REVIEW BEGINNERS SEPT. WORKSHOP taught by Sue Esclick and Alison Gomes. We had a record crowd for the beginner’s workshop in September! Twelve participants and two tutors really stretched the capacity of the studio but made for a friendly, sociable atmosphere as people made new friends while learning the basics of feltmaking.
Sue led people through the process of making a sample square, talking about the difference between pre-felt and quality felt. Alison showed participants how to layout really finely and got everyone to make a sample square of nuno felt.
People left keen to go home and practice and to sign up for more advanced workshops. We hope to see the new felters showing their work at future Toss and Tells , and signing up for next year’s workshops.
Our demo this month emphasised the importance of fulling felt completely. Nancy Ballesteros illustrated a variety of surfaces one can use for final fulling. Optimum shrinkage was illustrated with samples comparing partial and fully fulled felt in different weights, as well as related experiments with nuno felt. Hairiness can be avoided by not allowing the felt to dry out during the fulling process. Re-fulling after allowing the felt to rest and relax, is beneficial.
Sue Eslick explained how different wool breeds when laid out in the same size, using the same weight of wool, all reduced to the same size eventually. Some quicker than others. She then demonstrated some more extreme ways of fulling, especially suited to more bulky pieces where the inner layers may still be soft and require more fulling. These included very hot water with lots of vigorous hand rolling and stretching, hot vinegar solution soak, wrapping and rolling in a cloth, rubbing with wrapped stones and her pièce de résistance – the hammer!
Toss and Tell:
Our new president, Virginia Campbell, opened the meeting with a request for input from members for workshops for the coming year, ahead of the planning meeting on 13 November 2016.
Additional copies of the last Retrospective are available for $5 each.
The Xmas party is 19 November. Members are asked to bring a plate to share and exchange of a wrapped handmade gift. The Raffle will also be drawn. More details to follow in the newsletter nearer the time.
With no stall available this year at the Fremantle Bazaar, other alternatives for 2017 are being sought and members’ input is welcomed. Christine Wheeler made mention of various possibilities.
Members again illustrated the group’s diverse interests with their Toss and Tell items:
Brenda Edney tried out a piece of cobweb felt, inspired by Liz Odd’s recent demo.
Kerry Bertucci had made a pair of beautifully fitted gloves with guidance from another member, Jill Jodrell. With a current focus on small vessels / pods, Kerry had also created a unique shaped vessel by stitching prefelts over a form.
Sue Eslick had crafted another beautiful bag with the intention (and challenge) of attaching leather handles. She had also made a dainty small box-shaped purse.
Katrina Virgona is still in fetish mode and we were able to handle the components of what may become ‘hairy handcuffs’ comprising hair, jute and flax fibres– possibly to be used on members guilty of incomplete fulling. She said she uses a sort of dry felting technique on hair to matt it in to a net which she then overlays on the wire armatures she makes, and that she also felts a lot with a mixture of wool and hair.
Judith Shaw made use of some donated Alpaca to produce a hat. With a brushed and rustic appearance, she said it was light and warm to wear. Made many years ago, she also brought along a mask constructed by moulding over a form. Despite it having been used as outdoor décor all this time, there was virtually no sign of deterioration.
Marie Jacquier had a work in progress from Nancy’s ‘Shifting Shapes’ workshop and was now inspired and excited about the concept of realistically being able to make and wear felted pieces using the technique.
Sara Quail had been to a hat and vessel workshop with Dawn Edwards (USA) at the Geelong Fibre Forum The vessel used a ‘cracked mud’ resist technique and intense fulling. She modelled 3 of the 5 hats made, one of which featured beaded silk. She also showed how the recycled aluminium from drink cans can be annealed, stitched and embossed, sometimes incorporating felt.
Nancy Ballesteros is experimenting with techniques to create striped fabric. Her design concept is influenced by Fibonacci principles. Her samples utilize silk mesh with a little hand stitching to complete the look. As the layout of wool fibre is only in one direction it is even more important to be aware of directional shrinkage. Other wool only samples illustrated a very subtle plaid look achieved by laying stripes of fibre on one layer, and then in the opposite direction for the 2nd layer. Watch this space for more stripes in coming months …….
Nuno Scarves – A Focus on Design – Workshop Review
by Virginia Campbell
Many members will be familiar with the very fine, skilfully designed, beautifully coloured and exquisitely draping nuno felted scarves and wraps of fellow FeltWest member, Alison Gomes. So it was with great delight that 12 of us anticipated her workshop at Craft House on 2 May to learn how to improve our nuno felting technique and design while experimenting with different ways of creating nuno felt.
Alison began the workshop by reminding us of some basic key principles of felting including the importance of choosing the correct wool for the project and avoiding the mixing of different types of wool fibre to achieve a more even finish, and laying an even number of fine wool layers in both directions (rather than fewer thick layers of wool) to improve the finished piece’s drape ability, and to achieve even shrinkage, finer texture and better overall strength. She demonstrated how she lays wool finely and discussed the number of layers of wool she had laid in various sample pieces. She discussed factors affecting shrinkage (the less wool used the greater the shrinkage will be, and shrinkage will be in the direction the fibres are laid and also in the direction in which it is rolled) , how to avoid creases (don’t roll the piece too tightly, lift your noodle when rolling up a piece) and how to avoid distortion occurring when fulling ( regularly checking your piece, spreading it open, stretching it into shape with your palms, not finger tips). She spoke of gently rinsing the felted piece in several changes of tepid then cooler water to remove all residue of soap, gently squeezing the excess water out, laying the piece flat and when it is still slightly damp, ironing it on the reverse side (lifting the iron to press the piece, rather than dragging the iron across the work) to give a beautiful flat finish.
She then discussed choosing fabrics to use in nuno felting – preferably those which are lightweight, open weave and made of natural fibres like open weave silks, chiffon, organza, georgette, silk velvet, rayon, cotton voile, viscose, muslin. Alison recommended that before using a fabric for the first time you should always checking the fabric is colourfast and iron it, especially if you intend cutting shapes from it.
Alison discussed 6 different ways of creating nuno felt:
1. Using a fabric base with a wool design (wool roving or wool pre felt cut into shapes) arranged over it,
2. Laying a wool base with fabric motifs placed on it,
3. Creating a wool design laminated between two layers of fabric,
4. Entrapping non- feltable objects between wool and fabric layers, thereby creating texture or shapes,
5. Using wool and fabric in the one layer
6. Creating nuno pre felts, cutting out those pre felts and placing them on a fabric base
She illustrated these techniques with numerous examples of her work which she passed around together with various fabric pieces she had used. We were able to see and feel the textures which had been achieved using these techniques and different fabric examples.
Alison mentioned a number of helpful tips including lining any fabric motifs to be placed on a wool or fabric base with appropriate coloured wool to “intensify” the colour of the fabric motifs, cutting fabric motifs larger than the size ultimately desired to allow for their shrinkage in the felting process, and using nuno pre felts and hand laid roving pre felts or machine needled pre felts to achieve precise shapes, (but note with cut pre felt shapes there will be some feathering of the cut ends of the wool onto the background).
Alison then discussed a number of design principles we can apply to our work to help create beautiful harmonious designs, encouraging us to consider concepts of balance, repetition, movement, scale, use of negative space and possible themes such as floral, geometric, abstract, when designing a piece. She recommended sketching a design at the outset before embarking on laying out your piece to help clarify the materials you will use and the design principles you will apply. She also discussed colour as a powerful design tool and the effects which can be achieved through the use of different colours. She brought along numerous images from a variety of magazines to illustrate diverse colour combinations and to help inspire us to be brave and to try something new – to consider moving from classic combinations of colour to experimenting with unusual pairing of hues to bring originality and freshness to a design.
Then we were off to work – creating samples of the various techniques we had observed, using colour in more adventurous ways than we might have initially envisaged, and some of us launched into designing some bigger pieces incorporating a number of different nuno felting techniques and colour combinations.
Throughout the remainder of the workshop Alison visited with us all individually, suggesting, advising, encouraging, assisting, consulting, inspiring. We all very much appreciated Alison’s clear explanations and instruction throughout the workshop , her thoughtful provision of a large quantity of diverse, illustrative materials and her individual assistance with our developing nuno felting projects in the afternoon. She also generously provided us all with comprehensive notes of the morning’s instruction session which we were able to take home for later reference if needed. It was a wonderful workshop with plenty of sharing, learning, fun and new friendships. We’re all looking forward to the next Toss n Tell to see more of the results of the day.
This morning ‘s meeting commenced with a short talk by Soosie Jobson on “Presenting and Tagging Your Work for Sale”. As a number of members intend selling their felted pieces on the Feltwest stall at the Rotary Fair at UWA next Sunday and our stall at the Fremantle Arts Centre Bazaar in early December, it was a helpful and timely reminder of the importance of attractively displaying and safely storing work intended for sale, creating appropriately sized tags to provide sufficient seller contact details and any special garment-care information if necessary and included practical information about where to purchase cellophane bags and ordering tags and business cards on line.
We were delighted at this meeting to again welcome FeltWest member and textile artist, Sue Clay, from West Yorkshire, UK. Sue spoke to us about a wonderful felt project she had conceived and worked on earlier this year which became the focus of the Yorkshire Yurt festival held in Holmfirth from 1 July to 5 July 2014 up to the eve of the Tour de France commencing in Yorkshire. As part of this project Sue had earlier worked with children of different age groups in 11 local schools and with different artists making 3 D felted animals, very large colourful birds, cushions to lounge on and felt pictures. These were all used to decorate a 25 foot yurt, the large felted birds being suspended from the apex of the yurt. Five exquisite 5X1 metre hand felted panels were draped to line part of the ceiling and walls of the yurt. The pre felted panels were decorated by Sue with pre felted flowers, sheep, cows, bicycles, hills, streams, brilliant sunsets, rocks and other landmarks of the Yorkshire landscape. Sue hand rolled each panel and each took approximately 1 month to create. She brought 2 of the panels to show us as well as a short video about the yurt during the festival. You can view the video on U Tube ( easily found if you google “ Yorkshire Yurt Festival”). She also kindly brought a gift for FeltWest – a signed print depicting her five beautiful felted panels. Activities in the yurt were scheduled daily 10 am – 10 pm for 5 days and included music, poetry reading and story telling for all ages. The decorated yurt was obviously a great success and a marvellous introduction for many to the art of felting. Sue also said how much she enjoys coming to our TNT meetings whenever she is visiting Perth and loves the colour and variety of our work, and the generous sharing of skills and ideas and warm friendliness of members at our meetings.
TWO OF THE PANELS FROM THE YORKSHIRE YURT by Sue Clay
There was an interesting range of felted work brought along by members to our October meeting. Alison Gomes showed us a beautiful blue, green and brown cobweb scarf she had made at Vicki Hearne’s workshop last month. It was of fine, even thickness and draped beautifully. She said she had laid it out in a bit of a lattice pattern and in her next attempt using this technique she would try for a more organic effect.
Jeanette showed us a very pretty teal and blue shoulder bag she had made with a special interior pouch designed for her mobile phone. She noted she was pleased with the colour separation she had achieved in the bag’s design. (sorry no photo)
New member Jen Thomson said she was very happy to have received lots of feedback from members at the meeting when she brought along her delicate nuno felted paj silk in Chili & Pepper colourway with ruffled edges and decorative buttons.
Sue Eslick modelled her latest very fetching hat featuring 2 horns, and decorated with round prefelt shapes of various colours on a navy background. She also showed us a felted round , domed shaped clasp. She said she had achieved the dome shape by laying a thicker amount of wool around the clasp’s inner circle and thinner layer of wool around the outer circle. The clasp is finished with a metal pin pushed through its middle.
Sue Swain showed us her finished fabulous ¾ length nuno felted jacket which she had made at Jan Manning’s workshop using natural coloured wool laid in a diagonal pattern on beige muslin.
Chris Gray wore a funky necklace she had made at Nancy Ballesteros’ workshop on Meditation Beads.She had felted different coloured embellished large wool beads and strung them together to make a very distinctive necklace.
Soosie Jobson brought along a green cactus which she made in one piece using 8 resists. So life- like are her cacti and succulent sculptures that when she puts them about the rocks in her front garden visitors think they are growing there! She says she has plans for an on line exhibition and is writing a booklet on how to make these 3 D felted marvels. She also showed us a beautiful 3D wall hanging she had made depicting a forest floor with layers of leaves of different colours and sizes made from nuno felt.
Judi Barkla brought along some gorgeous felted embroidered stones to show us and which she says are meditative to make.
Judy Barkla designed this nuno dress awhile back but we always enjoy seeing it!
Sue Espie has been making Christmas angel decorations to sell at the Fremantle Arts Centre Chrismas Bazaar and the Rotary Fair at UWA next week. Needlefelted with dresses, hair, and wings of roving, the meeting thought they should sell like hot cakes.
Juliet Hargreaves said how much she enjoyed Mary Ann Dawson’s recent baby bunting workshop Although the jacket she made there has already been given to a baby, a photo of the jacket appears in the review she wrote about the workshop. Juliet currently has some work displayed in the Biennale Exhibition 2014 of Designing Women (“Seams and Layers”) on show at Nyisztor Studio, 391 Canning Highway Melville 22 October – 5 November 2014.
Jill Jodrell said she had been given a white batt of indeterminate fibre but which was very cobwebby and so she put some merino wool on the batt and felted it. The textured result she showed us she said was a lovely surprise and she thinks now it will be ideal as a baby’s rug.
Finally, our guest speaker Sue Clay won the raffle this month!
DEAR MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF MUNDARING ARTS CENTRE
Those of you who have been able to visit our shop over the past few weeks will have noticed an extraordinary change. Our work to revitalise the space and ensure it truly becomes the best retail destination in the Eastern Hills region is paying off.
Over a hot and sticky January, 31 volunteers contributed over 480 hours to renew the space including re-discovering the beautiful floor, painting, scraping and filling.
In February we launched the Mundaring Arts Centre Giving Program – with donations sought specifically for the ongoing work to re-fit the shop
Through the generosity of our supporters we have raised $8,175 of the $20,000 we need to continue the work.
We thank Patricia Weston, Jude van der Merwe, Denis McLeod, Richard and Lyn Woldendorp, Jenny Mills, Leonie Matthews, Dr Fiona Stanley, Maria Stannage, Drusilla Williams, Michael Wilkinson-Cox, Helen Clarke, Jenny Haynes, Janette and Bob Huston, Erin Taylor, Simon O’Hara, Gail Gregson, Jenny Kerr, Beverley and Ron Whitelaw, Shire of Mundaring and Westbeam, Inspirations: Midland 3D paint store for their generosity and support and ask you to join them in giving to a place that represents the best of the hills.
The Mundaring Arts Centre Shop shows works by the exceptional Western Australian artists and craftspeople whose works tell a story through materials and forms of a unique part of Western Australia. All the works in the shop are designed and made in WA.
Jude van der Merwe
Mundaring Arts Centre Inc.