FeltWEST February 2019 meeting
Mini-workshop – Fibre Finesse for Felt
Today Sara Quail kindly demonstrated the use of plant fibres for embellishing felt to create texture, subtle bling, sheen and colour variation. Adding non-wool fibre also reduces pilling and increases the structural integrity, allowing for extremely thin layouts.
Silk waste, silk spaghetti, soy silk, mulberry silk, tussah silk, viscose and ramie are some examples. Viscose is much finer and ramie (made from plants of the nettle family) is coarse. Fibres that are coarser than your wool will sit on the surface, whereas fibres of the same or finer thickness will combine with the wool.
Today we concentrated on viscose as it is one of the cheaper fibres but the same process works with other plant fibres. To make fibre paper, lay out fibres in both directions over a piece of plastic. Place netting over the fibre, wet down and rub soap bar (don’t use liquid soap) all over to create a good amount of foam. Gently peel off the netting and put the fibre on the plastic in the sun to dry. You may need to use small weights to prevent it blowing around. Once dry, the fibre paper is rigid enough to cut into pieces for decoration or can be folded and shaped.
Colour variations can be achieved by chopping up the length of fibre into chunks and dropping onto the plastic. The fibre tops can also be pulled into fluffy clouds or different coloured fibres can be blended.
Fibre paper pieces or fibre (as lengths or clouds) can be placed onto laid out wool tops or wool prefelt and they will attach during the normal felting process. Fibre/wool prefelt can be cut into shapes and placed onto wool tops, Margilan silk or cotton gauze before continuing felting.
Another method is to lay out a tangle of wool pre-yarn, then place plant fibre on top, ensuring that all the plant fibre is in contact with wool. Pre-yarn can be added to the other side if desired. Very light, soft fabric with a cob-web effect can be achieved by laying out a very thin layer of wool, then covering with plant fibre.
Thank you Sara for an inspiring introduction to plant fibres and their many decorative possibilities!
News and Update
With President Marion and Vice-President Karen battling illness, our Secretary Sue Harrington welcomed everyone, including new members and those attending the afternoon’s Introductory felt workshop, to the first monthly meeting of the year.
Our Workshop Coordinator Renita, ably assisted by Martien has been busy putting together an exciting year of felting activities with 1, 2 or 3 day workshops most months, some taught by our local talented felters and also some excellent tutors from elsewhere in Australia and overseas. There is a brief list on the website and details will be included as arrangements are finalised, so keep checking the website and the monthly e-News so you can book in advance and secure your place.
On 2 and 3 March Sue Eslick is teaching the new Tote-lly Square workshop and there are still a couple of places left. At just $100 it is a great chance to learn how to form felted corners and create a square tote bag or box, more details on our website.
On 5 and 6 April May Hvistendahl from Norway is presenting a Nuno-Felt Tops workshop. May specialises in nuno-felt clothing that is unique, well fitted and durable. Registrations are now open. There will also be an artist’s talk on the evening of 4 April. Still a couple of places left.
Other workshops scheduled for the year include
- Sara Quail’s Circular Scarves,
- Eva Camacho-Sanchez teaching Beyond Felting – creating textured surfaces,
- Wendy Bailye’s 50 Shades of Grey,
- Pam Hovel’s Earthy Felted Vessels,
- Soosie Jobson’s The Art of Adornment and
- Martien van Zuilen’s Expanding the Surface. All up,
an unbelievable list of tempting offerings!
We also have mini-workshops planned for our monthly meetings and this is an opportunity to learn particular felting techniques and to give them a go on the day. Please let your committee know if there are any techniques you would like covered at a mini-workshop or fill out the ideas book at the front desk.
On the Thursday evening 30 May to Sunday afternoon 2 June, there is our annual Retreat on the June long weekend. We will be holding the annual Retreat at beautiful Muresk agricultural campus, near Northam, one hour from Midland. It is an opportunity to felt all day and into the night if you wish in the large hall and to make big items, while listening to music and sampling cakes and other delicious offerings. There will be some special activities, probably including a workshop and an evening presentation. Take a break and have a relaxing massage. Accommodation is in individual bedrooms and lunches and dinners are included. Come along for the full 3 days, although attending for one or two days is also possible. We hope to see you there!
Finally, we are hoping that our members would like to undertake a fundraising project this year to support a charity. Please let committee members know your ideas for a project and a worthy charity.
Toss and Tell
Kerry Grove, Kerry Bertucci, Nancy, Sara, Vimol and Stacey modelled the absolutely stunning jackets they had made at Fiona Duthie’s recent workshop, each with a slightly different lay-out, colour palette and ink brushwork.
Peta Korb had used needle-felting over a wire armature to create models of animals of endangered and now extinct Australian small mammal species, to be used in a student animation film production. Fifteen felters from across Australia have contributed to the film “Dance of the Dead”. Banded Hair Wallaby, Lesser Bilby and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, endangered or extinct animals.
Martien showed 3 tea cosies and a coffee plunger cover which she made at the Albany Summer School. Each had colourful and quirky decorations. (only one teapot came out well on slide show)
Maureen Humphreys displayed a decorated black handbag made from alpaca. (sorry no picture)
Sue Clay, visiting from Yorkshire, talked about the community wall hanging commissions she had been undertaking and also showed several colourful shawls with felted edges.
Marie Jacquier showed an eco-dyed piece with overstitching onto paper, an approach which she is taking to illustrating a children’s book she has written. Felted Dyed and Stitched. Study for Textile Art Book illustration. Layering – like painting and like storytelling.
Tracey Holland had used Martien’s tunnel method to make a salmon coloured piece as well as a blue tray decorated with viscose fibre and stiffened with wire armature. She had also made a dangly ornament with felted balls and discs.
Sue Harrington had made a small orange and green piece utilising the cracked earth technique to achieve a field of raised ‘water lilies’, embellished with fine embroidery.
Katrina showed two experimental pieces incorporating horse and other animal fibres which she made while developing her exhibit pieces for the Shire of Mundaring Open Art Acquisition Exhibition which is on at the Mundaring Art Centre until 31 March.
Thanks Sue Harrington for the report and Alison Higgins for the photo’s.
see you soon
Please note: I am still learning about slideshow option, learning more skills all the time, thanks for your patience and I hope you don’t mind me experimenting.
Toss N Tell Slide show