Ann told you about the workshop she gave on felted Flowers. So I thot you might like to hear about the last workshop I was teaching. This was the first time I had taught it and I was a bit nervous and excited (inner voice to self, take a deep breath, relax). In December you heard about the panic of making the Catalogue sample for this workshop. (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2018/12/01/this-is-the-story-of-a-felting-emergency/)
As you may remember I have a background in both commercial and fine art. Add to that the sivear dislexia which tends to change my way of approaching a subject or at least the way I tend to interpret it.
Last August the guild started to set up the list and order workshops that would run in 2019. There were a number of felting workshops but we had requests for felted landscapes in 2D. I had signed up to teach Inkle weaving as usual but Our Workshop coordinator was sure I could do the landscape and re-run a felted sheep class I had done over 10 years ago. I said sure and between working on the Catalogue for the workshops, restructuring the Guild library and a few Exhibition and Sale chores I started writing my notes.
I am pretty big on notes. I want a student to be able to look back on them and remember what to do even if it’s been a year since they took the workshop. For this one I felt I needed to include a bit on composition, perspective, aspects of different mediums of painting and finally how to deal with the felting itself. So think small book rather than regular notes.
(picture 1 Name tags and a bit of back ground information )
I was going to teach them a different way to look at felt; treating it more like a water colour than an acrylic and using some of the work principles used in pastels and oil paintings. Because of the time restraints of only 5 hours to felt I went for a smaller size, working in a 5×7 inch format.
(picture 2 the supply, a stack of notes, a picture chosen and all ready to start )
I prefer workshops where you don’t have to go searching for a long list of supplies to bring. So I try to have everything that will be needed to start your adventure included in the materials fee. The Introduction to inkle weaving workshop is the same, students even get the integrally important box of smarties. For this workshop smarties were not as important but they did get a 5×7 frame with white mat, a selection of needles, a mat to work on (I took a workshop from Megan Cleland who had used Dollarama Garden kneeling pads as work surfaces which were light and worked very well. The handle even held fibre I was working on!)
I had found some mid-weight felt at Michaels that was longer then needed for the project so we had enough to do a name tag too. I started everyone off by making a name tag. Firstly, so I would remember their names. Secondly, it would give them a chance to try the eye-hand coordination required to needle felt. It also let them get a feel for the differences between needles at moving fibre. They had 2 each of the fine, medium and coarser needles and one spiral in a fine gage. I had ordered a Multi-needle tool (it’s the flake clover needle holder from china) but it was not expected to arrive in time. it arrived Friday afternoon just before the Saturday workshop.
(picture 3 transferring image )
We started by discussing different ways to transfer an image to the felt. Megan was teaching a variation on the light box using a window. This will only work well on thin felt. So if you want to work on a heavier ground or a dark colour choosing another method would be preferable. I mentioned the most common methods for scaling and transferring images including using a Lucy or projector, the grid method and the template method. (I also mentioned pouncing as an option, it is used with frescoes) Since I haven’t seen anyone teaching template transfer we went with that. Its low tech and requires only scissors, permanent marker and an image.
I had selected a number of images ranging from quite simple to more complex since the class was to accommodate beginner and intermediate students. I had a couple students bring their own images too. With a bit of discussion they all chose there images. As they prepped and transferred there images to the felt I did a vary brief overview of perspective, how overlapping objects give the illusion of distance, how colour fades out as it recedes, detail in the foreground and less detail in the background and sky is lighter at the horizon and darkens as you go up. We discussed light and shadows and keeping your light source consistent if you are using more than one photo reference.
I also explained about thinking about using wool as paint. Using properties from water colour , acrylic and oil techniques.
(picture 4- 14 Slideshow Work in progress )
By that time they were ready to begin. There was much poking but I don’t think anyone stabbed themselves. (I did have 3 boxes of bandages just in case) Most of the students had never felted before so were quite amazed as the wool started to turn into a picture. There was some reworking of areas to get the shadows they wanted but it started to come together.
(picture 15 Framing there work)
As you have probably found out yourselves if you put a frame on even a simple sketch it gives it importance, focuses the viewer and gives it the feeling of Art. As the students put there finished pieces into their frames it was fun to see them so pleased with their results. Two of the students had to leave early due to impending bad weather and lengthy drives home.I realized afterwords i missed getting a picture of there finished piece.
(picture 16- 19 Finished and Framed )