June Toss n Tell by Judith Shaw

Soosie passed on her well researched information on how to felt to a predetermined size.  Many aspects of how the shrink rate is influenced, covered estimates of  minimum and maximum shrinkage rates with good general advice to “make a sample”  using the same materials which will be used in the final piece.  Satisfactory shrink rates for well finished felt range from a minimum of 1.7 to 2+.


Toss ‘N Tell began with colourful collars from Virginia Campbell, Karen Woods and Teresa O’Malley. Inspiration from Karen’s creations came at the recent Retreat weekend.  Swirls of silk flowers merged with wool to magic effect. When Virginia needed help to have her collar lay smoothly, she was glad to have the useful hint of making a tuck in the curved edge.

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Alison Gomes fine layout technique inspired the red scarf from  Fily Geschichten who also showed a  reworked and resized piece in Alpaca. Soosie Jobson showed two of the pieces from her forthcoming book “Structural and Complete 3D” these works involved multiple resists and the use of negative space.  Her workshop is in October.

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Vianne Sleypen produced necklets using wool, silk and cotton, each piece unique.   Marie Marshall also made a collar with silk and wool in blue tones and showed her post-retreat pieces of scarves, red toned, lattice style in purple and blues and a large wrap from a selection of silks and colours. Marie brought along welcome visitors Lynn and Margie. Patricia Kendall showed a two piece machine knit she had created in silver grey with frontispiece and a cardigan covered in matching lace. Always good to see creative artists work. Gudrun made an amazing tunic in warm reds, fine wool embellishments on silk. The layout size required four trestle tables for this one piece garment. When Gudrun told us she was thinking of cutting off the excess fabric at the bottom, the comment was unanimous, leave this perfect piece as it is.

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Alison Gomes showed her amazing long scarf made from many pieces of cut silk, butted together and joined with fine wool. Beautiful colours and effects for special occasion wear.  Both Alison and Mary-Ann Dawson used  time at the Retreat to try the resist technique which creates a geometric design by cutting into the top layer of felt, up to the resist, to expose  part of the contrasting colour in a middle layer. Alison used 12 fine layers of wool. She suggests that the top and bottom layers should be equal in thickness.

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Vera spoke about teaching craft from stories and visits to inspiring  places such as Underwater World produced work based on contributions from 2 to 3 year olds . Children enjoyed the water play and throwing involved. The1 by 2 metre wool and silk based artwork featured  colourful sea life . Potentially, toddlers work can aid creativity of the teachers. It was noted that the final felting had been stopped to retain the full effect of the silk  features and the backing of fine black silk enhanced the effect.  Next work using felt, perhaps masks.  Sue Harrington showed her hand woven/knitted and dyed textile purchases from her recent trip to Peru. Beautiful colours showed how skillful they are at their craft.


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In showing her sari silk collar of red and orange roses, Teresa passed on the advice that this type of work requires slow felting. Jill Jodrill made an elegant backpack in a mix of blues, lined and with leather trim.   Mary–Ann Dawson  produced a range  of works, experimenting with a variety of pieces. Pebbles of rock from the ground outside the Retreat venue were trapped under muslin on white felt. ‘Cracked Earth’ earth was the title for the white over a core of blue/brown, using a resist to achieve the cracked earth effect.  Her ‘circle of rocks’ was cut into to expose the underlining lumps of  coloured felt.

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