Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 45

fibers like wool or other animal fibers together to create a
solid piece of cloth. There are two types of felting: wet and
dry. With dry needle felting, the artist can use a rove - a
er slim fingers deftly work, punching the barbed
long piece of wool which has been cleaned or carded -
needle quickly into the wool fibers. One hand feeds
and poke it into another woolen surface. Special barbed
a cloud of the natural fiber in front of the darting
felting needles, that have no eyes or thread, help the fibers
tool. Magically, the gentle curve of a lady's face
weave together. Wool is
begins to appear.
the most common fiber
	 " This is really an
used in needle felting,
art anyone can jump
but any natural fiber or
into without experience
animal fur can be used.
and come away with
According to Elizabeth,
something they enjoyed
many people have accreating, " says artist
cidently made this wet
Elizabeth Exley. " It's
felting by mistake when
very forgiving and also
they machine washed a
therapeutic. "
wool sweater.
	 Her woolen creations
" The sweater has
garnered the Crane
usually shrunk a size or
native a highly soughttwo after washing, " she
after spot as a juried
says, noting that it's
Best of Missouri Hands
impossible to reverse
artist. Her unique
the mishap. " Hot water
woolen wonders can be
and soap agitates the
found under the name
wool fibers. The more
Gingham Trundle on
agitation the tighter the
Etsy and Instagram.
fabric becomes. "
	 With a background
That theory is how
in public and mental
felting works in genhealth, Elizabeth's
eral. Wool fibers have
experience includes
a structure similar
working in Papua New
to scales, so when
Guinea and East Asia
other pieces of wool are
assisting with AIDS
needled or poked into
projects. Little did she
another piece of wool,
know her work would
the scale-like attribute
eventually bring her
allows the fibers to stick
back home to rural
together.
Missouri, where she
After making items
could assist her mother
for family and friends,
with the care of her
Elizabeth decided to
father, a war veteran
take her handmade
now battling his own
items to a small art
mind and body.
show. Later she sent
	 To keep her own
samples to be juried
mind busy, Elizabeth
for Best of Missouri
began working on variHands. 	
ous art projects.
Previous page: One of artist Elizabeth Exley's needle felted wool creations.
" Being accepted by
	 She had seen a
This one is based on one of the artist's favorite scriptures. Above: Elizabeth says
them gave me confiunique set of wool
needle felting is a portable art. Few tools besides wool are needed to begin.
dence in myself and my
dolls used as part of a
art, " says the artist. She then applied to enter the juried
home-school program. The dolls didn't have faces, which
Springfield Arts Fair and was accepted.
intrigued Elizabeth. The artist was drawn toward the fact
	 " That's about when I realized I could probably do this
that children would need to use their imagination when
and create some extra income, " says Elizabeth, " but that
playing.
was early in 2020 and then COVID took everything over. "
	 " They were simple yet beautiful and I decided to try to
	 Without shows, Elizabeth was busy creating needle
make one, " says the Ozark Electric Cooperative member.
felted items like wall art, small dolls and 3D animals with
" After making one, I thought they would also be great as a
only social media to showcase her work for sale. But then
set of dolls, so I made a smaller set. Children love making
she realized she was doing something a lot of people didn't
up stories. "
know how to do and might want to learn. That's when she
	 Needle felting is said to be one of the oldest textile arts,
began teaching online classes.
with origins dating back as far as 6200 B.C. The term " felt	 " I wanted to keep the classes fairly small, and the goal
ing " includes separating, tightening and pressing natural
by Heather Berry | hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

H

JUNE 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

45


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 8
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 45
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover4
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