May J. Hvistendahl is an internationally renowned felt artist from Norway. Since 1985 she has operated her full time felting studio Ullhuset (Woolhouse). Her specialty is nuno-felted clothing; designing and creating well-fitted, lightweight and durable garments using innovative techniques she has developed over 25 years. May teaches throughout Norway and internationally, including Japan, USA, Australia (2000 & 2005), and throughout Europe. She has written two books on felting (both in Norwegian) and her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions. She is the founder of the Norwegian Feltmaker Association (1995) and was its inaugural president for three years. May lives and works on a small island near Kragerø on the Norwegian south coast and runs annual workshops from her studio there. www.filtmaker.no
May Jacobsen Hvistendahl tutored the Nuno Felt Tops workshop at FeltWEST in Perth in April 2019. The workshop the participants learnt to make an elegant and unique nuno-felted garment made of silk fabrics and fine merino wool. It is all about personal design, and the wonders of fibre direction.
May taught how to customize a pattern for individual size and design. Demonstrated design techniques so the garment would be light and elegant, well felted and full of drape. The choices were a sleeveless top, a blouse with short sleeves, or an open vest. Or make it a little longer and call it a mini dress.
As you can see from the results the variety was wonderful and as individual as the designer.
May talked about fibre direction and the effect this has on the garment, and how to use this to your advantage when designing.
It is important to do a sample to ensure your shrinkage rate is correct for you, thus ensuring the garment will fit.
May was very generous with her knowledge and time and all participants completed a garment in the 2 days. An excellent workshop and we all came away with many more ideas for the next garment.
Thank you very much May, and we all wished we lived in Norway near May’s Island, where the water ensures a great felt with a lot fewer rolls.
- Report and photo’s by Liz Owens