2022 Landscape workshop
It is fabulous to get back to felting!
Last week I spent a lot of time looking through my fibre stash, rereading my notes and finding all the supplies in preparation for Saturday’s needle felting workshop. I sorted out and made sure the supper wash was labelled and in a separate bag, yes I do have superwash merino, it’s just too tempting in all sorts of fabulous hand-dyed colours. Most of which has come from the black lamb. She has been selling small balls of fibre at various fibre fests, such temptations of colours! I admit I have caved and purchased supper wash!! Luckily with a bit of extra poking or a bit of blending, we can needle felt with it.
I found the box with the supplies I would need. Hum, I had this ready to go for 2020 so that makes the markers only…..2 years old… better get new ones just in case.
Six sets of 21 pages of note, and 4 versions of each picture chosen by each student, oh no the printer finally actually means it’s out of ink….it has been almost a year of saying it was going to run out at any second. Ouch! The price of new toner has gone up and needing to replace all the colours at once is painful!
Early Saturday morning arrived and Glenn loaded up multiple bags of wool, the box of supplies, a bag of frames and notes and finally the important bottle of Mountain due and off we went to set up the Ottawa Guild studio for the workshop. He was able to extract three six foot long folding tables from behind the looms one of which wound up covered in bags of wool.
1 large clear bag of little bags of wool, separated sort of by colour. There are also small dog brushes, scissors for paper and mettle rulers ready to use in the workshop.
It took me a while to get all the parts of the student’s kits organized on the table. Last I set out 2 packages of the mini chocolate bars. I got half of a cheese and cream cheese bagel eaten and I was ready for the students to arrive.
2 student supplies pile sitting on the table; foam pad, picture frame, notes and photos, needles, name tag stuff, project bag, cheap craft felt, 100% wool felt and thick 100% wool felt for name tag.
3 the tables, with the supplies, sitting in a C shape so I could sit in the center and see what each student was working on.
I had purchased foam kneeling pads from Dollerama but had brought a few other work surfaces to show the students.
4 Samples of different types of works surfaces; wool pads, wool ironing pad, cellulose sponge, foam cushion
When I first did needle felting a cellulose sponge was the surface suggested. (WARNING; Do not leave needles in a cellulose sponge, it will absorb moisture and humidity and rust the needles). The foam cushion (this one is 18”x18”) worked very well for pictures and later sculptures. I also brought the thicker soft wool felt mats (Grey and white) and the thinner ironing 100% wool pad. In a previous post, we chatted about some of these felting surfaces.
In the week before the workshop, I had emailed a selection of photo options to the students most let me know which one they wanted to try. I had four photos for them printed off in approximately 5”x7”; two with no alteration, one version that was colour blocked and the final version was done in extreme colour saturation. The colour blocking gives suggestions of colour value and the extreme saturation gives suggestions of hidden colours. Both can be helpful when looking at and assessing the original image.
The students arrived and we started on time.
Some of the students had felted before while others had not. To get them started I had them make a name tag using a thicker 100% wool felt made by the black lamb and a fine sock yarn. I had a scrap piece of paper for them to get the correct size of name to fit the tag. This is a good way to practice eye-hand coordination and fewer Band-Aids are needed later in the workshop.
In the notes, I covered multiple ways to transfer images to the felt base. A couple used the template method (good for thinkers or darker felt ground) and a couple used the window or lightbox method (easy if you have thin or light-coloured felt ground).
5 Two of the students getting started, cutting a window in cardstock, used to check the size of your image so it will fit in the mat when you’re done felting. The table is cluttered with their supplies including photo references and tiny chocolate bars.
6 three of the students started their pictures. There were 2 students per 6-foot table.
7 two of the students, now a bit further along, working on their pictures
A couple had combined images or added elements from one picture to another. So we had a quick chat about light sources (but there was more about light sources in the notes).
8 using the original photo of 3 sheep and a round hay bale in snow and replacing the sheep with her own goats. She had emailed me the goat photos and I had shrunk them to a size similar to the sheep. I also made mirror copies so she could rotate them if she wanted in the composition.
9 The sheep are gone and the goats are almost done!
Goats were replacing sheep and a few others made changes to their landscape. I had told them they are the God of their landscape! If a tree offends you then you can banish it from the picture, “Be gone Tree”!! If you would rather it was a different kind of tree or if you would like your tree to gain or lose weight that was up to you too!! (The power is Heady!!! < Maniacal chuckling in the background! >)
As I mentioned before I had brought in a number of different types of working surfaces to show them or let them try. There was a bit of interest in the wool felting pad, this is the one from amazon that has gone up to exorbitant prices (wait for the price to drop since it was about $13.00 when I got it and it was $53.00 when I checked last week). There is a similar but much cheaper version out of china too.
10 students’ hands trying out the 100% wool felting mat with her picture. She Liked the darker grey mat better.
The sheep and hay bales were popular, both in their original form and also used with other photo parts of landscapes. Even with the same picture, the interpretation was quite different but definitely the same image.
11-12 another interpretation of the sheep and hay bales picture.
I chatted about approaching wool painting like a watercolour, washes of thin layers of fibre or like an acrylic, blending to match the image then affixing the colour to the ground. They worked from the background to the foreground.
13 one student holds up her picture and she and two other students look at her progress.
By late in the afternoon most were to the point that they were ready to put their pictures into their frames. This is the first time I did not have any of the students stay a bit late to finish the last bit of their picture. It took me a while to finish packing up and cleaning up the studio so it would have been ok. There was a threat of more snow so with a few having a long drive home everyone made a break for it at the end of class.
14 close-up of the tree with fence felt picture now in a black frame.
Working from the back to the front is particularly helpful in this image. Having the background done behind the tree and then adding the tree on top is much easier than trying to fill in all the background between the many little branches.
15 matted pictures of sheep with hay bales held by the artist and admired by a fellow student. She used small locks to create curls on the sheep. It was very cute!
16 the finished framed hay bale with goats! Also very cute!
17 one student framing her picture while one keeps working on hers.
18 the picture of sheep and hay bales framed
The students seem to have enjoyed the experience. there was a bit more work to finish for two of the students but I made sure they all had enough fibre to finish and get them started on their next picture. I hope they will drop into one of the guild socials or post on the guild’s Facebook page so I can see what they are up to.
Tomorrow I am off to the basement to find some of my inkle looms because next weekend I switch gears and I’m teaching introduction to inkle weaving. That workshop involves boxes of smarties candies (but you have to take the workshop to find out why!!)
I want to thank my students for a wonderful workshop, I was very impressed with what they accomplished in just a few hours of happy stabbing of wool! (and only one finger) I hope they will continue felting (Dry or Wet or Both) and find images to inspire them. I hope the photos from this workshop inspire you to think about small landscapes, they make excellent Christmas presents!!
13 thoughts on “2022 Landscape workshop”
That was great Jan, I could have been there (and wish I was!).
The idea of starting them off making the name badge was clever. A lot of people don’t like wearing them, but I’m sure that if they make their own like that they’d love it, and it gets them into the stride of needling.
The pictures turned out very well, my favourite was the first one of the tree and fence in the snow – at least it looked better from a distance, although I’m sure the sheep and goats looked good closer to.
I’m surprised you only got one stabbed finger. When I was a novice I always had a blue thunder cloud above my head!
Good luck with the inkle workshop. That is one form of weaving that I used to enjoy, because it grows a lot quicker than fabric on a larger loom I didn’t get time to get bored!
PS How are the Mers doing?
Thanks! they seemed to have had lots of fun so i hope we have new felters joining us! Yes the make a name tag gets them started with eye hand coordination and usuly less bandades needed later. if you run a workshop and have a bit of time its a good place to start.
i had ment to bring the Mer’s as an example of 3-D felting but by the time the car was loaded it was relaly full. and i forgot them in the office!! oh well a day of unsupervized cuddeling in there project bag!
the inkle workshop should be fun. i have to finish weaving the warp i have on one of my floor inkles before saterday so they can use that inkle loom too. oh and i better find the fringe twister too! life seems to have gotten very bissy all of a sudden!
It’s a great idea to do name badges first – it’s not too daunting for a first try at needle felting and it’s always handy for other students, and the teacher, to be able to see names.
Your class is so well organised it must have been a pleasure for your students!
The pictures produced are lovely! They must have all been proud of their work.
i was vary impressed, most had not felted before some had a bit of art background but not much. they did very well. i am looking forword to seeing what they do next. i sent them home with some wool and another pice of 5×7 wool felt as well as a small pice of cheep craft felt so they could try that too.
it is tarrable to be inspired and not have any materials to work with!
having candy or chockolet is always good too!
Fascinating to read this from a teachers perspective.
i have had a lot of experience being a student and i try to remember the things i particularly apresiated as a student (candy would have been nice). haveing notes that you can refresh your memory later, trying to give options on how to acheave the goal,(i never seemed to be going in the same direction as the rest of the class as a student). letting students try then makeing suggetion or give them options if they are need help. remeinding them that the image can be interperated in lots of ways and you can diside to change or move something. trees can change size shape type or disapear if they want it to. i want them to enjoy picture felting as much as i do or even more! and not feel presured. i hope it worked and they did have fun.
I truly enjoy your posts! I live in Flagstaff, Az. How do I find a guild close to me? Are your classes on line anymore? Love, love the art!
Thanks Michelle! Flagstaff Arazona sounds warmer than Ottawa! i am part of the local weavers and spinner guild here in ottawa, there are quite a few felters now in the group. if you dont have a felting guild in Flagstaff, you mite check for a spinning or weaving group that also dose other fiber arts. i would check with your city clerk they will be able to direct you to groups in city facilites. also check if there is a group meeting at your local library, yarn stores or chirches.if not post a note at the last 3 saying you are looking for a group or guild of felters/weavers/spinners/fiber artist and you may be starting your own guild.
the felt and fiber forum has workshops, there are also feltalongs on youtube with both Sara from sarafina fiberarts and Marie from Living felt in texis. the local ottawa guild has had students arive from the US. and Toronto (about 5 hours away) so see if there is anything listed on line for guilds in other parts of Arizona or Arazona Agjacent states?(it was a long time ago i studyed american geogrophy sorry)
ah i love google it dosnt judge me for my bad spelling (ok horrndis spelling)
https://www.flagstaff365.com/event/fiber-arts-wool-workshop/ (out of date but it may give you leeds)
oh this looks good! Fiber Artists of Northern Arizona https://www.fiberartistsnaz.org/ looks like you wont have to make your own guild!
im not shure how close this one is but you have another option too! https://arizonafeltersguild.org/
Google its a wonderfull resorce i hope these will prove usefull! you may be felting localy soon!!! let me know what you find! its always cool to hear about felting guilds!!
Looks like a great workshop Jan. Great results and new felt makers being inspired is always a good thing. I’m glad that you are able to get back to in person workshops. I always find those much more inspiring then the online workshops. But it sounds like you could do an online workshop with your pages of instructions already written. 😉
thanks Ruth! its sort of a small book at this point. i keep reediting it each time i teach it. i have the same thing happeing with the inkle notes. i re read and update each time i teach. now its usualy just a change in the odd sentece or trying to finde a more concice way of saying something or finding an even better diagram!! i am not sure i will ever think its truly done.
it is fun to see someone find something they will realy enjoy doing! i hope i have inpierd them to investigat felt further (even the wet parts of felt!)
I loved reading about this workshop, and I felt that I was there too. A really lovely read, and wonderful pictures. My favourite work (if possible) is the framed snow scene with a tree and fence. Thank you.
Love the idea of the name tag Jan. A great way to get some practice in before the big event.
It’s hard to believe some of your students were first timers, all their work is so beautifully executed. That is, in no small part, due to all of your prep work and your flexibility on the design front. If I were to pick a personal favourite it would be #14. That said they are all gorgeous.
Looks like everyone was having a good time. You a very patient teacher.