REVIEW of Nancy Ballesteros’s SHIFTING SHAPES Workshop by Sue Eslick – Twelve keen participants gathered for a three day workshop on felting with silk hankies to create fabulous new fabrics. People attended from all over WA, and one person came from Queensland! It was good to meet with some new Feltwest members who had joined up specifically in order to attend and we hope to see more of them in the future.
This 3 day workshop was full on and not for the fainthearted! Nancy expertly guided participants through the detailed and complex process of making beautiful felted silk garments and wraps.
Nancy brought along a wide variety of sample garments for people to try-on and find the shape and colour palette that best suited them. Everyone appreciated the availability of extra wool, fabric and other materials from Treetops, which allowed people to change their plans on the day.
Patterns were traced and adjusted to the individual.
Everyone had a different approach to design. Whilst many people had a firm idea that they worked too, others laid out silk hankies in a random riot of colour. Nancy advised on how colours interact in the felting process and coached participants through the decisions on design, colour and layout of the silk hankies and wool. A few people decided to practice using silk hankies by making a wrap or length of fabric rather than a garment.
Nancy explained that in order to make a finished garment that fitted, everyone needed to use the recommended wool in the stated quantities. Too much wool and it might end up too big, too little wool and it might be too small. Everyone heeded Nancy’s advice and weighed their wool, making sure to use the same amount on the front and back. There were also loads of helpful tips and advice on nuno felting and handling large projects with relative ease.
People were very pleased to hear that they could take their pieces home to felt in the dryer instead of rolling them. On Sunday morning it was magic to see how the pieces had transformed after their time in the dryer the previous evening.
Participants were shown how to fit the garment to their body shape, and how to full the felt to make quality fabric that fitted in all the right places.
On Sunday afternoon, Nancy spent some time teaching different options for closures, fasteners and hemming the garments to create a neat and professional finish.
At the end of the three days, everyone went away very happy with a spectacular piece of felted fabric, and if they hadn’t already finished, they left with the skills and knowledge to finish the rest of the garment at home. Nancy was very generous with her sharing and help making it a fun and productive workshop. She also offered to provide further help to people if they drop in at Treetops. Thank you Nancy for a wonderful workshop.