This 2 day workshop will explore a unique abstract painterly-like method of working with Silk Hankies. Feltmakers first impressions of Silk Hankies are usually one of frustration. Learn how to transform this experience into creative bliss. Silk Hankies possess unique properties which create gloriously lustrous and textural surfaces when laminated with minimal amounts of superfine merino and silk fabric. We will experiment creating a variety of different visual effects with the hankies. We will explore design ideas including edge extensions, unusual bottom finishes as well as working your design on both sides. A variety of silk fabrics may also be incorporated into the design work. Specific fulling techniques will be taught to ensure proper quality felt. Embellishment ideas to be explored as time allows, particularly hand stitching with a self-made silk thread.
Silk hankies traditionally have been underutilised as a source of silk by felt makers. You may ask “what is so special about a Silk Hanky”? A silk cocoon is spun by a caterpillar as one continuous strand of silk. Each hanky is made from a degummed silk cocoon that has been pierced and stretched over a square frame (resembling the shape of a handkerchief), and then stacked layer upon layer. Hankies have the amazing property of being very strong and behave as a continuous mass, the fibre have not been cut like in a silk top.
Nancy Ballesteros has passionately worked with fabric all her life. She spent most of her childhood sewing and then was introduced to spinning, felting and dyeing while at university. These elements quickly took over as her life’s passion and she hatched a fibre business called Treetops Colour Harmonies in 1987. Since moving to Australia in 1990, Treetops continued to grow into a successful international web-based company offering felting supplies for discerning felt makers. She has taught felting for many years before taking a break to raise her two children and run Treetops. Since 2014, she began teaching again in Australia, Europe and the USA, mostly concentrating on unravelling the mysteries of working with superfine Merino and Nuno felting. Nancy was instrumental in developing the technique of Silk ‘Paper’. She has written about felting in numerous publications and participated in many workshops and master classes.