Artist Alevtina Sharapova has always been intrigued by felting, a technique in which wool is matted down and compressed to make a flat and versatile material. In her native Russia, traditional methods of working wool have been passed down through generations, particularly for making household objects.
Sharapova has lived in Beijing for seven years. As a full-time mom, she started teaching art part-time to children aged 3-5 at a local Russian kindergarten. Five years ago, she signed up for an online felting course and eventually got certified as an instructor. Sharapova struck out on her own and started Moon Hare Workshop, offering felting classes for adults and children over 6.
Sharapova sources her wool from Russia, Inner Mongolia, a local vendor, and select Taobao shops. She uses naturally-dyed wool to make hats, scarves, jewelry, pillows, wall hangings, and more. The artist also sells ready-made products at bazaars and the Russian restaurant Dacha before and after classes.
Sharapova’s preferred method is wet felting, which requires only wool and warm, soapy water. The technique involves taking sections of wool, placing them at a 90-degree angle to each other, repeatedly applying the soapy water, then using a roller or hands to compress the fibers, causing them to hook together. Sharapova uses bubble wrap as a mat to help speed up the process, then towel dries the wool to avoid damaging the fibers. The more layers, the sturdier the felt.
“Its like painting with wool,” she says when introducing the technique to new students. Participants start by sketching out their design along with the colors on a piece of paper. To make felted jewelry, a glue gun and a needle and thread are also needed. Parental supervision is required with these projects.
For birthdays, there’s a minimum of three people per group and all materials are provided. Sessions cost RMB 130 per person for groups of over five people and RMB 150 per person for groups of five or under. An assistant is usually there to help with larger groups. Bookings must be made at least three days in advance, with the venue decided by the client.
Sharapova also holds regular classes at the Russian Cultural Center and Dacha on Fridays and Saturdays. At Dacha, one-hour classes cost RMB 180 per adult and RMB 120 per child for a maximum of eight people. Occasionally, Sharapova collaborates with the Beijing Guild and makes more complex felted products to sell for charity.
Moon Hare Workshop
To find out about upcoming classes, contact Alevtina Sharapova at 135 2176 5095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Uni You