each and chatted – just like the adults had been doing earlier in the day.
Today has been another perfect day.
There were new felters and the fantastic group of repeat offenders. There were people that have finally weakened to my nagging, plus some generous people that will be taking the skills they learnt today back to their communities to create even more spheres to add to the collection.
Today amongst much laughter and meeting of new and familiar faces we made over 60 cream felt spheres.
The total now is over 800 – I think we have about 816 now taking over our back bedroom.
it was a great experience to sit with other wonderful women and just chat. Something that we should do more of.
it feels really good to be involved in a brilliant project, even if it was only a small involvement.
its so refreshing to meet an artist who wants to take art to the people, through participating in the creation process and share the joy of creativity world wide.
My first time at a casual felting session, its so relaxing to participate with other people who are very artistic and creative.
A most creative way to exercise your biceps. Great way to fill in an afternoon.