The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Carolyn Henderson
The Times 

Talk about Art


October 12, 2017

Courtesy Photo

A felted wool silk scarf by fiber artist Linnea Keatts.

You don't need a washing machine to create felted wool, which is a good thing, because the art of creating dense, waterproof fabric from natural fibers goes back to 6,500 B.C.

For Walla Walla fiber artist Linnea Keatts, all she needs is some hot, soapy water; a flat surface; a rolling pin; and some elbow grease. Oh, and the wool item to be felted.

"Heavier fleece is used to make 3D pieces such as purses, vessels, vase holders, bowls, and so on," Keatts, who has been felting for more than 35 years, explains. Lighter weight felting, which incorporates silk fibers in with fine merino wool fleece, results in diaphanous apparel such as scarves, draping fluidly and smoothly over the wearer.

Courtesy Photo

A felted wool purse by fiber artist Linnea Keatts.

"My goal as a felt artist is to make beautiful things that are pleasing and also practical," Keatts says. "The enjoyment of working with fine merino fleece and silk is absorbing and creative."

Keatts, who teaches the craft through the Quest program at Walla Walla Community College, does not limit herself to any shape, form, or subject matter, and among her display presently showing at the Wenaha Gallery (219 East Main, Dayton), are a three-dimensional penguin, a sculpted bust of Donald Trump, and a selection of farm animals. There is also an array of colorful scarves, one for each outfit in the closet.

Keatts' free Art Event of felted apparel, home décor, and personal accessories such as purses and tablet cases runs through Saturday, November 4. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


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