As bits of green are peaking through dormant grasses and Snowdrops appear in unexpected places, a few Robins pass through eating left over berries in the hedge....the first whisperings of Spring cheer our hearts and minds...
These times are inspiring and a good time to make things while it is still cold and Winter has not left but we are filled with anticipation of the changing seasons. The play mat I have just finished was made with the momentum of Spring thoughts, and childhood memories of playing out of doors in woodland meadows and our large heavily planted yard with ponds.
This play mat has more three dimensional things, the mossy tree stump, the mushrooms, two ponds, than any other I have made. The pond water is home dyed silk and the thick felt mat base and most of the wool parts are also home dyed, giving this mat a harmony and richness that is unique.
Making felt play mats, for me, is like painting with wool. I feel it is not unlike impressionistic art where the flow of color creates forms and impressions of objects. It is relaxing and fun work. It does take some time, some parts I glue and then sew, and then use the large felting needles for initial application of wool and prefelt and then go back with finer needles to complete the integration.
In the beginning, I gather the materials I want to use and sometimes use kind of lay them out on the wool felt base. Ideas usually come along as this process progresses. I also draw on my own memories of spending time in mossy forests and woods and the sense of beauty and awe with the things I saw, wild sweet violets, forget-me-nots, glorious moss and toad stools, etc.
As these things come together, the final magic is bringing in the wee folk and playing Make -Believe, but then , who is to say this is not very real ?!
Another lovely dimension is to add a home to the mat or homes. This brings the focus of Play Mat play to a new level and all the more fun!
In the near future, I hope to do a Felt Play Mat tutorial to add to Willodel pages. I encourage others to do such projects as they are fun, satisfying and an especially wonderful way to inspire and encourage the imaginations of our children as they play.