Bird Mask Workshop…..

Bird Mask Workshop with Gladys Paulus

Last week I attended a wonderful four-day Bird Mask Workshop with Internally renowned feltmaker Gladys Paulus at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh near Perth.

Gladys has been high on my list of tutors I’ve wanted to work ever since I started felting.  Her three-dimensional work is exceptional and she is such a warm and generous tutor.

The first layer of fibres are laid down around a resist in the shape of a birds head.

Layer one of my bird mask

I chose to make my mask using Bergschaf fibres and originally he was going to be a red kite……I soon realised I wasn’t going to achieve that aim in the time we had so he morphed into a generic bird of prey!  Apologies for the fuzzy images but with a four-day schedule time was always going to be tight so photography wasn’t high on my list of priorities!

Sandra making her Blue Jay

Diana working on her Cockatoo

Caroline shaping her mask

Liz was always one step ahead of the group!

Sharnie working on her Lapwing

We all learnt such a lot in the four days and everyone came away excited and very pleased with their finished piece of work…..

A gaggle of bird masks!

My bird of prey mask

Thanks to Gladys for an inspirational workshop and many thanks to Alison and Netty at Big Cat Textiles for looking after us and being such wonderful hosts!

Bergschaf Clutch Bag…..

Today I was back at the Simply Stitch studio in East Keswick to deliver a wet felting workshop for owner Nicola Hulme and ten ladies who were there to make their version of my Irit Dulman inspired Bergschaf Clutch Bag.

Mottled Irit Dulman inspired clutch bag

Two-tone Irit Dulman inspired clutch bag.

For at least two of the ladies this would be their first introduction to Felting around a resist.

I know that if I chose the colours and put together specific kits and made students follow my instructions to the letter we would all be done in the time allowed and be taking home a finished item………..but I can’t do that!  The last thing I want is for everyone to take home the same item!

When I deliver a workshop I like to encourage students to make the piece their own and this means allowing time to think, discuss options and take risks…..this morning was no exception!

As a result the ladies have all worked flat-out and produced a bag which is unique to them.  They are almost but not quite finished.  When I get photos of the completed work I will post an update.

Thanks to Nicola for hosting the workshop and keeping us all in coffee and biscuits and to all the ladies who took part….including Janet who managed to run away and hide when I took the final photo!  Hope to see you all again.

Bergschaf Clutch Bag…..

A beautifully illustrated book showcasing the versatility of felt.

One of my favourite books is 500 Felt Objects by Lark Crafts.  It isn’t a “how to” book…..it’s more of a “wow, just look at this, it’s made of felt” type book.  It’s crammed with inspirational photographs of beautiful work showcasing the versatility of felt.  It’s a must for anyone passionate about this medium.    Page 209 features a fabulous bag created by Irit Dulman using Bergschaf and Norwegian wool.

Irit Dulman bag created from Bergschaf and Norwegian wool

This is my small grey/green Bergschaf clutch bag inspired by Irit’s bag.

My second bag is my favourite.  It has a lower relief and a more mottled colouring which I am really pleased with.

Mottled Irit Dulman inspired Clutch bag

Weekend Workshop with Mandy Nash…..

My little group, Felt Inspired, have just played host to a wonderful wet felting weekend workshop with felt maker Mandy Nash.  The four “Inspired” regulars myself, Rosie, Dreda and Pat were joined by Jane, Enid, Joan, Helen, Sandra and Robyn (Feltybits).  As well as being an inspiring tutor, Mandy, who travelled up from Llantrisant, is Vice Chair, exhibitions officer and a regional co-ordinator of the International Feltmakers Association.

Mandy Nash

The morning began with Mandy showing the ten of us examples of her wonderful wet felted objects, including hats, bags, funky fish and vessels, mainly created using Bergschaf wool.

A small selection of Mandy’s work

Some of the ladies were keen to experiment with the “book” resist technique with five of them making vessels while  Robyn decided she would like to make a fish.

Sandra working with a book resist

Robyn’s fish & bowl, Rosie’s festival hat, Sandra’s coastline inspired vessel (centre) and Pats four-sided vessel (right)

The rest of us chose to make a hat using a flat resist and added embellishment.  In addition Mandy talked us through the various surface design techniques she uses and demonstrated how we could achieve these effects using Bergschaf wool batts.

Rosie working on her festival hat

Joan made a beautiful bowler hat with slash detail

Enid’s 3 sided two-tone grey vessel, Jane’s dark blue & Dreda’s light blue vessel.

Helen and I were both smitten with Mandy’s “fern” hat so chose to make that……


Helen’s “fern” hat

My fern hat

Many thanks to Mandy for an inspiring two days and thanks to all the ladies who participated.  If anyone would like to join our group we meet on the second Wednesday of the month at Belchford Village Hall.  For more information please use the contact form.

A quick catch up…..

This is a quick catch up post, just to record a couple of felting projects that were recently finished.  The first is a pair of Bergschaf slipper boots, an early present to myself!  I made them using a scaled up version (and then some!) of the fairy boots I made in the summer.  The two boots are made as one, using a flat resist, and then cut apart before fulling and shaping.  They are the warmest and most comfortable slippers I have ever had.  I can see these lasting for years so I’m intending to embellish them with hand embroidery at some point over Christmas.

Grey Bergschaf wet felted slipper boots

Grey Bergschaf wet felted slipper boots

The second project was a wet felted cushion for my elderly aunt who is nearly 90 yrs young and loves warm colours, particularly orange.  She lives in a small flat, there is nothing she actually needs but she does love anything felted so I thought this Merino cushion would be something she could get some enjoyment from looking at.

Daphne's wet felted floral cushion.

Daphne’s wet felted floral cushion.

Marjolein Dallinga Workshop…

Last week I rode down to South Wales to attend a two day Marjolein Dallinga Workshop with the ladies from Region 12 of the IFA, organised by Mandy Nash.  Originally from the Netherlands Marjolein, an internationally renowned Feltmaker, now lives in Canada and I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that, not only was she in the UK but that there was a spare place on one of her workshops!

The workshop was held at The Model House Craft & Design Centre in Llantrisant.  positioned at the top of the hill, close to the castle ruins.  The Model House has a gallery and gift shop on the ground floor and then several more floors consisting of more sales areas and craft studios where you can watch the resident artists, including Mandy, at work.

Marjolein’s workshop was different to any other I’ve attended.  The first difference was that she didn’t bring along any of her work as she didn’t want us to be influenced by it.  The second difference was that normally you would know  at the outset that you are making a bowl or a waistcoat or a picture, etc……we knew nothing!  What we were told was that we should allow ourselves the freedom of making something just for the enjoyment of “play”.  The aim was to allow our creativity to come to the fore and experiment with colours and shapes, with no preconceived idea of what the end product should, or would, eventually look like.

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We were asked to use different colour combinations at different stages of our work, some which we particularly liked, some we didn’t like, some warm, some cold. The idea was to get us to use colours we wouldn’t normally work with and to experience the changes in those colours, and in our perception of them, as they blend and merge together.

We made two pieces, the first was based on an egg shape and represented our “inner energy”.  Unfortunately I was so engrossed in what we were doing I forgot to take a photo of mine but you can see the basic shape and size from the one that Mandy has in the centre of her table…..

Mandy working on her two experimental pieces

Mandy working on her two experimental pieces

Our second piece represented our “outer energy”…..

My "outer energy" piece with resist removed

My “outer energy” piece with resist removed

Pleats are sewn into the prefelt before completing the felting & fulling.

Pleats are sewn into the prefelt before completing the felting & fulling.

My finished "Outer Energy" sculpture. It makes me think of a fossilised ballet shoe!

My finished “Outer Energy” sculpture, it makes me think of a fossilised ballet shoe!

.....and other side.

…..and the other side.

My finished "Inner Energy" sculpture

My finished “Inner Energy” sculpture

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…..and the other side.

My two finished pieces are completely different, both having been pleated, fulled and cut away.  Once again I learnt such a lot, met some lovely people and came away inspired!  It was a privilege to spend time with Marjolein.  Not only is she incredibly talented but she has a very calm and warm personality and you really couldn’t wish to meet a nicer person,  Here’s hoping she comes back to the UK very soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two of the Experimental Sculptural Forms…..

Day two of the Experimental Sculptural Forms Workshop with Mandy Nash and we had a few new faces join us.  Those of us doing the two days got straight on with our projects while Mandy talked through the process with the newbies.

Getting down to detail.

Getting down to detail.

Room full of ladies at a wet felting workshop in Arnesby Village Hall

A hive of activity!

Several ladies completely finished their fish by the end of the day while I seemed to work flat-out on my vessel but still didn’t quite get done.

A few of the amazing funky fish displaying their colourful gills

A few of the amazing funky fish displaying their colourful gills

It was fabulous how each fish had its own distinct character

It was fabulous how each fish had its own distinct character

Jen's fish required the kiss of life!

Jen’s fish required the kiss of life!

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Georgina chose to take her vessel home to finish as she, and Tracy, were keen to use the workshop time to get started on another piece of work which the tutor demonstrated on the Sunday.  Mandy hasn’t named this piece but all three of us were excited to see how it was made and it’s something I am intending to have a go at next week.

 

Mandy Nash demonstrating a particular wet felting technique at her workshop Experimental Sculptural Forms.

Mandy demonstrating how she created the wet felted objects displayed on the table.

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After getting it home and giving it a bit more pummelling I was really pleased with how my piece worked out.

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Mandy Nash is a wonderful tutor and this has to be one of the most interesting workshops I’ve been on.   The venue was good, the company was great and hopefully I will meet up with some of you again at future workshops.   Oh, and when you do get your vessel and “un-named thingy’s” finished Georgina & Tracy, send me images and I will post them here!

Octopod update…..

The octopod is on its way to becoming a fully fledged octopus once I get his body dried out and somehow attach it to the tentacles.  Looking at images of these creatures I’ve got some work to do making bulging eyes before I attempt the joining of the two parts.  I’ve photographed him on the resist I used for the body to show the amount of shrinkage involved.  Having spent longer than usual on the felting and fulling its resulted in the thickest, toughest piece of felt I have made so far.