Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Storytelling Carpet

  We had a fantastic workshop on Sunday at Serenity Cove Children's Centre. Such a beautiful setting in the Cowichan Valley, right on Shawnigan Lake. Lucky children who get to come to such a beautiful place, and spend time with our beautiful host, Ocean! Such a calm and grounding force she must be! 
  We started the morning talking about storytelling and ways to use the storytelling carpet, then made a small needlefelted doll to be the first character.
After a delicious potluck lunch (aren't they always the best?!) , we started laying out our felt carpets.
 It is always so amazing to see what people make.  Each person draws on their individual experiences to bring something of themselves into their work. It is important that the storytelling carpet reflects the storyteller. We need to truly believe and live into our stories, and having a personalized felt carpet helps to inspire such stories.
 Every carpet contains pockets and nooks- homes for the characters to live within. Safe places for the characters to always return to.
 Many people who take my classes are first time feltmakers. They are often amazed at how the wool changes from great fluffy clouds, to flat, firm, dense mats. And at the amount of physical work involved! All that density comes from our own physical efforts,  another aspect of the personal nature of these felt carpets- they not only hold our stories, but also our physical energy, and imaginations!

  This is Catherine's finished mat- still wet. The pockets have not yet been pulled out into their three dimensional form.There are little homes formed in the tree tops, in the tree trunks, and down in the grassy meadow.  Isn't it just the most inviting natural setting? The colour blending is beautiful!
 Our class ran overtime (as it often does!), and I plan to make some changes to this class, in order to deal with this. Class participants are often getting tired towards the end of class (understandably!), at a time we need to have the most physical energy. I think I'll change the format to a full day class with storytelling and layout of the felt carpet in the morning, and then just felting in the afternoon. The figures we can make in a separate class. In this way we'll finish our carpets with time and energy to spare, and can make more dolls and figures at a separate time, and enjoy the peacefulness of that activity in it's own right!
 Kathy's finished mat is so lively. There is already so much movement and activity. The top of the waterfall features a curtain veil that puppets can creep behind. Behind that veil, they will find a magical cave created in pinks and purples and browns. So secret, we can't even tell it is there when we look at the felted carpet.
There are also pocket homes in the roots of the big fir tree, in the rocky outcropping, in the oak, in the water fall itself ( ideal as a resting places for salmon!), and a three dimensional bridge that will all come to life when Kathy lifts them to dry.
  I wish I had some more finished pictures to show you-They are all unique and wonderful!
 It was a very long day, and a very full one- full of talented and creative women, good food, meeting, chatting, learning, sharing and making. It doesn't get much better than that!
Thank you to everyone who came- It was such an enjoyable and inspiring day!
Warm wishes, 

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