Our teacher for the Mongolian Felting workshop was B. Erdenetsetseg, an assistant professor at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and a member of the International Feltmakers Association. She has authored many books, and her work has been shown in England, China and Norway. She flew fourteen hours from Mongolia to be with us.
The closest I came to correctly saying her name was something that sounded like "Errta," where the double "r" seemed as though it were rolled, like the "rr" in Spanish. (I probably still do not have it correct--my apologies.) Since she did not speak English, a wonderful young man, Eric, from the Denver area, served as translator. He is a native of Mongolia and studying at one of the universities. Although Errta did not speak English, her delightful sense of humor and her unceasing encouragement transcended the language barrier. She was a terrific instructor.
The Mongolian Felting class participants were as fascinating as the class itself. Many of the fifteen members were professional artists, earning money from their felted hats, rugs, etc. Also, many participants keep sheep, alpacas or llamas, and so have access to plenty of wool for their art.
Mongolians not only make yurts out of felt, but almost every garment as well, including hats, coats, slippers and shoes, purses, etc.
The first step in this felting process is tearing pieces of roving into neat rows, and placing these rows into whatever shape your end product should be. Then a second layer is created by placing more roving onto the first layer, but this time, into columns. Then another row is placed, and another column, etc., until you have enough layers for your particular project. Roving is wool that has been cleaned up (carded) and is ready to be felted, or spun into thread for weaving or knitting, etc. Here Errta demonstrates:
Notice the gray and cream rolls of roving in the foreground, and that Errta has a piece of roving around her neck that she is rapidly tearing. The gentleman in the background is wearing a hat that he felted.
Here is the work of a classmate who felts alpaca hats professionally. She chose to use cream and pink, and has made six layers. She will be making the wine bottle holder shown behind her work. Note how perfectly she placed her roving, with no discernible thin or thick spots:
I chose emerald green, and also had six layers. You can see the roving next to my project. This is my first felting project, so my work isn't as fine as the work in the photo above.
MORE TO COME