Monday, March 21, 2016

How Humidity & Heat affect your nuno felting processes

It's that time of year again and it's even more relevant to me since I recently MOVED (oh yes, again) to a town that has high summer temps and very low humidity about 6 months of the year.

Many of us, especially in California, live in homes and apartments that don't have central heating and air conditioning so the condition of our environments can have a critical impact on our ability to do felting and nuno felting.

A few of the problems - your fibers dry out and pull away from the fabric throughout the process OR your fibers and fabrics give off so much static electricity that you can't get anything to stay in place!

I am generally referring to temps above 80 and humidity at 40% and below.  The dry heat in the air combined with extremely low humidity means that, if you make a few adjustments to how you work, you can get around these conditions.

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time and have both books, you know something about my nuno felting process.  I have made HUGE CHANGES based on my environment over the past year.  I continue to make adjustments as needed but the final result is that it now takes from 30-50% more time to complete any nuno felting project because I need to add many more steps to the process.

More details are coming but these are the major changes:
1.  use 30% more soapy water to wet down my project (using the essential weed sprayer)
2.  use the Palm Washboards (round and edger) on top of my window screen covered wet project before turning it over to lay fibers on the other side
3.  do the same with the Palm Washboards on the other side (screens still on top)
4.  spend 30-40% more time on the hands-rubbing process that always ends with using the Palm Washboards (this is on top of soapy wet plastic that encases the project)
5.  remove plastic, lay out my design on the solar pool cover and roll in all directions (100 times) to "fix" the fibers even more
6.  double the time and effort on sanding.

On top of these changes, please note that my projects are soaking wet - so wet that I often blot up the excess water that oozes out during each step.

I also SAND WITHOUT ANY TOWEL underneath the project and use the sander DIRECT ON THE SUPER-SOAKED project.  (Also requires blotting up the excess water.)

While that may sound like I've lost my mind, my sander acts just the same and it is as if the excess water is not there---------if you are nervous about trying this out, just have someone with you to make sure it all goes ok.  You will get used to it.

I also increase the number of THROWS depending on how things look when I get to that stage.

There are even more tricks in the bag working in these kinds of conditions ---- because my production has increased 50% and going up more each month with increasing store orders.  Frankly, I had to adapt to my environment or give up nuno felting.


can't live without it!

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