Nuno Scarves- A Focus on Design Workshop Review

Nuno Scarves – A Focus on Design – Workshop Review
by Virginia Campbell

Many members will be familiar with the very fine, skilfully designed, beautifully coloured and exquisitely draping nuno felted scarves and wraps of fellow FeltWest member, Alison Gomes. So it was with great delight that 12 of us anticipated her workshop at Craft House on 2 May to learn how to improve our nuno felting technique and design while experimenting with different ways of creating nuno felt.
Alison began the workshop by reminding us of some basic key principles of felting including the importance of choosing the correct wool for the project and avoiding the mixing of different types of wool fibre to achieve a more even finish, and laying an even number of fine wool layers in both directions (rather than fewer thick layers of wool) to improve the finished piece’s drape ability, and to achieve even shrinkage, finer texture and better overall strength. She demonstrated how she lays wool finely and discussed the number of layers of wool she had laid in various sample pieces. She discussed factors affecting shrinkage (the less wool used the greater the shrinkage will be, and shrinkage will be in the direction the fibres are laid and also in the direction in which it is rolled) , how to avoid creases (don’t roll the piece too tightly, lift your noodle when rolling up a piece) and how to avoid distortion occurring when fulling ( regularly checking your piece, spreading it open, stretching it into shape with your palms, not finger tips). She spoke of gently rinsing the felted piece in several changes of tepid then cooler water to remove all residue of soap, gently squeezing the excess water out, laying the piece flat and when it is still slightly damp, ironing it on the reverse side (lifting the iron to press the piece, rather than dragging the iron across the work) to give a beautiful flat finish.

alison.gomes.4.12-05-2015 599

alison.gomes.5.12-05-2015 563
She then discussed choosing fabrics to use in nuno felting – preferably those which are lightweight, open weave and made of natural fibres like open weave silks, chiffon, organza, georgette, silk velvet, rayon, cotton voile, viscose, muslin. Alison recommended that before using a fabric for the first time you should always checking the fabric is colourfast and iron it, especially if you intend cutting shapes from it.
Alison discussed 6 different ways of creating nuno felt:
1. Using a fabric base with a wool design (wool roving or wool pre felt cut into shapes) arranged over it,
2. Laying a wool base with fabric motifs placed on it,
3. Creating a wool design laminated between two layers of fabric,
4. Entrapping non- feltable objects between wool and fabric layers, thereby creating texture or shapes,
5. Using wool and fabric in the one layer
6. Creating nuno pre felts, cutting out those pre felts and placing them on a fabric base
She illustrated these techniques with numerous examples of her work which she passed around together with various fabric pieces she had used. We were able to see and feel the textures which had been achieved using these techniques and different fabric examples.

alison.gomes.2.12-05-2015 579

alison.gomes.12-05-2015 567

Alison mentioned a number of helpful tips including lining any fabric motifs to be placed on a wool or fabric base with appropriate coloured wool to “intensify” the colour of the fabric motifs, cutting fabric motifs larger than the size ultimately desired to allow for their shrinkage in the felting process, and using nuno pre felts and hand laid roving pre felts or machine needled pre felts to achieve precise shapes, (but note with cut pre felt shapes there will be some feathering of the cut ends of the wool onto the background).
Alison then discussed a number of design principles we can apply to our work to help create beautiful harmonious designs, encouraging us to consider concepts of balance, repetition, movement, scale, use of negative space and possible themes such as floral, geometric, abstract, when designing a piece. She recommended sketching a design at the outset before embarking on laying out your piece to help clarify the materials you will use and the design principles you will apply. She also discussed colour as a powerful design tool and the effects which can be achieved through the use of different colours. She brought along numerous images from a variety of magazines to illustrate diverse colour combinations and to help inspire us to be brave and to try something new – to consider moving from classic combinations of colour to experimenting with unusual pairing of hues to bring originality and freshness to a design.
Then we were off to work – creating samples of the various techniques we had observed, using colour in more adventurous ways than we might have initially envisaged, and some of us launched into designing some bigger pieces incorporating a number of different nuno felting techniques and colour combinations.
Throughout the remainder of the workshop Alison visited with us all individually, suggesting, advising, encouraging, assisting, consulting, inspiring. We all very much appreciated Alison’s clear explanations and instruction throughout the workshop , her thoughtful provision of a large quantity of diverse, illustrative materials and her individual assistance with our developing nuno felting projects in the afternoon. She also generously provided us all with comprehensive notes of the morning’s instruction session which we were able to take home for later reference if needed. It was a wonderful workshop with plenty of sharing, learning, fun and new friendships. We’re all looking forward to the next Toss n Tell to see more of the results of the day.

Toss n Tell March 2015 by Virginia Campbell

Toss n Tell Meeting 21 March 2015 and Demonstration by Sue Eslick

Before the formal part of our meeting commenced we watched a very informative demonstration by Sue Eslick on “How to Make Classy Cords”
Sue started the demonstration by laying out on bubble wrap 2 layers of wool in crosshatch pattern (ie one layer of wool laid on the diagonal then covered by a second layer of wool laid on the opposite diagonal). She suggested laying a minimum of 2 layers – more layers if you want a thicker cord. She then sprayed it with soapy water (but not too soapy). She laid a very thin length of string the length of the laid out wool, with a little bit of the string protruding on each side of the length of the laid wool . She also placed wooden kebab sticks along the length of the laid out wool. These sticks very slightly overlapped where the sticks joined each other to achieve the length of the laid out wool, and protruded slightly at each end of the laid wool. She then pulled the bubble wrap up to cause the wool to roll over, then gently with her fingers rolled it in one direction (not backwards and forwards – just one direction).

DSC_0682 DSC_0689

She cautioned against making the roll too tight initially as it makes it very difficult to remove the wooden sticks, which you need to do after a short time if you want to make a solid cord. She pulled the kebab sticks out where they were protruding from the ends of the roll and then made a small cut in the roll at the point the kebab sticks were overlapping in the middle and removed the middle stick(s). After removing the sticks she kept rolling.
Sue noted that if you lean on the cord while you are rolling it, it will stretch and become longer and thinner. So at this point you need to think how long and then you want it! After it had become very firm from the rolling, Sue put it in a shushi mat and rolled it more. She said this helps it to become felted more quickly. She recommended also rolling on a ribbed rubber mat purchased from Clark Rubber as this too can help speed up the felting process. She suggested that if you notice it is becoming hairy as you roll it, you need to add more soap and water.
When she wanted to join the 2 ends of the cord together Sue first tied together the 2 ends of the thin string protruding from each end of the cord, covered the tie with a small amount of wool, then rubbed and rolled the join until it felted together. She noted that if you want to make a very long cord it is easier to make the cord in sections and then join those sections together (in the way described above), rather than trying to roll one very long tube all at once.

DSC_0693  DSC_0698

DSC_0695 DSC_0699 DSC_0713
While kebab sticks can be suitable to assist in making thinner cords, different thicknesses of cord can be achieved by using other objects to roll the cord around initially. It depends on how thick you want the cord to be: knitting needles, foam tubes from Bunnings, hollow tubing from Clark Rubber can all be useful! Different effects can be achieved by commencing laying wool and rolling it around a wide tube and then transferring the cord to a narrower tube. Or you can continue to roll the cord on the wide tube, then remove the tube. The hollow cord can then be cut up to make hollow beads. You can create a cord with a concertina texture by commencing to lay the cord around a thick knitting needle, rolling it, then transferring the wool tube to cover a narrower foam tube and in the process, pushing the wool tube together and letting it dry scrunched up on the narrower tube. Sue showed us a number of different effects which can be achieved in using these different resists. The concertina texture cord idea, for example, makes a very interesting necklace.
We were very delighted to learn these special techniques and tricks which will help us when wanting to create a good looking, well felted cord. Many thanks to Sue for sharing her skills and experiences in this interesting demonstration.

President Sue Harrington opened the meeting with several announcements of exciting forthcoming FeltWest events including the fact that bookings were open to register for our annual Retreat at Muresk 28 May – 31 May 2015. Members were advised that they need to first log onto our website to enable them to get through to the relevant section of the website to register. The early bird price for the full retreat is $340 and includes all lunches, dinners and 2 trestle tables, as well as lots of felting fun and camaraderie.
Sue expressed our grateful thanks to Jennifer Blair and Liz Odd for their generous and continuing work over many years in creating the raffle prize awarded at each Toss n Tell meeting to a lucky winner. She advised that in future there will be 2 raffles drawn in a year – at the AGM in August and at the Christmas lunch in November. You still need to take a raffle ticket when you pay $2 at the beginning of a Toss n Tell meeting but be sure to legibly write your name on the ticket stubb and keep your ticket because these are the tickets from which the super raffles will be drawn at the August and November meetings.

DSC_0715 DSC_0717
Sue also again invited all members interested in teaching beginners’ workshops to apply to do so by sending a short summary of their teaching and felting experience to our workshop co ordinator, Sue Eslick.
FeltWest again has a stall at the Craft and Quilt Fair held at the Perth Convention Centre 20 – 24 May 2015. Mary Ann Dawson, Chris Gray and Alison Gomes are co ordinating the stall. A roster for members to work on the stall on morning or afternoon shifts has been drawn up but there are still a number of spare places which need to be filled and we are looking for more volunteers to add to the roster. Please contact Chris, Mary Ann, or Alison if you are able to help. Working on a morning or afternoon shift on the stall entitles the volunteer to free entry to the Fair for the day!
Sue expressed our great appreciation to Antoinette Boyd for her continuing inspiration, hard work, and dedication of time in the creation of our much enjoyed, wonderful magazine, Retrospective.

Sue Eslick spoke about the forthcoming felted bag workshop which she will be teaching over 1 ½ days on Saturday 4th and the morning of Sunday 5th July 2015 at Craft House. The cost will be $75. She brought along to the meeting a gorgeous moss green (in texture and colour) felted bag to show us an example of what participants will be able to make at the workshop.
Christiane Gray opened our Library this morning and brought along three beautifully decorated felted necklaces she had made. Unfortunately she had to leave to go to work before the Toss n Tell part of the meeting commenced but we did manage to get some photos of them before she left.
Ai Lin showed us a beautiful red felted flower she had made for Remembrance Day and a very fine wool and silk brown and purple wrap. She said she had pulled the silk lap so finely in the course of laying the piece that she had lost the texture of the silk lap but the silk sheen was still very evident and the wrap draped beautifully.

Liz Odd had also made a finely felted, beautifully draping wrap, laying a fine layer of grey wool on an attractive animal print silk fabric length.
Helen Climas discussed her initial difficulty when making her crescent shaped thin grey and white nuno felted scarf. She had used a waterproof pen to mark out the crescent shape but found after laying out the piece that the colour of the pen’s ink had transferred onto the fabric. This she resolved by pushing the ink to the edges of the piece, with a very pleasing final result.
Jeanette Humphries showed us her fitted and very fashionable bright pink and orange sleeveless silk lap felted dress. She said she achieved the effect by cross hatching wool strips over a pulled silk lap stretched over a resist. She added silk hankies where the silk lap couldn’t be sufficiently stretched far enough and said she was fortunate to find a light slip in bright pink to wear under the dress!
Sara Quail displayed her very attractive orange felted bag with long cord shoulder strap. She said it was made of Corriedale wool of 4 layers decorated with silk ribbon.

DSC_0720  DSC_0722
Juliet Hargreaves had made exquisite large dramatic green and teal felted sculptures and grey and white felted sculptures featuring separate contrasting wool layers opening up at the front of the sculptures, attached to each other at the back, and decorated with small felted beads.
In conclusion, Sue Harrington shared with us her felted beach rock from New Zealand. Alison Gomes won the raffle!

Marjolein Dallinga workshop review

046  IMG_0708 

IMG_0712  033


A very lucky group of women spent 3 days playing with felt under the gentle guidance of Marjolein Dallinga from Canada.

We experimented with different ways of laying out wool – fine, thick, diagonal, concentric, radial, herringbone. We thought of using colour as changing moods or emotions. We played with different shapes and multiple resists using both internal and external images as guides. We massaged, rolled, kneaded, tossed, stretched and loved our felt into weird and wonderful sculptures. Here are some of the things that participants said about the workshop:

‘Very inspiring, I loved the exercises that influenced our creativity and freedom to try’.

‘Brilliant three days. – well paced and lots of nudging to get out of my comfort zone. Delighted to end with two completed projects, and lots of intentions to do more!’.

‘I learned so much about felting, kneading and sculpturing with wool. Inspiring workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed it’.

‘Marjolein was an amazing person and tutor – her gentle teaching technique was just what I needed as a beginner without the confidence that comes with experience. It was truly a journey and I learnt as much about myself as I did about felting.’

‘Three days of blissful felting with a wonderfully calm yet exciting tutor. We completed two amazing works of art and took away many lessons to incorporate into our future creations. Thank you.’

‘This workshop was without doubt the most wonderful experience! I have so enjoyed all the new ideas that I hope will give me the inspiration to further my felting creations!’

‘The 3 days workshop from Marjolein was a beautiful journey with felt, emotions, colour and shapes. Different lay out from the wool; thick , thin, using fabric resulting in objects one of a kind. Everything we learned will changed my work for the future, with a lot of new creativity!

‘Marjolein brought a relaxing, calming ‘get lost in it’ workshop to us. Where did the 3 days go? The felted works brought surprise with colour, complexity and intricacy. Marjolein’s calm influence brought focus and creativity to the 3 days and I can’t wait for her to come back again… please?! Above all she gave us inspiration to continue our individual journeys into felting and creating.   THANK YOU Marjolein.

Web News

We now have Gift Certificates!

If you would like to gift a Feltwest workshop or membership to a friend purchase a gift certificate, enter your friend’s email address and a little note and the virtual world takes care of the rest!

Great idea for birthdays and Christmas.

Click here for more info.

Toss and Tell February 2015 by Sue Eslick

Sue welcomed everyone to the first Toss and Tell of the year, especially the six new members.

This month’s demonstration was in memory of Judy Calderwood, who sadly passed away in April last year. Judy had previously farmed sheep and was skilled and creative in many crafts, including felting. Judy and some Feltwest friends had put lots of work into preparing a demonstration about the qualities of different types of wool, which Jan kindly presented.

Jan spoke briefly about the history of wool in Australia. Meat sheep were first brought over by the first fleet, wool sheep were brought over later, and most Australian sheep come from Spanish stock.

Jan spoke of the unique properties of wool – it absorbs a lot of moisture and breathes, making it ideal for clothing for outdoor activities, it is warm, fire retardant, it is a renewable resource etc. The properties of wool from different varieties of sheep differ. Merino wool is soft and drapes well making it ideal for clothing. The wool from some other sheep is hard wearing, making it good for carpets, and/or very firm making it good for sculptures.

Under a microscope, scales can be seen on the wool fibre. The fibres become entangled in the felting process, and the scales prevent it from untangling, hence the closer the scales, the easier it is to felt.

Wool can be described by:

Microns – the radius of the fibre. The fines merino can have a micron as low as 11. Whilst coarse wool might have a micron of 28.

Staple length – the length of the individual fibre. Merino staple is usually 7-9cm

Crimp – the distance between the ‘waves’ in the fibre. The closer the crimp the finer the wool

Jan brought along lots of examples of different types of wool, and samples of how it felted.

Thank you to Jan for a very interesting presentation, and to Judy, Jill and others who have helped in the preparation.

All members should have received a copy of the latest Retrospective in January. Thank you very much to Antoinette for producing this for us. It is very much appreciated.
Thanks were also given to Soosie Jobson who has done such a great job on the website, and sends out the monthly enews.

Upcoming events:
7th April – slide show with Marjolein Dallinga (to be confirmed)
7th May – nuno workshop with Alison Gomes
18th May – crochet jewelry workshop with Prudence Mapstone.

Fire at Craft House: – Back in November, there was a small fire outside Craft House. Fortunately it was easily extinguished and no harm was done, however, this alerted us to the need to be better informed about the fire drill should the need arise. We will provide further advice on this, but members should note the notice on the kitchen door with the after-hours number for the City of Stirling to call in case of any urgent building issues.

Felt Magazine: The December issue of the Australian Felt Magazine had a one page article about Feltwest, check it out.

2015 Craft and Quilt Fair 20th – 24th May:
Volunteers are needed to coordinate the Feltwest stall at the Craft and Quilt Fair this year. This involves compiling the roster of volunteers, putting together the Feltwest display at the beginning of the fair, and taking it down at the end of the fair. If 2-3 people volunteer to coordinate it, it’s not very time consuming and lots of fun. No experience needed. Volunteers are also needed to staff the stall for half a day and demonstrate how to make felt (volunteers get free entry to the fair). Contact any Committee member if you think you might be interested.

Craft House Open Day Sunday 3rd May
Craft House holds an open day every second year, for the local community and other interested people to check out the different groups and activities that meet here. Thank you to Judith Shaw, Jill Jodrell and MaryAnn Dawson for volunteering to organise the Feltwest stall at this year’s Open Day. Again, they will be seeking volunteers to look after the stall and demonstrate felt making.

Felting Skills
The Feltwest Committee is planning to develop a ‘framework’ to spell out the range of skills required in making felt. This includes the skills required for basic felt making, and how we can build upon those to gain expertise in different aspects of felting – nuno, sculptural felt, jewelry, pictures, rugs etc. This should help us all in seeking to develop our skills further – whether it’s attending a workshop, on-line training, or seeking advice from more experienced felters.

Arty April in Claremont
As part of Arty April, the Town of Claremont is having a Boutique Design Market on 19th April, 11am – 3pm. Look on the Town of Claremont website for more information.

Toss and Tell
Feltwest members brought along some of the lovely work they have been doing over the summer period:

Dawn showed us two beautiful silk scarves she has made from mixing commercially dyed silk with some hand dyed shibori. She finished the edges using the technique shown to us last year by Lyn Blasgund.

Gudren was wearing a white dress that she embellished with red fabric and felt following Heather’s Reuse, remake, refashion workshop. It looked stunning.

Liz Odd brought along two beautiful silk scarves that she has felted for a friend.

Sue Eslick showed the dress and skirt that she has refashioned at Heather’s workshop. Sue also showed two bags which show some of the skills to be leaned at the Feltwest bag making workshop in July.

Chris showed us the beautiful jacket and dress that she is refashioning following Heather’s workshop. Got to get them finished Chris, they look great!

Katrina is running a pendant making workshop in Mundaring on 15th March. She also has some items in the current exhibition on at the Mundaring Arts Centre. See Feltwest website for more information.

Alison brought along a stunning scarf using paj silk circles felted onto a tissue silk background to show what people will be learning at the nuno workshop in May.

Soosie showed us an amazing piece called Betelguese. We’re not sure what it is, but it’s not a cactus! Soosie is writing a new book to demonstrate the skills used in producing Betelguese and her cacti.

Vianne also attended Heather’s reuse, redesign, remake workshop and showed us her skirt with a bold screen printed design.

Judith has been very busy over the summer and brought along a range of new felt, including a cushion cover and felt flowers. Judith also modelled an apron that she has made from remodeling a men’s shirt. It’s a great design Judith, thank you.

JudithShaw3  JudithShawNecklace Vianne


Sarah is an experienced textile artist but new to felting. She has been doing the Fiona Duthie on-line felting course and has made a set of beautifully felted samples showing the use of resists, trapped objects, needle felting, shading wool, craters etc.

Linda showed a beautifully felted sample that she has just made in the beginner’s workshop, showing blending of colours and nuno techniques.

The raffle basket this month was won by Debbie. Raffle baskets are put together by Liz Odd using donated items. Donations are requested for nice pieces of fabric, wool, sewing notions – things that you would like to receive yourself…. Bring them along next month to the Tuesday or Saturday groups.

REMAKE, REUSE, REFASHION workshop with Heather Davis by Mary Ann Dawson

I wasn’t sure exactly which direction the day was going to take but I had raided my stash of felted ufo’s and collected my old clothes and bought some “new” ones from the op shop, so I was as prepared as I could be for the unexpected.
Heather had everything set up ready for our arrival. Tables ready for sewing machines, and other tables ready for cutting out the stencils for screen printing….yes, screen printing…. and there was a dye pot out the back. Heather offered us so many options for re modeling/cycling our garments.
After Heather went through the concept of re-making and re-cycling garments, our objective became clearer. She showed us examples of garments she had re-created, keeping existing hems, necklines and button features (all those fiddly bits to do) and adding decorative features with free machining or cutting and splicing fabric together. She showed us ideas for printing, stitch embellishment and dying. The options are endless!
Heather came around to each of us to discuss what we could create with what we had brought. Her advice inspired many and the results were both surprising and varied.
It was a busy and exciting day as we were all trying to fit in all the options available to us. Some things were quick to do and completed on the day and some things we had to take home to finish, all in all a very inspiring day.
Heather, as usual, was very prepared and professional and gave of her skills and ideas readily. Thank you Heather for an interesting workshop. I think we have only just seen the tip of the iceberg!


image1a image1b image1d

image1f image2 image2b

image2d image2e image3b

image3c image3d image4