I just finished my piece for the Peace Felt 2010 event. The “V” hand signal and the white dove with an olive branch in it’s beak were the first two peace symbols that came to my mind after I decided to join the Peace Felt group. I put the two symbols together for a stronger impact. My piece was made with a combination of wet and needle felting techniques.
Peace or the lack of peace is something I think about almost every day here in Israel. I read about attempts at peace negotiations on the front page of the newspapers, I see how a lack of peace effects the economy here and I see how the lack of peace effects the social atmosphere around me.
Not only does Israel have peace issues to deal with but many refugees from war torn countries come to Israel seeking asylum. I see people looking for peace, looking for peaceful lives and peace of mind in ways many people take for granted. I’m not sure what my little felt sculpture can do to help make peace but perhaps it can be a small reminder of how important it is and that we should all strive for peace and try to influence our own governments to attain it.
Because of my interest in felting, I was doing some research on the topic of wool and it’s many uses and this was the first time I had read anything about a yurt. The Wikipedia definition is as follows: A yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. A yurt is more home-likethan a tent in shape and build, with thicker walls. They are popular amongst nomads. In Europe and America, different groups and individuals use yurts for a variety of purposes, from full-time housing to school rooms. In some provincial parks in Canada, and state parks in severalUS states, permanent yurts are available for camping. Continuing with my wool research, I found this video on You-Tube about Mongoalian felt making (using goat’s wool to make the felt for a yurt), which I found interesting: Mongolian Feltmaking.
We were visiting our friends, Bella and Yossi last weekend and imagine my delight when a found a yurt in their back yard. They ordered their yurt from a Mongolian yurt importer, with colors to their specifications (the Indian OM sign on the outside panels was also their request, as this would not be the norm for a Mongolian yurt). I walked into the yurt, expecting something rather rustic and was very surprised to find a quaint, modern- looking bedroom. There were hardwood floors, several pieces of furniture and lots of space. The screened-in hole in the ceiling lets in most of the light and helps with the airflow. There is a big front door and two small windows on the side with panes of glass. The door handle was my favorite part of the yurt, the metal handles were shaped into an ox on the outside and a lizard-horse? on the outside. The walls were layered, behind the inside wooden lattice structure was painted canvas, then a layer of insulation and wool and the outter layer was a water-proof canvas.
A traditional nomadic family would build a fire in the middle of the structure and the smoke would exit through the hole in the roof. Being inside the yurt felt like being in a play house to me.
It looked like fun, but why would someone go to all the trouble to import this yurt and assemble it themselves in the backyard of their lovely home (where they already have a nice bedroom)? I asked Bella “why” and she gave me this very poetic answer:
In a beautiful rainforest, close to Byron Bay, Australia, a beautiful wooden yurt was our home for many years
Living in our yurt was one of the happiest times of my life!
Living in a small space is very tribal, doing everything in the yurt, sleeping waking, cooking, eating and playing
Living in a yurt is being closer 2 nature, it’s so beautifully dark @ night looking @ the sky & the stars (& occasionally the moon) through the open top, feeling the fresh night air, hearing the sounds of nature outside, insects & birds & animals
Living in a round space is beautiful, i love the way the energy flows, it’s great having no walls, easy to heat in winter, cool in summer, such joy in living simply
Living in an organized manner as there is not much storage, hoarding is not encouraged, it’s also mostly a very affordable way 2 live, much less expensive than a regular home
After her answer, I’m wondering why more of us don’t have a yurt; it sounds like a mini-vacation in the backyard!
Getting around in downtown Chicago wasn’t very easy this year as Michigan Ave. and other streets were closed due to the shooting of the Transformers 3 movie. It was pretty wild seeing the “war zone” looking scenery and wreckage laid out all over Wacker Drive. Even though we didn’t stay in Chicago this summer as long as we usually do, I did manage to do one really interesting thing; I took a felting class with Deborah Pope, from the blog site Altered Threads. I’ve been following Deborah’s blog for a while now and I’ve always admired her felted dolls. What luck that she was in Chicago with the NIADA doll conference at the same time I was! I thought that I was signing up at the NIADA doll conference to take a needle felting class, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she doesn’t needle felt, she wet felts and is able to make these amazing dolls with the wet felt technique. I’d never wet felted before, so I learned the basics of wet felting and a few little tricks in the two classes that I took. Some really nice ladies from all over the United States and I each made our own adorable fish in the Dream Fish class and a tiny hat in the Haute Chapeaux class. As a patient and friendly instructor, I’d highly recommend taking a class from Deborah; I thought she was a great teacher.
This rabbit is my favorite of Deborah’s dolls. She hand painted his eyes and meticulously sewed his clothes and shoes….and she made the chair he’s sitting in. I’m now thinking about how I can use my new found information and how I can combine needle felting and wet felting to make something unique!