Whew, I have been totally snowed under since last weekend with workshops, classes, golf club duties, truck service, MOT, more teaching etc. over the last week and now this morning I am totally snowed under literally! I am not going to give you a blow by blow account of all that went on because I would never have enough hours to write everything down but suffice to say that since last weekend’s workshops for the Cashel Arts Fest I have been incredibly busy although I did get time to do two full days felting with Carmen in the middle of the week, bliss!
Archive for November, 2010
It was very interesting to see everyones stitching starting to take shape and by the end of the second day I had my relief work finished and was ready to start assembling and stitching my bag first thing on Sunday morning.
I really liked the way we learnt how to use a type of herringbone stitch to join the back edges of the seams together (remember the seams are very thick, ten layers of wool!) and then used a different stitch to join the front edges, this should have been almost invisible but I think that I need a little more practice if not a lot! Surprisingly I enjoyed this part of the sewing quite a bit, probably because I could really see my bag coming together and I have to say I was liking the result!!! Once all the pieces were stitched together it was time to sew a fancy border around the top edge before making/attaching a cord or in my case leather handles. I found the stitch for the top edge really impossible to get even and it was not doing anything for the bag so Vanda suggested making a cord instead (twisting threads together and allowing them to wrap back on themselves) which I did in a silvery grey and black wool. Once this was in place all that remained was to add my leather handles, these were a GREAT find in Rhinebeck, more about my favourite suppliers from there in the next post! All that remains now is to say a big thank you to Carmen for organising such a wonderful workshop, I will be back!!!
Posted in Felt, workshops, tagged bag, Carmen, Felt, felt bag, felt workshop, felted bag, Felting, gotland, merino, Vanda Robert, Vanda Robert's workshop, wet felt, wet felt bag, wet felting on November 15, 2010 | 4 Comments »
I always have a fantastic time when I participate in felting workshops with visiting international artists and my wonderful long weekend at Carmen’s studying with Hungarian felter Vanda Robert was definitely one of my highlights from 2010. As per usual, when I am a bit apprehensive about the content of a class the reality is always better than the imagining and because Vanda’s bag workshop included a LOT of stitching you can imagine how nervous that made me before the event! Carmen had almost tried to stop me attending because she knew I wanted to support her in bringing Vanda over but she also knew how stitching makes me break out in a cold sweat. The fact that the three days included the day of the golf club Captain’s Dance didn’t help either but nothing would have stopped me attending and boy am I glad I did!
To start the workshop everyone looked at some of Vanda’s gorgeous bags, oohed and aahed over her relief stitching (there were also a couple of books with photos to browse through) while she explained the basics and showed us how she likes to lay out her wool batts to create thick, even and firm felt. We then choose our colours and started to lay out 10 to 12 light and even layers directly onto plastic or else onto bubble wrap. I have always wanted to create a piece of felt using Rathgeeran Rock Art (a stunning local bronze age rock) as my inspiration and was delighted to see some black merino, silvery grey merino and grey gotland which I thought would be perfect for my bag. The idea in general is to felt a thick but even piece of fabric, preferrably double sided and then cut to shape, reverse some pieces exposing the complimentary colour before stitching the design in relief (amazing stuff here!) and assembling to whole with tiny invisable stitches before adding a handle and possibly a cord edging or fancy stitching around the top.
First off I created a grey prefelt using three layers of the gotland which I cut into rounds to echo the circles from the rock art. These were then laid down directly onto my bubble wrap and filled in with three layers of black merino before surrounding the design with three layers of black merino also. I then laid 4 more layers of black this time covering the whole rectangle, two layers of gotland and finished with a layer of the silvery grey merino. If you look carefully at the picture above you can see my ten layers laid out and also see that Chris who was working beside me had started to wet out and soap her bundle, half of hers is really high and half is already wet. Once we had the layers fully wet we just felted as per normal until the wool had shrunk by about a third and the resultant felt was thick, firm and flat. Some people rubbed the surface of their felt to smooth out any imperfections and dimples but I had brought my ridged fridge liner with me and it proved excellent for rolling the felt on and getting a nice even texture. At this stage the first day was finished and we all retired home to dry our felt, I had the dance to get to and evening wear to don!
Day two saw us cutting out the picecs for our bags and then Vanda gave us a demonstration of the stitches used and we all had a go with some samples. I can’t stress enough how I would urge you to attend one of her workshops because it is in the stitching that the relief is achieved and obviously that is not something I will be trying to explain here. Suffice to say you can use wool, cotton or linen thread and depending on where you insert and remove your needle through the felt and at what angle you do so the stitches may be straight or when pulled cause depressions or elevations in the felt, just INCREDIBLE!!! Initially I had wanted to elevate all my silvery grey ovals but that proved a step too far for me (surprise, surprise!) as in order to do so I would have needed more space between the discs so with Vanda’s help I re-thought and decided to elevate some of the black spaces instead.
To be cont …..
At last I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I am now officially the ex-Lady Captain and only have a managment meeting to get through tonight and later in the year the joint club AGM before all my duties are totally over! The felt bag making workshop I participated in at Carmen’s with Vanda Robert this weekend was FABULOUS!!! We were learning such an interesting and individual technique and I am dying to show you some photos tomorrow or Thursday when I have a little more time to post. For now adieu, apologies to anyone who is trying to contact me by email, there are not enough hours in the day at the moment but I promise to get in touch a little later in the week!
Thanks to all of you who commented and sent me emails re. the formatting of the blog over the last few days. It was SO frustrating to be having difficulties and no time to sort them out but hopefully things look back to normal now although I have had to delete the last photo from the second last post for some very strange reason.
Here it is again with all the participants from the KIA felt accessory workshop tired but happy (at least I HOPE everyone was happy!) wearing and displaying some of their beautiful nuno felt, flowers and jewellery. I loved all the work created during this class, gorgeous wearables perfect to brighten up any winter day!
I am also going to include an image of me wearing one of the gorgeous dusters that Dawn and I made with Horst during our amazing time with him and his family at the beginning of October. Thanks Jess for taking such wonderful photos and airbrushing etc. where needed! I was lucky enough to bring one of the dusters home with me and as soon as I wear it to the next exhibition opening I attend promise to have some photos taken to show it back here in Ireland.