Katrina Virgona is running a felting workshop (FELTED BANGLES, RINGS & THINGS) on Saturday Sept 5th from 10am-1pm at the Mundaring Arts Centre. If doing the workshop, you can also view a range of artworks relating to wool in the SHEEP SHOW exhibition in MAC’s main gallery space. Other workshops are happening in association with the Sheep Show including a yarn spinning workshop run by Anne Williams. The Sheep Show opens July 24th. For more info on the felt workshop, please see: https://mundaringartscentre.myshopify.com/products/felted-bangles-rings-and-things-with-katrina-virgona
We had a wonderful 2019 FeltWEST wrap up at TNT on Saturday 16 November with an abundance of beautiful, felty Christmas ornaments brought in and sold to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis; a delicious shared lunch and lots of lovely items brought in for Toss N Tell. Thank you very much to Jean for presiding over the day in Soosie’s absence.
Both Peta Korb and Jean McKenzie were presented with flowers to thank them for their outstanding contribution to the success of FeltWEST’s stall at the Royal Show in 2019.
Martien announced the sad passing of Peggy Buckingham, long-time FeltWEST member and tireless advocate for the educational aspect of the arts and crafts in Western Australia and nationally.
Best wishes to all for a very happy Christmas and a great start to the new year. We look forward to seeing you all in February.
by Renita Mroz
We kicked of our first TNT of the year with a wonderful Mini Demonstration from Sue Eslick on Making and Attaching Tubes. Thank you, Sue, – as always, you were fabulously instructive and entertaining! The March mini demo, by Soosie Jobson, will be on Differential Shrinkage Rates.
Soosie announced that the Extension Program would be back in 2020, run by Sue Eslick and Jean McKenzie. These are three-hour long, samples-based workshops aimed at learning or honing a particular skill. Six or so of these workshops will be run during the year, some on Saturdays after TNT, others on regular Tuesday felting days. The first extension workshop will look at Three-Dimensional Felt with participants working on making a small vessel. It will be run on Saturday 21 March following TNT – bookings are open on the website.
Our first Monthly Workshop for 2020 was Peta Korb’s Needle Felted Woylie workshop which was booked and very well received with a whole herd of adorable woylies heading off to new homes at the end of the day.
Our March offering, Sue Eslick’s Fantasy Hat or Tea Cosy workshop, is fast approaching. The workshop is almost fully booked with only two places remaining – sign-up on the website now for a great weekend and a stylish hat or sensational tea cosy!
Also open for bookings is Anita Larkin’s Design Ideas for Felt workshop in April. Martien described Anita as someone to get out of bed for! Coming from a background in sculpture, Anita is inventive and offers unique techniques to shift, shuffle and shake your ideas, new perspectives and a wonderful and expansive approach to design. This is a workshop not to be missed!
Soosie sought expressions of interest in a 2020 FeltWEST Retreat in May/June, the planning for which is underway.
Soosie also encouraged all members to engage with FeltWEST’s Facebook page. Please like it, share it, and contribute to it.
Peta spoke about the Toodyay Fibre Festival on Sunday 7 June. If you would like any of your felted garments included in the fashion parade, you will need to fill out an Expression of Interest form on the website. http://www.toodyay.wa.gov.au/Community-Visitors/Events/Upcoming-Events/Toodyay-Fibre-Festival
Martien drew our attention to Felt Matters magazine, produced in the UK by the International Feltmakers’ Association. This is a wonderfully inspirational magazine with an international focus. Two FeltWEST members, Martien van Zuilen and Katrina Virgona, are featured in the current issue. You’ll find copies of Felt Matters magazine in the FeltWEST library.
Virginia let us know that FeltWEST member, Marie Marshal, is down-sizing and has, very generously, donated her felting books and a beautiful wooden hat block to our library. She also offered fabric and a gorgeous felted christening gown to anyone who would love and use them well.
Katrina spoke about the Lust for Lustre exhibition at Ellenbrook Art Gallery which looks at our fascination with pearls. Katrina’s work was included in this exhibition.
On Saturday 1 February, 12 Feltwest members were treated to an excellent one day workshop,
presented by Peta Korb. At the end of the day all participants commented on how much they had
enjoyed the workshop and how well organised it had been. The consensus was that it was a great
start to the 2020 Feltwest year.
Peta explained that the Woylie is a small Australian marsupial, which would serve as a suitable
project for demonstrating the techniques of needle felting onto a wire armature. The intention was
to try to finish the project during the workshop, but sufficient materials and tuition were given to
allow participants to finish their projects at home, if need be.
Peta supplied a kit to each participant, containing all the materials needed for the workshop, which
made it easier and faster to start the workshop. Participants were given a list of a small number of
tools they would need to bring with them to assist in the process.
Peta displayed samples of her work to illustrate the different stages of work involved in needle
felting to an armature. During the workshop, participants learned a range of techniques, including
wrapping, shaping, felting and sculpting wool around a wire armature. They also learned colour
blending with wool, creating a realistic animal pelt in felt finer finishing details.
Thank you Peta for an enjoyable, informative and inspiring workshop!
We received some sad news just before Christmas that one of our Life members has passed away. Val was instrumental in setting up a felting group in Bunbury and helping Feltwest evolve int the amazing organisation we have today. There is an article here with more of the story.
Whilst Val hadn’t attended many meetings in the last few years she is remembered fondly by those who knew her and as felters well owe her our thanks.
GILMOUR (Valerie): Passed away peacefully at SJOG Hospital Bunbury on 24.9.2019. Dearly beloved wife of Jim (dec). Loved mother of Ian and Jean, mother-in-law of Rosie and Craig.
Hello my name is Soosie Jobson and I am the new President of Feltwest. Nice to meet you all. It is lovely to be back on the committee after an absence of 3 years and would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the new members from the past 3 years. I have been a member of Feltwest (and a felter) for some 20 years and have spent nearly 15 years as a committee member. I look forward to working with our new committee to facilitate all of the amazing events and gatherings that we hold throughout the year and welcome any input from our membership. Please feel free to come and speak to me or any of the committee at any of our regular meetings with your ideas, thoughts r concerns. We would love to know.
I look forward to seeing you at Toss n Tell this Saturday.
President Soosie Jobson
Vice President Jean Mckenzie
Treasure Lenore Farfield
Secretary Cynda Empsall
Workshop Co-ordinator Renita Mroz
Online Communications Liz Owens
Sub committee Team Members
Rep. at APCH meetings – Louise Nidorf
New member liason officer – Alison Gomes
Introduction workshops – Alison Gomes
Library – Jill Jodrell
WA Craft Fair – Jan Stroud, Jill Jodrell
Royal Show – Martien van Zuilen, Peta Korb, Jean McKenzie, Marion Finneran, Margaret Bryan
Saturday the 18th of February saw the first FeltWest meeting of 2018. Attendance was higher than expected with about 40 people pouring in to catch the first day not only of the meeting, but of the new and (hopefully improved) format. At ten thirty the group gathered for Sue Eslick’s excellent demonstration with it’s easy to follow instructions for the making of felted sushi rolls. The end of the demo set the hall alive with activity. Tables were shared which created a lively social atmosphere. Lots of persuasion was needed to drag participants from the work for the lunch break with meeting notices and T and T.
The news items from the meeting will be posted on the website, but special mention must be made of the opening of bookings for the Retreat at Muresk in early June. We do need expressions of interest as soon as possible so the appropriate bookings can be made. It’s a fairly complicated procedure; the booking that is, not the fabulous weekend, so do seriously consider coming along for a few days of unrestricted felting and a lot of fun.
Toss and Tell began with Sara Quail reporting on her dyeing workshop which was held in early February.
The enthusiasm of the attendees was attested by the colourful results – a myriad of beautiful colour combinations on lengths of silk and cotton, using fibre reactive dyes. Congratulations must go to Peta whose many test pieces showed a great dedication to the process. Her gorgeous samples a credit to herself and to her demonstrator. Peta was obviously truly inspired.
Martien brought along superb examples of her boots and slippers along with an intriguing nuno scarf, quite long but made from just 90 cms of fabric. Thanks to Martien also for bringing along her wares. We are aware that it’s lots of work, but great to have supplies available, especially when there are new members.
Marie showed some delightful and well- made sample pieces as well as a swathe of bay tree branches which she explained keep kitchen moths out of her pantry! Lots of recipients of the branches will be trialling this way of keeping out the pesky insects at bay over the coming month. Feedback please!
Jan Manning showed her very thoughtful and colourful renditions of Picasso and Magritte paintings in felt. Hopefully we’ll see more of these in future.
Jill Jodrell’s menagerie of hand puppets were a delight – from her realistic kangaroo to colourful wacky creations.
There’s a future workshop there!
Marion Finneran also created a large ‘critter’ which purposefully incorporated a multitude of techniques she acquired in an online workshop.
Sue Eslick modelled her intriguing beret as well as the messenger bag that will be made in the felt and leather workshop in April.
The afternoon was spent completing Sue’s sushi rolls with much whacking and beating (most enthusiastically by Liz Owens} as Sue explained that once a certain point is reached in the process maltreatment is necessary.
The new format was greeted with enthusiasm by all. It seemed to give the group both inspiration and impetus. No adverse comments were received but there were lots of suggestions for further improvement and that is great for any organisation.
Kerry Bertucci and Marion Finneran took in items for showing at the Wagin Woolorama with their usual efficiency. We wish Kerry and Sue Eslick along with Chris and Nancy all the best for the event which we will hope to hear all about at the March meeting.
Alison Gomes manfully conducted an afternoon beginners workshop under somewhat difficult circumstances since the studio was in use by another group. Thanks to her for quietly making it work for the seven participants who seemed well pleased with the results.
All in all, a good day. Many thanks to those who came along and participated and especially to Sue E. I for one am looking forward greatly to future meetings.
Dyeing 101 workshop with Sara Quail, Feb 2018.
Techniques and tips for dyeing silk, cotton and other cellulose fibres.
Sara’s aim was to teach participants how to pattern silk and cotton with fibre reactive dyes using a low immersion technique-ie by applying dye directly and manipulating the fabric. This was done using basic equipment in a small work area.
Sara outlined the safety requirements for using the materials utilised in the workshop, as well as some mess avoidance techniques for persons and the work area. She taught participants how to mix the soda ash in which the fabric is initially soaked, and how to mix the dye in the correct proportions to achieve a range of colours. She stressed the importance of rinsing equipment to avoid contaminating the colours being mixed, and the necessity of labelling the dyes that are produced. She taught participants how to batch, cure and rinse dyed pieces to achieve the best possible dyeing results.
As well as these basic & necessary processes, Sara taught a variety of techniques that produce different effects on the finished piece. These included working flat, tray pleating, crystalline, folding, doughnut, twisting, coiling, and how to dye skeins of thread or fibre.
She had a myriad of samples including how the dye takes on different fabrics and fibres. Other uses for Fibre Reactive dyes and how they can be used to dye protein fibres like wool were discussed.
Sara also provided comprehensive notes, a list of suppliers of Fibre Reactive dyes, and some websites as references for further reading.
I think I can conclude that a messy but fun day was had by all!
Participants dyed many pieces of fabric and items, so there was no time dry them all and view the results on the day. There was quite a display at the first Feltwest meeting of the year of their achievements as well as some further exploration with the leftover dyes they took home.
Workshop – Nov 2017
Presented by Martien van Zuilen, a FeltWest member and international tutor, participants spent a very pleasurable 2 days learning her unique Jigsaw Weave & Felt technique. With its strong visual impact, the opportunities to include this woven effect in handmade felt are endless – homewares, accessories and wearables or as accent pieces for larger projects. Inspired by slumped glass techniques and the calming process of re-piecing jigsaws, her technique involves using fine merino pre-felts, which can be commercial pre-felt but which Martien often makes by hand using her hand-dyed wool. After selecting a colour palette to produce the desired effect, pre-felt is cut and re-pieced.
The first day was spent making a sample and coming to grips with the technique. Colour selection, the thickness of the pre-felts and the degree they have been pre-felted, play a key role in this technique. Martien had brought an amazing array of prefelt and many samples to get the creative juices flowing. She guided us through the planning and specific process of cutting to ensure a well-defined result. The actual method of interweaving and re-piecing the cut pre-felts had some unexpected elements, but it soon became apparent this was essential to the process. Paying attention to detail in the early stages is very important, but with immense benefit to the final result!
The 2nd day was spent working on individual larger pieces which included bags, cushion covers and table runners. Embellishments and fabric can be incorporated and minds were over-flowing with many ideas on how to create texture, optical illusions and functionality. Specific ways of dealing with resists for hats and bags were covered as well as emphasising her specific felting and fulling methods she uses for the Jigsaw technique. Her gentle approach to felt making is evident in the smooth, high quality felt pieces that were created.
Those who attended really enjoyed trying out a new technique. The technical process gave everyone an opportunity to achieve precise results as well as refining felt to a new level. A very knowledgeable and sharing tutor who had some memorable ways of remembering her tips and tricks!
Martien van Zuilen (PhD) is a felt artist and dyeing artisan living in Perth, Australia. She exhibits her high-quality and distinctive felt art nationally and internationally and through her dyeing business Colourant Dyeworks she supplies the finest hand-dyed Merino wools, silk fibres, yarns and fabrics to felt makers and textile practitioners worldwide. Since the late 1980s she has delivered felt-making workshops at all levels of experience throughout Australia, as well as in Europe and throughout the USA. Martien is the founder of the Victorian Feltmakers and for 18 years coordinated the Australian National Yurt Project. She is the Convenor of Fibres West Inc. and the editor of FELT, Australia’s national felting magazine with international reach. Her artwork is published in numerous international publications, including Showcase 500 Art Necklaces (book), Textile Fibre Forum, Felt Matters, ViltKontakt, Fiber Art Now, Yurts Tipis and Benders (book), FELT, verFilzt Und zugeNäht, the 2015 book Pots and Pods for Feltmakers, Adventures in the Third Dimension, and the 2016 book Worldwide Colours of Felt. www.martienvanzuilen.com