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COVID 19 Rules as at Mar 14th

  • Stay home if you are unwell, been a close contact or visited an exposure site.
  • Check in using ServicesWA App or the paper register
  • Mask are mandatory
  • Proof of vaccination or exemption is mandatory
Hello reader

We hope you all had a great break over 2 glorious long weekends. And got loads of felting done!

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Time to talk about our Exhibition (pun intended) as there is just over 3 months left to produce those brilliant and inspired pieces. We have published the finalised dates we now have from Gallery Central - you can find them in our calendar and the Marks Over Time page.

But let's talk about 2 of them now.

The first one to think about is Registration.

We have decided that registration will be free as a way of giving back to our Membership and inspiring people to felt again after the long and uncertain COVID era. This is a prestigious event and we hope to involve as many of our membership as we can. We welcome all levels of felting experience and offer advice and help to ensure your piece is of exhibition quality. If in doubt, come along to any of our regular meetings and discuss your work with one of the many experienced felters that attend. We are a sharing group and we hope to share this event with you. Group exhibitions are a great way to gain experience in this area. Of course there are requirements for entry, which includes current financial membership, with full details on the Marks Over Time page.

Registration opens July 1st and closes July 31st. To Register we will be using a product to liaise and communicate with the exhibitors (that's you!). Just like we do with Workshop bookings and Membership. This will also show up as an order in your Feltwest Dashboard for your records. The product will appear in several places on the web site during those dates.

The next deadline is Artist's Bio & Statements

These are due by the 15th August and will be submitted electronically. Don't worry if you haven't written these before we will have a session at June Toss n Tell to help you through the process. And of course post the results on the web.

Final point - you should have at least one piece made by now. Yikes! On that note if you do have a piece fully completed let us know as we need to take some discrete and alluring publicity shots for distribution and media release.

We'll discuss the other key dates in later eNews. We have included the article about the theme session from Toss n Tell below.

Feltwest @ the Perth Royal Show

Feltwest is very pleased to announce our involvement with the Perth Royal Show. We have collaborated with the RAS to review the classes (categories or sections) for felting in the amazing Creative Craft & Cookery Competition for 2022. The classes have increased in number and we have secured sponsorship for all the classes. Thank you Sponsors - more details later.

In the post COVID era the overall theme for the Creative Craft & Cookery has returned and this year is WA Wildflowers. This theme will extend across all classes including felting.

We can't tell you all of the details just yet so stay tuned and we will let you know when the official schedule is released. Very exiciting.

Wider WA Felting Community

We have been reaching out to our sister felting groups: the Bunbury Felting Group BFG and the Felters in the Great Southern FIGs, and hope to liaise and collaborate with them more in the future. We all have the same aims - to promote quality felt making around WA. If you know of other felting groups in WA let us know - we would love to talk to them.
PS It was great to see some of the Bunbury girls at Soosie's Raising the Surface workshop. Great effort - driving up and back in a day - well done.
One final piece of news - we are booked in for the Christmas Markets at Heathcote November 6th put it in your diary - more details to come.

Remember scroll down for articles, workshop bookings, and archive posts.

Ciao for now.

Exploring Natural Dyes on Silk with Kat Weka

Exploring Natural Dyes on Silk with Kat Weka
We will use mordants to extend the range of colour samples. During this process you will be guided in the practice of record keeping to give you a comprehensive silk sample library for future reference. We will talk about water and pH, colour fast and light fastness, and you will experiment with both fugitive and substantive dyes.
In this 1.5 day workshop we will explore obtaining colour from plant material and natural dye extracts. This is a hands on workshop with lots of opportunity to experiment.

You will learn how to prepare silk for dyeing. How to obtain beautiful colours from ordinary food items in your kitchen.
Basic techniques and safety procedures of natural dyeing will be covered and you will get plenty of practise in experimenting with different plant material, to see what colours you can achieve in different dye baths. In addition we will explore a range of natural dye extracts.

The focus is on having fun, play and experimentation with natural dye foodstuffs and extracts.

Read more

Hanky Panky with Nancy Ballesteros

We will explore design ideas including edge extensions, unusual bottom finishes as well as working your design on both sides. A variety of silk fabrics may also be incorporated into the design work. Specific fulling techniques will be taught to ensure proper quality felt. Embellishment ideas to be explored as time allows, particularly hand stitching with a self-made silk thread.
a workshop with Nancy Ballesteros

This 2 day workshop will explore a unique abstract painterly-like method of working with Silk Hankies. Feltmakers first impressions of Silk Hankies are usually one of frustration. Learn how to transform this experience into creative bliss.  Silk Hankies possess unique properties which create gloriously lustrous and textural surfaces when laminated with minimal amounts of superfine merino and silk fabric. We will experiment creating a variety of different visual effects with the hankies.
Silk hankies traditionally have been underutilised as a source of silk by felt makers. You may ask “what is so special about a Silk Hanky”? A silk cocoon is spun by a caterpillar as one continuous strand of silk. Each hanky is made from a degummed silk cocoon that has been pierced and stretched over a square frame (resembling the shape of a handkerchief), and then stacked layer upon layer. Hankies have the amazing property of being very strong and behave as a continuous mass, the fibre have not been cut like in a silk top.

Nancy Ballesteros has passionately worked with fabric all her life. She spent most of her childhood sewing and then was introduced to spinning, felting and dyeing while at university. These elements quickly took over as her life’s passion and she hatched a fibre business called Treetops Colour Harmonies in 1987. Since moving to Australia in 1990, Treetops continued to grow into a successful international web-based company offering felting supplies for discerning felt makers. She has taught felting for many years before taking a break to raise her two children and run Treetops. Since 2014, she began teaching again in Australia, Europe and the USA, mostly concentrating on unravelling the mysteries of working with superfine Merino and Nuno felting. Nancy was instrumental in developing the technique of Silk ‘Paper’. She has written about felting in numerous publications and participated in many workshops and master classes.

www.treetopscolours.com.au facebook.com/treetopscolours instagram.com/treetops.colours

A materials fee of $0 is payable to tutor.

Estimated materials list $80

Read more

Skill Extension - Solid & Hollow Cords

Skill Extension - Solid & Hollow Cords
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Join us to explore how to make solid and hollow felt cords, including getting good shrinkage, and some of the fun things that you can do with them including jewellery, puppets and lunar landscapes!

Skill Extension - Prefelts & Batts

Skill Extension - Prefelts & Batts
Learn all about the different stages of a prefelt from a light to firm prefelt and how they all give different results. We will also learn how to make wet, dry and needle felted prefelts. In this experimental workshop we will make sample squares that show how to use prefelts to get sharp or soft edges on your design, to blend colours and get raised surface patterns.

Read more

Beginners Workshop June 18th

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Beginners Workshop June 18th

Marks over Time - Exhibition Theme

Marks over Time - Exhibition Theme
Why do we have a theme?

A theme brings cohesion to a group – it is the heart of the exhibition. If there is no theme it would be a disjointed collection of items that the observer probably wouldn’t connect to. The theme is usually a broad message about some aspect of life that we wish to share with the audience.

So isn’t that just a topic? No. Topic is a vehicle for illustrating theme. So each of your individual works maybe on a different topic that still relates to the theme.

For example in our theme of Marks over Time. This is a broad theme that can be interpreted in many ways - which we will talk about in a minute, but, if I create a piece of work let’s say a wall hanging that is about the concentric growth rings that mark the life of a tree. I am illustrating the overall theme of marks over time through my topic of tree rings. My artist statement would reflect my interest in the topic and how it relates to theme. I might say something like “Humans are not the only beings that make marks over time, trees express time through their concentric growth rings.”
The main thing to remember about topic is that it pertains to the piece’s “what.” It’s driven by facts and specifics, where as theme deals with the big picture and overall meaning that reveals why the piece matters.

Some things to think about to get your inspiration for our theme flowing.

What is a mark? How does time affect it?

Two Broad Definitions for Mark
  1. Blemish or stain
  2. Symbol, line or figure that records or indicates something
After a brainstorming session at Toss n Tell these some of the topics the group came up with:

Rug Making with Liz Odd by Eleanor Dennis 2014

Rug Making with Liz Odd by Eleanor Dennis
Beth had returned to felting after a break of three years and she was flying along, using up materials from her shed. A lovely soft mauve hued bat with lots of brightly coloured pre-felted pieces, scatterings of wool and other embellishments on top and a totally different pattern and colour scheme on the bottom.

Virginia wanted to make a rug for her living area and she had her design and colours all planned. She started with a ‘Nancy’ bat, then a layer of cotton lawn, topped with a fine layer of wool laid in one direction, topped with a double layer lightweight Felbi bat. She then laid a scroll like design on top with wool yarn.
Virginia, Pat, Beth, Sue H and I arrived eager to learn how to make a floor rug or in Pat’s case, a table-runner under the expert tutelage of Liz Odd.

Tables were set and instructions were handed out by Liz. We had all arrived with an idea of what we wanted to do. In my case, a simple striped floor mat similar in design to one of Nancy’s creations. I wanted to learn the technique and not be side-tracked by more complex design or technique. Liz soon put paid to that! She showed us various samples of her work and designs from invitations to indigenous art exhibitions and urged us to think about design, colour and use of our pieces. We could felt both sides with different designs if we wanted too. As with all felting, Liz made us realize that we could let our imaginations run wild! This led me to change my design whilst keeping the technique simple and to play with shape and colour. Beth and Virginia decided to felt with different designs the backs of their pieces too.
Pat was carefully cutting out her design to use on her table runner and Sue was being very social while she worked out what she wanted to do which turned out to be a stunning rug.

Pat’s table runner was laid on a ‘Nancy’ bat, topped with fabric and then wool and her pre-felt design.

Sue laid out her design on top of a ‘Nancy’ bat. Her rug covered two tables which when dry was easy to manoeuvre but once wet it took two people to lift and carry out to her car!

As the day wore on the creativity ebbed and flowed and Liz monitored progress, providing useful tips and tricks and hands on assistance such as trimming edges, design advice, placing pieces and wetting down.
Once we had laid out the design, it was time to dry roll our pieces and then check that the design was still in place and that there were no holes where the bat could come through. Once finished with that process it was time to wet down and finish the felting process, remembering to keep checking, getting rid of excess water and stretching.

The day went all too quickly and we all headed off with our efforts to finish at home.

Everyone had a great time. Lessons learned - positive and negative:
  • If using fabric between your wool layers, wash it first to avoid issues with different shrinkage rates between wool and fabric, the effect of any water resistant chemical applied to the fabric and dye running. Liz suggests washing all fabric before use and making a note if it runs or has other problems.
  • In Virginia’s piece she commented that another layer of wool in a different direction between the bats would have resulted in more even felt and a thicker layer of wool on top would have been preferable.
  • Some of the bats were water resistant in patches and difficult to wet so we ended up with too much water and soap. The only solution is to mop up extra water and soap as it is very difficult to tell which parts of the bat will be resistant.
  • If you have a plastic table similar to the ones we use, use the table edge to get straight edges and rounded corners when cutting and trimming.
  • keep stretching the piece between rolling to get straight edges
  • and for new felters like me, use a tumble dryer to felt big pieces. Don’t over- do it. If using a tumble dryer, less is better ie keep checking every five minutes for shrinkage and stretch edges to keep it straight.
POST SCRIPT: At the October Show and Tell, we brought along our pieces for Liz to critique. Pat had used some stitching on her table runner which brought out the colour and texture of her table-runner. Sue was not present so we weren’t able to see her stunning rug. Beth decided that she was going to stitch hers too to bring out the colours and add texture. Virginia’s was finished and looked lovely and mine needs some more felting to harden the edges.

A huge thank you to Liz who not only provided great tutoring in class but followed up with each of us after class to offer advice and help.

Liz Odd is a Master Felter and one of our valued Life Members - Editor

Feel free to forward this eNews to any like minded people who might like the opportunity to meet felters, learn and share new skills and generally do all things felty.
If you are not a member of Feltwest you are missing out on amazing workshops from experienced local, interstate and international tutors, and heaps of event opportunities like exhibitions and markets. Sound good? Join here:

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