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Feltmaking is possibly the oldest textile craft. It was developed by the same steppe nomads who first domesticated fiber-producing animals. In imperial Turkey and Iran, state-sponsored guilds professionalized feltmaking and led to a sophistication of the craft unparalleled by other Central Asian cultures. Feltmaking is hard, physical work, utilizing every part of the body. It is also a rhythmic and meditative practice that can be incredibly rewarding and even therapeutic. In this 5-day workshop students will make their own thick, fully functional felt area rug. The rug will be intricately patterned with geometric designs in the various natural colors of undyed wool. Students will make their own prefelt and learn to “kick” the felt, with a dance-like rhythm that can be sustained for days on end. Jo will introduce a traditional no-waste design approach and guide students with improvisational composition. The majority of the workshop will take place on the floor, but the final day will be spent hand finishing the rug on a tabletop. Throughout the workshop Jo will discuss wool processing and purchasing, as well rug care and cleaning instructions. All experience levels are welcome, and no prior felt making experience is necessary to participate. However a strong body is required to do this work. Jo suggests preparing for the workshop by doing wrist strengthening exercises such as high planks, push-ups, downward dog etc.

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