Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Countdown to convergence!

I'm really excited to be going to the 12th Southern Hemisphere Feltmakers Convergence, it starts on Sunday!  It is a biannual event and a big thing for Felters across Australia.  I can't wait to meet some Australian artists that I've long admired like Anita Larkin who has curated an exhibition at the Woollong University art gallery 'Feltportation' to coincide with this event, and Martien van Zuilen. Two well-known international artists will also be tutoring at convergence, Anna Gunnarsdottir from Iceland and Leiko Uchiyama from Japan.

All of these artists do some great sculptural work, and the sculptural potential of felt is something that really fascinates me and what first got me really excited about feltmaking, so I hope to learn a lot. Already I get the feeling the convergence will have a sculptural bias!  To help fund the next convergence we were asked to take part in a fundraising 'swap' of a 3D piece that will be displayed through the week.  Recently Ive come across the work of Dutch Feltmaker Annemie Koenen, who adds amazing 3D surface texture to many of the items she makes.  I still have some way to go before I really suss out her technique, but in the process maybe I will develop a technique of my own!  Here is the item I have made to 'give away' at the convergence, I have called it 'Strange Fruit', I'd love to hear from you if you take it home :)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A practical project

One of the attractions of felt and indeed any craft is that its not just arty farty fun, it can be very practical too!  I recently splashed out on a ipod shuffle to listen to on the bus, but quickly got fed up with it getting lost in my bag and tangled around things.  So I came up with a felt solution - a felted ipod shuffle case!  I made a little pouch in it by felting around the lid of the box the ipod came in.  The ipod is such a snug fit in there that I don't actually need to make a fastening as the felt holds it in place, although I may sew some ribbon on at some point if I get time.  

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Ruby red slippers

Believe it or not, it does get a bit cold here in Queensland in winter, amplified by the fact our house has no heating and tiled floors.  Admittedly, its not Siberia, but any excuse will do to attend a workshop to make a pair of 'fabulous' felted slippers!  I attended a QSWFA workshop taught by Philippa Rooke who is a lovely person and patient teacher, also a real perfectionist - there is no sloppy feltmaking or cutting corners in her class, which means things always turn out well.  It was a one day workshop and took the whole day of working hard to produce these slippers - I didn't quite finish during the class, I had to do the final 'foot massage' to get the perfect fit at home, and they do fit perfectly :)  so much so that it makes me wish our 'winter' lasted a little longer than 2-3 months.  Almost.

I used a relatively course grade wool (the micron is probably over 20, the lower the micron the finer the wool) - sadly I can't find the name of the wool though I know I bought it at the Canberra Region feltmakers.  It is a lovely wool with a multitude of colours in it when you look closely.  When making bags and slippers it is better to use a coarser grade of wool for durability and strength as well as less prone to pilling.  To make the slippers a bit special, I put some lengths of spun sari silk through the wool to make swirls - I love the way the spun silk curls a little on itself when it gets wet and adds a beautiful texture.  I also added silk velvet around the cuff - this was a bit daring as its not easy to felt in and took a lot of working, but the luxury effect is totally worth it.