My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NIV)
In Asheville, we went to the Woolworth Gallery. It is a co-op where artists rent small booths and sell their work. I fell in love with the place because it is in an old Woolworth’s Five and Dime store. The soda fountain was still intact and serving food and drinks. It was a great concept for adaptive reuse of an historic building, and the art was wonderful, too. There was everything from glass to painting to fabric and textiles to pottery and photography. One artist had a display of felting. You can see her work here http://www.christinaserra.com/ on her website. As you can imagine Vicki and I were impressed with her work. I particularly found the horse wall hangings enchanting. Vicki kept nudging me, “You could do that.” Hmm. Maybe I could. So, as soon as possible after I came home, I bought a larger piece of foam in order to lay out a bigger piece of wool and set to work. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. After my first attempt, I made the mistake of looking at the artist’s website again. My felting looked like a kindergartner’s crayon drawings compared to hers. I reworked my design and I was encouraged, but I still had a problem. My needles were leaving holes in the wool so the finished piece looked poke-a-dotted. “Vicki!” I whined in an e-mail. She kindly responded with enthusiasm, but suggested I try smaller needles and coarser wool. It seems fine merino wool and great big needles don’t mix. She said I have a “great learning curve.” Yes, I guess I do. I get in there and make things without having the faintest idea of the intricacies of the craft. I had all those different needles. Wonder what the little ones are for? And why so many varieties of wool? Now, I know. Today, Vicki joined me to demonstrate felting at one of our historic sites. While she wrestled with wet felting a bowl in temperature not conducive to wool binding together, I sat and needle felted my wall hanging this time using coarser wool and smaller needles. I had already done the background of the mountains and grass, so added the horses in the foreground. It still needs some work and embellishment, but I have a good start. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon, relaxed and unrushed with time to be creative and a good friend willing to share her talent and ample supplies of wool. I wonder which is better? Not to be afraid to try something and move into a new situation or being cautious and studying a situation. To wait until you know how to do something well before you begin? The answer lies in balance and in listening. To the advice of friends, but mostly to the Voice of God. In our everyday life, sometimes, He calls us to jump and sometimes He calls us to stay still. Listening, just like felting, is something we just have to practice.