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Auckland Felters Inaugural Exhibition

I was surprised to discover this was the first group exhibition for Auckland Felters, this is such and active group full of very talented people it never occurred to me that I would be the first one crazy enough to suggest it.

For anyone thinking about getting a group of likeminded friends together and hiring a gallery space… Do it! This has been such a fun ride with the most wonderful group of people ๐Ÿ™‚ It is quite a significant amount of work but with an enthusiastic group to spread the load it is perfectly achievable, even while working (more than) full time.

The first stage was to find out who might be interested and then get them together to decide on a title / theme for the exhibition. This we did over Zoom in July 2023. Armed with that information and some example photos of our work I set about applying to a gallery I know quite well from teaching in their workshop space. I am sure it also helped that the manager is a felt-maker too so was immediately supportive.

The title we settled on was – Resilience, the fibre that connects us. There was lots of brainstorming and different suggestions (I love working with creative people!) but in the end we agreed the title should be very flexible and open to interpretation in lots of different ways.

The next few months were pretty chilled as everyone worked on their pieces, just touching base at our Auckland Felters meetings on topics like different methods to hang or frame felt.

As the installation date approached, everyone became so quiet I started to worry only a couple of us would have something to hang and I would end up scratching around under the bed to find old pieces of work I could make fit the theme.

One month out from the installation and people started delivering their pieces and we began working on the advertising. Sarah Ritchie was incredible, preparing eye-catching posts for social media, a printed catalogue and posters for the gallery:

Advertising sorted, we turned our attention to making the opening event as enticing as we could, I’m sure we have all been to exhibition openings where there are drinks and nibbles, everyone wanders around chatting about the exhibits. All nice enough but I thought we could do better…

The gallery is conveniently located in a community centre, with the gallery, workshop area and a cafe on one side of a large atrium and the library on the other side. This is a great space for holding small indoor markets and attracts quite a lot of foot traffic, even before we turned up….

We had a selection of stalls selling felted goods, fibre and felting tools and equipment:

We offered four, have-a-go felting classes in the gallery’s workshop area, this is Lynn preparing for her felt beads class with me interrupting:

We had an amazing felting demo table, with members from Auckland Felters providing entertainment throughout our 4 hour event:

Daniel, Angela’s son, and honorary Auckland Felter, blessed us with live music accompanied by his friend and teacher, Trish.

And of course there was the exhibition. We created an online catalogue with a description of each piece and the inspirations behind them, you can read it here.

If you are quick, you can still see all the wonderful pieces in person until 4pm on Monday 8th July. For everyone from further afield I videoed a short tour of the exhibition so you would not miss out. Enjoy!

One last thing…

My online classes are now open and accepting students until July 16th (if you are thinking about joining the concertina hat class I recommend registering ASAP if you need to buy / make a hat block so you are ready for the first felting tutorial on the 18th). Please click on each class for more information:

Concertina Hat Class

Felted Bags and Cases

The 30 day Folding Challenge Part 4

My productivity for this challenge has really slowed over the last few weeks because I treated myself to taking Fiona Duthie’s Felt Illuminated online course. While it has been a substantial time (and financial) investment it has already sent my thoughts off in new directions. Some of these ideas involve how I can combine paper in my felted sculptures but also wondering if I can also illuminate some of these folded structures too….

Spoiler alert! I am definitely going to finish this 30 day challenge, but not all of the days will be consecutive ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 22

Revisiting the Kaleidocyle designs from Day 19 to see if I could make a cardboard one that turns like the felted ones do. This one was double the length of the first paper kaleidocycle attempt. It cycles really easily but doesn’t look as pretty when folded up, perhaps it needs an extra segment, or two?

Day 23

Inspired by Fiona’s Felt Illuminated class I tried using paper in place of some wool layers, this first one wasn’t too successful, the area where there was just paper and no wool became extremely fragile and limited how much I could full the piece.

Day 24

Trying again, but this time cutting the paper where I wanted to place the folds. This piece was much more successful, although I could definitely full this tiny bowl some more. I have added a few stitches at the top of the pleats for security but the paper in this bowl allows it to keep its shape without them.

Day 25

While searching for origami books I found another awesome book in the Auckland Library catalogue: Folding Techniques for Designers From Sheet to Form by Paul Jackson.

He makes no apologies for starting with some really basic shapes and forms but they get more complex as you progress through the book, this is where the clear diagrams / maps he provides invaluable.

This shape naturally wanted to form a bridge or trough depending on which way up it was placed

Day 26

I’m curious to see how this form will behave if the pattern is repeated?

Day 27

What if I used a 5 point symmetry instead of 4?

Day 28

I love the architecture of this form, it looks lovely from all angles, I’m wondering if I can make it into a bowl form…

Day 29

This one is screaming, “Christmas decoration!” at me, I imagine the felted version of this one will involve some bling ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 30

I started playing with the shape from Day 29, exploring what would happen if I reversed some of the folds, so mountain folds became valley folds…

Unfortunately someone else requested this book before I could get any further, so I could not try out all the forms I wanted to before I had to return it. I will borrow it again though, it is an inspiring book!

While my original 30 day challenge complete, this idea still has lots of mileage left in it and I plan to continue exploring, especially taking more of the paper sculptures into fibre… Watch this space!

Have you been playing along? If so, please share where your journey is taking you, links in the comments to a FB page, IG or blog post should work if you have any images.