Weyfest 2016

What a weekend! I have attended Weyfest with the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers for the last 3 years and it is always a very special event, a wonderfully eclectic mix of people, children and dogs with music provided by bands that I grew up listening to (Boomtown Rats, Big Country, Bad Manners…). It is located on the site of the Rural Life Museum in Tilford and normally I demonstrate / teach spinning with a drop spindle, while I am very happy teaching, watching complete novices learn to spin I have to confess I’m not much of a spinner 😉

This year we did something a little bit different, I was let loose on the unsuspecting public with my felting equipment and I was in my element 🙂 The first question was what could a beginner make in a short space of time? I considered flowers but decided that would require a fairly skilled layout…. What about a small picture / a coaster? Then I thought of pods, but would they be too difficult for a beginner?

She didn’t know it but Paula was my guinea pig, she had never made any felt before but did an amazing job, I was so impressed with what she made I took the plunge and made pods with everyone.IMG_1720

My next visitors were Phoebe and Jemima with 2 more fabulous pods…IMG_1721

There were a couple more visitors on Saturday, including a young lady of only 4 years, who made a felt coaster but I’m afraid I didn’t get photos.

After a good night’s sleep (I slept like a log) we did it all again on Sunday…

First up were 2 mother and daughter teams, Donna and Olivia, Ava and Helen. It’s hard to believe but Ava is only 6 and made a fabulous heart shaped pod. Didn’t she do well?

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In the afternoon we had Fiona, Vanessa and Sue pictured below and Sandetti and Niamh (who were under 18 and did not have a parent who I could ask permission to post their photos). Again, 5 more amazing pods and very happy customers!IMG_1724

What did I learn? Several people commented on how glad they were to make something functional, and I was surprised at how forgiving felt pods are too make, a couple of the youngsters had a very thick layout but the finished pods were fine, just very sturdy!

I hope we can do something similar next year, perhaps offering a phone / glasses case for some of the sessions as an alternative to the pods.

Finally, a couple of photos from my brief excursions to see the rest of the festival between teaching sessions:

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Adding Dimension

This quarter, the FFS challenge is to add dimension to our felt, on the face of it I should find this challenge easy, almost everything I make is 3D in nature but that rather seems to defeat the purpose, after all, surely a challenge should be just that! 🙂

Last weekend I had a mini epiphany; I really like the effect of shibori felt like the brooch below but using the “tie in a stone/button/marble technique” is not very practical when you are creating a 3D object over a resist as you need extra felt to stretch over the inclusions and it invariably makes the surrounding felt uneven too. I woke up on Sunday morning and my first thought was to create these cup shapes separately and then attach them to the main piece of felt. Is it really sad that I am now dreaming about felt?

This was the piece made with the separate resists. It was very slow work making these 7 little cups and I’m not sure I will use this method a lot but it was interesting to try and I’m happy with the result.

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This box is quite large, just shy of a foot square and 5 inches tall.

I wanted to make a small bowl inspired by this pine cone, it started out as a bowl but I clearly wasn’t concentrating while laying out the flaps and spikes so it became a pod instead… 🙂

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Finally, I started working on a new vest top that I have been thinking about since attending a dress-making course with Cristina Pacciani at the beginning of July, it still needs some shaping in the back and around the collar but you can already see all the texture from the silk and felt ropes laid under the silk. Originally I was going to make this in royal blue chiffon but then decided white habouti would better showcase the different textures.

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What are you planning for the 3rd quarter challenge?

Relief at last!

After a couple of weeks religiously working on the concertina hat class tutorials I finally gave myself a few hours off to make some felt and (excuse the pun) it felt so good! 🙂 The response to the hat class has been overwhelming, we only started advertising on Friday and already we are down to the last 5 spaces! Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest and/ or shared the link. If you are considering joining this class you might want to hop over to the FFS site ASAP. That said, if you miss out this time, don’t worry, the response has been so great we are already talking about running this class again towards the end of the year or early 2017.

Anyway, back to the felt… 🙂

The observant among you will notice that this hat is also based on the concertina theme,

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Front

 

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Side

 

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Back

 

Ram-bling on

My other half is currently stuck in Toulouse, France, thanks to the almost weekly strikes that see all flights in and out of the country grounded (grrrr), it’s incredibly frustrating but it does mean I can play with my unwashed fleeces without complaints about the “sheepy smell” pervading the whole house 😉

Yesterday and today were spent working on a new ram hat, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this one reminds me of black nosed Valais, may favourite breed of sheep, they are so cute I defy anyone to not love them:

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Valais Blacknose Sheep Swiss Breed - herd
Image from http://www.lazerhorse.org/2014/05/08/valais-blacknose-sheep/

Every time I pass this new hat I have to give it a little pat on the head 🙂

I have also been playing with some wool that came as a free “goody bag” from World of Wool, to be honest, the first one is not colours I would have chosen myself but I was curious to see what the pink and green stripey wool would look like when felted… it is a lot better than I expected!

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Cell Morphology

Last week I started exploring binding techniques for a new wall hanging I have in mind, my idea is to create a confluent layer of cells, organically spreading across the wall, this was my first experiment, the pods were made individually and attached to thin layer of felt to join them together:

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In this version all the resists were covered in a single layer of wool on each side, as predicted, serveral of the “pods” have merged into one mega pod with several holes:

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This layout was much quicker and the resulting effect is much more amorphous – the individual pods blend almost seamlessly into each other.

My final experiment was a blend of the 2 methods above, the resists were individually covered with black wool before covering all of them in a continuous layer of green wool.

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While the pods are less discrete than in the first experiment, the individual forms are more defined than in the second experiment.

I’m leaning towards the technique from first test sample for the final piece, simply because it lends itself towards using a different coloured base and it will be much easier to make “accent” cells of a different colour.

What do you think? Which version would you prefer to see?

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