Adelaide has been creating a flurry of needle felted projects lately. Well, she's been doing that for years, really, but in the past few months a renewed and energized passion has emerged and her technique is getting more refined and the finished objects more solid. She's decided, after much discussion, to take part in a kids art show/sale later this year. The discussion coming mostly from us, as she articulately and perfectly defended her hope and wishes to be in an art fair. We were worried about all the things that parents of ten year old artists worry about, I suppose. What will it feel like if your things don't sell? What about making art for the sake of making art and not worrying - at the sweet age of just ten - about putting a price on what you make? Each question she answered with such maturity and insight. She'll be fine, we have no doubt now. She's ready. (Though her preference, honestly, is to give everything she makes away....and something close to that might just be what she does! I'm excited to see how this all evolves.)
She has plenty of ideas and things she's made in the past that she thinks will be just right for such a craft sale, and hot on the heels of quite a few Waldorf school fairs and handmade holiday sales, a lot of new things she wants to try too. The baskets are filling and piling up around her in her bedroom/studio (the floor of which most certainly resembles a fiber studio these days!) - bundles of felted fruits and vegetables, rattles, ornaments, dryer balls, felt art, and so much more. She doesn't stop. And she claims that everything she's made so far is just practice - she wants to keep tweaking it all.
One big part of the exploration for her lately has been the abundance of roving in our home. I think for the first two years of our fleece coming in, we were a little bit protective of it all! Wanting to save it for just the right thing, or making sure that it was put to good, honorable use. But something shifted last year, and both she and I started to give ourselves more permission for play and experimentation with it all. That freedom really was a bit of weight lifted, and an acknowledgment that experimentation is just as precious - maybe more so - than perfect. And, well, it's fun.
We are blessed with a wide variety of color in the sheep in our pasture. Oh, those sweet Shetlands and their colors! But most of all, there is lots and lots of white. White which can be any color we decide it to be! How fun is that? We've done some natural dyeing here and there - more in the summertime - but she was requesting some serious pops of color for her projects."Mom, I cannot make a felted banana the color of red onion skin dyed wool." Right. I ordered some Jacquard acid-dye (though I got a little bit of this for the next round to try out) and we got to work this weekend, taking up the better part of a day playing with roving and dye and needles. We followed, generally, the instructions here for the dye we used, and were so happy with the results, though there were a few surprises (like the "olive" that ended up coming out the very same brown that we have from our brown sheep!).
As we worked, we had the company of Harper and Annabel at the kitchen table with us - each happily immersed in their own needle felting projects. It looks like Adelaide might just have some happy felting elves she can put to work.