Monstrous Felting Retreat

A few weeks ago I experienced the delight that is the Auckland Fun Felter’s Retreat, 2 full days of felting bliss! 🙂

We were 13 like-minded ladies at a retreat centre, tucked away in a quiet and leafy corner of west Auckland, we had the entire centre all to ourselves and were blessed with some lovely weather.

Jenny, our organiser extraordinaire, asked if anyone would be willing to teach / lead a short workshop on Saturday morning. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t had the chance to teach face to face since 2019 so jumped at the chance and then immediately panicked that I had nothing to teach this incredibly creative and experienced group (most of the members have been felting at least as long as I have!).

After several weeks mulling it over and talking to other AFF members I settled on “animal textures in felt”, I thought this would lend itself to a series of pre-prepared samples that we could discuss the potential pitfalls and then each member could incorporate one or two into their own project. This group is so experienced I couldn’t imagine any of them wanting to waste their precious felting time watching me laying out fibre over a resist.

We all arrived on Friday afternoon, settled into our rooms and started playing with our fibres in the main hall. After talking to a few members I realised not everyone would be happy for me to share some samples and tips on how to achieve different effects, they wanted a project to follow…. my heart sank, I hadn’t planned for this, how was I going to come up with a project that included, fur, scales, eyes and locks before tomorrow morning?!!

So it was that Fugly was born….

A little pod critter, with eyes, scales on his back, a lambs tail and an unfortunate ear-hair problem – for the record I would never normally recommend trying to cram so many different techniques onto one item but now he is finished I do find Fugly quite endearing 🙂

To my surprise most of the group also made pods that incorporated most or all of the techniques and we ended up with a ?gaggle, ?fright, ?laughter <insert collective noun of your choice here> of funny little monsters:

A couple of members applied to techniques to small bags with great effect…

This weekend was such a success we agreed to do it all again in just 6 months time! 🙂

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?

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?

Easter Weekend

I love the long holiday weekends and Easter, with both the Friday and the Monday off is the best of all, a whole 4 days to do with as I please, and invariably that means textiles!

I’ve had my fingers in lots of different textile pies this week:

A new nuno dress (photos of that later – it is nearly finished so won’t be too long to wait).

My first attempt at a tailored jacket, I love everything about it except for the collar reveal, it’s all lumpy and misshapen and I can’t figure out why… it will be accompanying me to my dress-making class, hopefully the tutor can explain what I have done wrong and, more importantly, how to put it right.

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Back in the felt world, I made a new lacy scarf and, while I was dyeing this, I put in a few pieces of prefelt, I’m debating on cutting up the prefelt to make nuno scarves with geometric designs.

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I am finding myself drawn back into the beauty of the microscopic world (in part thanks to pinterest) and have been developing an idea for a 3D representation of a carpet of cells. I am thinking a series of small pods, the interiors will be black so that when I cut an opening they will appear to have nuclei. The question is, how to join them together? I have 3 or 4 ideas on how I might achieve this. This is my first test piece…

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I’m ashamed to say I have been procrastinating terribly over posting my work on Etsy for the last few of months to the point where I have a box full of work now waiting to be listed. However, I have been making amends this weekend and photographed 80% of it, now I  just need to make myself sit down and write the descriptions and titles. Definitely a job to be done in front of the TV with a glass of wine in hand! 🙂

What have you been up to this weekend?

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