Free Video Tutorials!

Covid has had a negative impact on so many areas of our lives but the joy of human ingenuity means that the solutions we find to these unwelcome problems can lead to some unanticipated benefits.

Normally the International Feltmakers Association (IFA) holds their AGM as an “in person” meeting in the second quarter of the year. This year I was very much looking forward to spending a few days with lovely, like-minded fibre enthusiasts at Felletin in France, the workshops organised by the IFA are always excellent and you are guaranteed to make new friends at the social events.

Then Covid raised its ugly head and a plan B was needed….

This year, for the first time, the IFA has commissioned a series of free videos, for their members’ exclusive viewing, from four internationally renowned feltmakers. We will have opportunity to “meet” them live during the AGM weekend in advance of the video launch on YouTube.  

If you are not already a member I can thoroughly recommend taking out membership, especially if you are based in the UK, as membership includes free Public Liability Insurance among other benefits. This link will take you a page detailing more of the benefits of membership and at the bottom is a button where you can sign up.

Below is an outline of the 4 tutors taking part, their bios and what they plan to share. The AGM will be over the weekend of 27/28th March 2021.

Nancy Ballesteros 

Nancy lives in Australia and is artistic director and founder of Treetops Colour Harmonies. For over thirty years she has immersed herself in the science and study of wool, felting and colour theory. As an international tutor, she specialises in Nuno felt techniques and her recent focus is applying Fibonacci’s Design principles to feltmaking. 

How Fibonaccis Design Principals can help Reconnect your Creativity

There is a Natural Rhythm in things we consider beautiful. Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th century Mathematician wrote about it, Leonardo Da Vinci used it when he painted Mona Lisa.  The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci’s numbers… how could this help your creativity? 

Nancy’s video will explore simple, practical ways to apply this powerful design principle to your felting and no maths is required! 

www.treetopscolours.com.au 

Nicola Brown 

Three words describe my textile practice: simple, natural, crafted. 

Since my introduction to felt and eco printing I’ve been on an exciting journey of discovery. Over time the sustainability of my work and teaching has deepened leading to new connections online and in person with like-minded individuals. The advent of Covid-19 means that keeping safe, staying local and living in harmony with the environment has never been more important. 

For ReConnect I will share a series of 3 videos: where this journey began, an introduction to eco printing and an eco print/natural dye tutorial using locally sourced vegetation. 

Fiona Duthie  

Fiona Duthie is a Canadian feltmaker recognised for her dynamic, sculptural clothing and artwork. Fiona strives for excellence in design and technique, while furthering the medium of felt through the use of new material combinations. 

Creative Sparks looks at reconnecting with simple techniques and familiar materials in a playful and exploratory way. Perfect for uplifting us out of a creative slump, or to refresh our existing design process. We explore sixteen creative prompts while making a beautiful, harmonious set of felt tiles. Each prompt can be taken beyond this project and used to add creative sparks to any felt project. 

www.fionaduthie.com 

Judit Pócs 

Spatiality, Material Use, Recycling 

I’m a Hungarian felt artist, who experiments a lot to develop felt in 3D and to achieve new, interesting surfaces. 

It has always been a challenge for me to see how felt can be transcendent, whether stone-like or metallic. I find it very exciting when a particular substance goes beyond itself. When designing a surface, I usually push these boundaries. 

Recycling is also a feature of my work, I often cut old, used clothes and incorporate the pieces into my wall hangings and other creations and more recently I also recycle coffee capsules into my works.  

www.pocsjuditstudio.hu 

Hat Fest

Bridport Hat Festival has crept up on me, I have quite a few hats but, they are like shoes, you can never have too many! So this month I have been spending every spare moment making more stock and trying out some new ideas and developing some old favourites with a new twist…

The pink unicorn:

 

is a variant of the horned viking:

 

Finishing up some hats started in a workshop with Zsofia Marx:

 

Experimenting with wire and other inclusions between the layers of felt:

 

 

Adding flaps to give a new dimension:

Do you think I should leave this one white / cream or dye it? It feels quite anaemic sat next to all the others but maybe it is good to offer some neutral options for sale?

“Haturday” starts at 10 am Saturday 1st September 2018 in Bridport, Hampshire, UK. Check out this link for more information. If you are in the area please pay us a visit, its a free event with lots of live music and entertainment and of course I can be found with the International Feltmakers Association in the Arts Centre behind the main stage. Why not pay us a visit, try on a few hats for fun and have a giggle? 🙂

Hats with Zsofia Marx

Last weekend was spent with the beautiful ladies of IFA region 2 in the New Forest and the delightful and generous Zsofia, Zsofia makes the most gorgeous and stylish hats, do check out her facebook page if you aren’t familiar with her work.

 

She shared some interesting techniques, some of which I confess I found alarming but everyone came away with a stunning hat, so clearly I need to be more open to the alternative ways of making felt. 🙂

If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend taking a workshop with her, she has a natural talent for shaping hats to suit different face shapes that is a true joy to watch.

Felt Shibori and Some Hats

As promised here are some photos of the jacket I made on Tatiana Sherverda’s workshop at the end of April. The workshop was intended to be focussed on tailoring and pattern making but as you can see we went off on a bit of a shibori tangent! 🙂

Of course that did mean very few of us managed to finish our jackets during the workshop (I was still working on mine 3 weeks later…). I’m afraid I don’t have any “during” photos but Terriea posted one on her blog, it’s near the bottom of the page.

While making this I wasn’t 100% sure I would feel comfortable wearing it (it is very OTT compared to what I would normally wear) but now I love it and can’t imagine parting with it. I’m not sure why but something about it reminds me of Game of Thrones, there is something theatrical about the silhouette I think…?

Another long-promised offering (sorry I have been really rubbish at finishing projects this year), the brain hat that you all very kindly provided ideas on how to finish it. The brim won out in the end (although I really didn’t expect it to) and I am rather pleased with how it turned out:
 

This is rather naughty, I know I should be making more of an effort to empty my UFO box but you know how it is when you get an idea for a new project….

This is my wooly prize from the IFA conference a few weeks ago, all along it has been crying out to be turned into an ocean / something watery.

When I started, I had ideas of waves of felt with white foam “crashing” over the surface of a hat, here it is at the layout stage.

The wool is English 56’s, not a breed (I suspect it is a blend of wools) I am familiar with, but it feels quite course to the touch so I used a couple of layers of merino batts on the inside for comfort.

I have to confess the waves are looking more and more like whirlpools as this hat has developed but I think it still works, it’s still drying, hence all the pins….

Just a few stitches and hopefully this one will never get to see the inside of my UFO box 🙂

International Feltmakers Association Conference 2015

The week before last saw 5 days of joyful feltmaking, surrounded by beautiful, generous, like-minded people and being taught by internationally acclaimed tutors. For me, it was heaven and I really did not want it to end.

The line up of tutors was pretty impressive but for me, the biggest draw was the chance to make hats with Judit Pocs. She is an incredibly talented and imaginative felt artist, I am particularly fond of her “phantasy” hats and creatures but she also makes incredible jewellery and bags.

We only had 2 days but Judit packed a lot in, within the first hour she had shown us 5 completely different hat templates and examples of finished hats that each template could make by employing different fabrics, prefelt vs tops, different surface designs and decorative elements.The options were seemingly endless. Almost everyone in the class had picked a different style which can’t have made Judit’s job easy!

Judit went on to explain how to resize each template to our own head sizes an off we went, me with my head spinning and feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the options to choose from.

I finally settled on using a flower for my inspiration and this is the result. I am really pleased with it, not least because I look silly in most hats, and while this hat is a bit OTT it actually suits my face, so much so that I think I will keep it, now I just need to find some exuberant venues to wear it at! 🙂

This hat took the best part of 2 days to make but in the last couple of hours I managed to make a small pouch too:

The third day was spent making collars with Joke van Zinderen (Joke is pronounced Yo-Ka). She is so funny and cheerful I can’t imagine Joke ever having a bad day, she really is the eternal optimist and her enthusiasm and joy is utterly infectious. Spending the day in her class, learning new ways of using Kap merino and attaching felt ropes was an absolute pleasure.

It’s not quite finished, some of the felt around the neckline still needs fulling and shaping but this is what my collar currently looks like:

My last workshop was with Evelyn Refsahl, making more hats but this time with Norwegian wool. I confess Norwegian would not be my first choice for hats, I find it a little bit scratchy and it has a tendency to shrug off the water when trying to wet out the wool but laying out with batts was relatively quick and easy.

On the last evening, there was a gala dinner followed by a fashion show where all the students paraded up and down in our wonderful new creations, it was fantastic to see what everyone else had been making and have them all proudly show them off. Lots of photos were taken of the parade but I’m afraid I don’t have any to share.

To my utter shock, I won a prize at the parade. I can’t decide if I was most shocked because I wasn’t even aware there was a competition or because the prize was for “best dressed”. For those of you that know me in the real world, this will probably be a surprise for you too. I’m not very girly, I don’t wear make-up and I feel most at home in a pair of jeans and trainers, so being awarded this accolade nearly knocked me off my, slightly inebriated, perch. Here is my prize, a lovely bundle of hand-dyed woolyness just waiting to be felted.

I’m thinking another hat might be in order….

To all the lovely ladies who attended and organised the IFA conference, thank you, each and everyone of you made it a truly wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see you all again at other felting events in the near future. Your kind hearts and generous spirits make the felting a world a beautiful place to be 🙂