Sunday, January 4, 2009

the improbable joy of wet wool

First, a couple of cultural snaps: I woke up to this in my kitchen on Christmas morning (okay, I lie, it was Christmas afternoon by the time I ventured out):

Offering tables like this one are extremely common here, especially on the day of the full moon. The ancestors get offerings of burnt ghost money, incense, and food, and businesses are very keen to make offerings to ensure prosperity. This was the first time I'd ever seen one indoors though (to be fair, it's the first time I've ever spent months living with Taiwanese people). My flatmate had set it up and when I asked her what it was for she said to create peacefulness. A close-up of the goodies:

According to local custom, it's perfectly acceptable to eat the edibles after they've sat out for a little while and the deities and/or ancestors have absorbed the mana.

For New Year's I took the early train north to Taipei on the first and spent three days there visiting a friend and doing the tourist thing. It included a fair bit of shopping and after admiring felt beads in the night market I couldn't resist picking up this little toy when I saw it the next day:

It's basically a mini-agitator for felting wads of roving into little balls that can then be used as beads, keychains, tiny animals, or whatever other bits of funkiness/tackiness you can dream up. I took it out to play with tonight:

The little fluffballs, once beaten into shape, turn out looking like this:

(They're in a colander for a final shock of boiling water before being rinsed and left to dry.)

Not too bad for a first attempt! And now I have something I can actually do with carded wool that doesn't involve a spinning wheel.

I don't do new year's resolutions, but I think maybe a nice *goal* for '09 would be to start taking better pictures. Yikes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, needle felting is so cool! I just wish you could do it with non-animal fibers... But I can't wait to see what you make. :)