Fabricating Frosty in felt form

January 17, 2024

Sharon DeJong, mentor Corlene Holmquist, Jan Gooding, Jodee Melsey, Shelley Blocher, Marilyn Thoresen, and Stephanie Emms.  

Fabricating Frosty in felt form

By Ron Beeber, Contributing Writer

PENTWATER — Although our area is just digging out from this winter’s first significant snowfall, some folks in Pentwater were making snowmen weeks ago when there was no snow. How? They are members of the Pentwater Artisan Learning Center who attended a felted snowman class taught by fellow member Corlene Holmquist of Cadillac. 

Holmquist instructed the simple, yet versatile handicraft technique of needle felting. It involves repeatedly stabbing a barbed needle into wool to tangle the fibers, resulting in felting. With just a few tools, one can make eye-catching felt creations that can be either simple or ambitious.  Holmquist chose to have the six students learn the technique by making snowmen figures.  

“I’m pretty much self-taught,” she said, “and have been doing this for a couple of years.” But it was a new craft for her students to learn. “They each received a kit, and selected materials and colors from it to fashion their own needle-felted snowman.”  

When someone thinks of a felt object, it’s often a favorite hat in the closet. Or, they recall a parent or grandparent who wore one. The felt that’s most familiar to everyone is made by first rolling and pressing wool or another suitable textile, and then applying moisture or heat. This causes the fibers to mat together, creating a smooth, cloth-like surface that can be formed into something like a hat.  

“Learning something new like this, in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual support, is what our artisan center is all about,” said Barb Davidson who co-founded the PALC 22 years ago with her late husband, Gene. The center’s goal to attract contributions to purchase, repair and replace needed equipment just passed the $150,000 mark. For more information, visit pentwaterartisan.org.  

 

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