Marks Over Time Exhibition Process

Over the next year or so there will be a series of talks and activities design to guide our membership from inception to exhibition in September next year. At each Toss n Tell we will have a series of talks covering things such as our theme – Marks Over Time

MACRO|micro Exhibition: 20th August – 10 September

Feltwest feltmakers explore the MACRO and micro worlds through innovative technology, pushing their ancient craft into new realms of shape, pattern and texture in felt in a new exhibition at gallery Central. Perth.

Feltwest members are constantly seeking new ways to create in felt, endeavouring to push boundaries and develop new approaches.  Inspiration has always come from the world around us but new technologies allow the exploration of different realms; telescopes like Hubble allow us to see the beauty of the MACRO and equipment like electron scanning microscopes open the patterns and colours of the invisible micro. Using a variety of textile and felting  techniques Feltwest members have embraced the MACRO|micro challenge to produce an array of more than 70 garments, sculptures, vessels and wall art.

From macro glimpses  of  outer space to the mitochondria and neurons of human cells, from macroflora  to the world of plankton, ancient watercourses and fire next to minerals, mosquitos, jellyfish and lichen; inspired by the bird’s eyeview and aerial photography to underwater explorations and microscopic  magnifications.

For example, Kerry Grove’s A Plant Cell inspired by botany and its scientific approach to the observation of the plant world –  plants, animals, and organisms are built out of the same basic unit of life and are closely connected on a deep structural level. Artists interpret cell theory as proof that all forms of organic life share the same microscopic unit.

And Alison Gomes’ Looking Down On The Reef, a macro graphic of the Great Barrier Reef with giant starfish, sea snakes and sea anemones contrast with her  Cellular Life depicting human cells with graphic simplicity.

FREE EVENT SATURDAY 20 AUGUST artist floor talks  1:00PM


Gallery Central

NORTH  METRO TAFE  formerly Central

12 Aberdeen St, Perth        t: 9427 1318

dates 20 Aug – 10 Sept 2016        hours 10-4.45pm weekdays 12-4pm Saturdays

MACRO|micro getting near the pointy end!

Our registration date is coming to a close: 19th June this Sunday!  This Saturday we will have a mini workshop on writing your Artist Statements – which of course we can work on over the next few weeks.

There appears to be some confusion about our exhibition so here’s the main points:

  • It is a Feltwest members only exhibition – no other group is involved.
  • It is being held at TAFE Gallery Central.
  • There is no registration fee (unlike most exhibitions).
  • There will be a 30% commission taken by TAFE (so remember to include this in your price).
  • All works must be new and never shown before – including web and facebook.
  • Delivery of work is 16th July TnT.
  • Artists statements are required but help is available.
  • We are giving artists talks on 20th August but it is not mandatory!
  • This is a wonderful opportunity to show our work.
  • Registration closes Sunday 19th but opportunity will be at TnT this month for help.

Inspiration? by Vianne Sleypen

As a Hairdresser I find it easy to create something new, to start a haircut and finish it to mine, and the client’s satisfaction.  That it the easy part because for several reasons;

  • there is someone sitting in the chair who can talk – they can provide feedback or preference,
  • has a type of hair,
  • a particular shape of head and face,
  • and my skills, experience and knowledge.

But as a felter the possibilities are huge as nobody is telling me what to do – there is no feedback or preference, no predetermined requirements.  I can create any shape I like, use any colour, any kind of wool.  When there are so many options inspiration is important.

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For me I find inspiration all around me, for example when I’m walking the dogs along the river I pick up feathers, bring them home, and stack them in foam  and just let them be in my studio.   I still don’t know what I’m gonna do with it, but that doesn’t matter.  I keep on looking at them.


What is Micro/Macro scaling? An example is the Sydney Opera House by Sue Swain

How is the Sydney Opera House an example of this? Jorn Utson, the architect, based the design for the roof on the sections of an orange, curved pieces cut in a certain way, that were laid to overlap each other, thus forming the very complicated roof structure for this now world-famous icon of Australia.  So, from something that could be held in the palm of a hand, the building was constructed.  From Micro to Macro in scale.

Model demonstrating the spherical derivation of the roof vaults, Oct 1961

Final spherical scheme, 1962-63. Great circle rib profile in precast reinforced concrete

Another interesting sidelight of this structure is that until the advent of a 3-D computer graphics software package, called, ArchiCAD, no one had been able to “draw” this very complicated structure.  Then a PhD Architectural student, Philip Drew, finally committed this building to paper, using this program.  The photos have been taken from the book Sydney Opera House, by Phillips Drew, and published by Phaidon.

System drawing for stepped cylindrical surfaces in the acoustical reflectors of the Minor Hall


Plaster model of the Minor Hall showing half auditorium shell radial segments with concave profile
Plaster model of the Minor Hall showing half auditorium shell radial segments with concave profile

Drawing of the Side Elevation of the Sydney Opera House
Drawing of the Side Elevation of the Sydney Opera House

When you are thinking about what felt can do, it’s a limitless, 3-dimensional art form, with unlimited possibilities to form any shape imaginable. Look at the scale of something that can be held in the palm of your hand, and imagine it large enough to be used by thousands of people, with the same shape and a change in the scale of the object.

Susan Swain, Architect and Wearable Art Felter

Inspiration – what, where, how & why? by Soosie Jobson

Inspiration is an elusive muse.  When is strikes it is powerful and driving.  When it falters it is depressing and nagging.  So what is “Inspiration”?  It is the driving force behind creativity.  It is the unstated, undefined thing that springs into our heads.  Suddenly you know what it is that you want – no- need to create.

So where do I get my inspiration from?  I am a very visual person so it is no surprise that what I see inspires me.  My last three major projects have been inspired images – my Honours degree in History was driven by a watercolour painting by Thomas Rowlandson “Vauxhall Gardens” 1784, my Zooxanthallae coral reef installation by Glen Cowans photography and my Felted Cactus Garden by Nancy Ballesteros’s holiday images from the USA.  This is not to say that visual things inspire everyone. Sound is a great inspiration for many – that favourite song, guitar riff, bird song or like my car crazed husband the roar of a V8 engine!   Perhaps for you it is smell – baking bread, star jasmine or wet grass.  But it is one of our senses that triggers it because our senses also trigger our memory and emotions.

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How does it work?  Creativity and emotions  are strongly linked – it was once a given that artists had to “suffer for their art”, I don’t think this is true for all but it does show that those who did suffer used that as their inspiration or driving emotion for their art.  I know when I am having a creativity drought it is directly linked to my state of mind – I also know that when my creativity is about to erupt I am usually restless – ready to produce.

Why do we need inspiration?  Life needs inspiration otherwise we will only produce or indeed live the mundane.  What inspires you?


How to find inspiration from the Micro and Macro world by Mary Ann Dawson

Inspiration can come from almost anywhere, but as this subject covers a visual world that we do not usually see, some research was required.

It’s rare, if ever, we are able to see our world from an altitude high enough to remove any of the visual clues we rely upon on a daily basis, making this aspect merely a collection of colours, shapes and textures. For me, this is the ‘macro’ view, but macro will mean different things to different people.

Most of my focus has been on the micro though, merely because my access to visual inspiration has been predominantly in this area. Of course, the same applies to micro that applied to macro. When things become so tiny we can no longer relate them to our world, they become just a visual feast of form, hue and texture. This is what I love, to take something out of its usual reference and use it as an art form.

The next thought process I have is……….

Do I create something based on colour?

Using reference from these very interesting Brainstroming photos of neurons.



Or should I keep it monochromatic using this as inspiration, a microscopic look at a wood cell of a Silver Fir Tree.



Maybe more textural….



Or maybe follow Soosies lead and get into the sculptural side of things, like this fungi.



The choices are somewhat overwhelming! If you don’t know where to actually start, my advice would be to just pick one of the ideas you like, any one of them, and just begin! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, be brave!


MACRO|micro Big to small or small to big? by Soosie Jobson

Since our announcement of MACRO|micro Explorations in Felt excitement has been building through out Feltwest.  At first the idea of macro and micro seemed a little puzzling or even challenging but it didn’t take long for the light globe moments to begin.  So what does macro and micro mean?  The ancient Greeks used this juxtaposition as a basis for their understanding of the universe.  They had a scale at one end was the MACRO – the stars, the night sky, the planet.  At the other end was micro – things they knew existed but they couldn’t see: atoms and molecules although expressed as wind, fire and other elements.  And of course in the middle were humans.

Part of a pair of illustrations in Tycho Brahe’s Astronomiæ instauratæ Mechanica depicting his understanding of the connection between macrocosm and microcosm.

It is interesting that many people have instinctively thought of small things to be made big, maybe the real challenge is to take the really big and make them small.  A regular speaker and friend of Feltwest, Richard Waldendorp, is a master at taking the enormous and presenting it small.  His images of the Australian landscape, taken from planes, translate into magnificent patterns – perhaps an inspiration for our felters.  Turning the MACRO into the micro may not be as ethereal as you might think, I think we do this quite naturally and many of our members have done so in the past:   Sue Eslick has made gorgeous elephant tea cosies, Judi Barkla used the moon as a motif during our Earth exhibition and I have used geological images for patterns and love to recreate things in miniature like my mermaid below.

Either way the is room (and I mean a lot of room) for both the large and the small in our upcoming exhibition.  If you have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to ask and remember there will be discussion at every Toss n Tell.

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MACRO|Micro: Some thoughts for inspiration by Vianne Sleypen

My first thought was what a perfect theme as you can interpret it in so many ways. But then it is so hard too choose what to do…

A thought is to make an ordinary daily object huge.:


An example of a supersized less ordinary object is, the DNA-tower in Kings park, a microscopic small molecule represented as a remarkable landmark:


Basically every felt piece is micro/macro: The wool-top fibres are the micro and everything after that is the macro.  The workshop with Marjolein Dallinga had Micro/macro elements in it by making smaller felt pieces and unite them in one bigger piece. If you make different sizes, whatever object or shape, you’re making something macro / micro. Not everything has to be big as in ‘huge’….



The photography of e.g. Richard Woldendorp is a good example going from macro to micro:

Forest River, Kimberley, Western Australia, Australia. A tidal river system, north-west of Wyndham. Taken 2003 with a Fuji 6x9 camera, a 65mm lens and Velvia 100 film. Appeared in the 2006 ‘Coastline’ exhibition at Boutwell Draper Gallery in Sydney, the 2006 Melbourne Art Fair and the 2007 ‘Richard Woldendorp’ exhibition at Goddard de Fiddes Gallery in Perth. Also in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra collection.
Forest River, Kimberley, Western Australia, Australia. A tidal river system, north-west of Wyndham. Taken 2003 with a Fuji 6×9 camera, a 65mm lens and Velvia 100 film. Appeared in the 2006 ‘Coastline’ exhibition at Boutwell Draper Gallery in Sydney, the 2006 Melbourne Art Fair and the 2007 ‘Richard Woldendorp’ exhibition at Goddard de Fiddes Gallery in Perth. Also in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra collection.


Colour is a big passion of mine.

You can also think of colours if you’re thinking about macro or micro. For everyone a ‘macro’ or ‘micro’ colour is different, because colours give a personal feeling or sensation.


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So good luck with the inspiration to find that GREAT idea; THINK BIG and it will happen:-)