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Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

The last time I posted here (in January) I described my plan to take various online felting classes. With all my sales and exhibitions cancelled or on hold I thought this would be a good way to keep me focused and motivated during our 3rd pandemic lockdown. Here’s the link in case you want to look back to January’s post.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/01/21/finding-focus/

This time I’m talking about my online learning since then, including how it has led me in some unexpected directions.

I was part-way through Teri Berry’s bag making class, which was great. I made my third bag, a backpack, and am very pleased with it. I’d definitely recommend Teri’s class. The instructions were clear and comprehensive and Teri was very responsive to my many questions, thoughts and comments. I learned a lot about bag making techniques, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Corriedale Backpack with Canvas Straps

Because two of the bags I made are large, relatively thick, and have to be fulled very hard, I admit bag-making was rather harder work than I’d anticipated. I rent a studio in an old industrial building that is largely unheated so maybe mid-winter isn’t the best time to be working so much heavy, cold, wet wool, but it’s a minor point. I had to use plastic gloves for the first time as my hands became so shredded and I often went home with sleeves wet to the armpit!

I’d planned to take 3 classes over January to March but was irresistibly drawn to a 4th: a 2-session live international felt-along by Aniko Boros (Baribon.Hu) learning to make her beautiful felted tulip pendant with pebble inclusions. Having signed up I realised it was going to be difficult to find the colourful 14 micron merino wool I needed. I only had white. I’ve never dyed my own wool before but I thought, why not have a go?

I already had some acid dyes so I started off with some 21 micron merino before going on to the finer and more expensive 14 micron. Then I tried silk hankies, Corriedale tops, mohair tops, silk fabric, alpaca & nylon …. nothing was safe. I had a blast. I had no idea how much fun dying would be.

Then it snowed and I thought ‘ooh, I could try snow dying’. That turned out to be great fun too. On the right are just a few of the snow dyed fabrics.

I had several colour choices of dyed 14 micron merino by the time Aniko’s workshop came around. The workshop itself was really interesting. A clear and detailed PDF was sent in advance and turned out to be very helpful on the first day when the sound or picture dropped out occasionally. It meant I could see what I needed to do next so was able to keep up. I’m pleased with my pendant (although I still have to add a fastener) including how the dyed wool worked, and feel I’ve learned techniques I will be able to use to make my own designs. Also, it led me into the entirely unexpected joy of dyeing.

Hand dyed 14 micron merino pendant with pebbles: Aniko Boros’ workshop

In the meantime I’d started Fiona Duthie’s online class Ink + Cloth. We practiced adding ink at various stages of feltmaking with loads of potential for using these techniques in future projects.

Above are samples of adding dye / ink before felting (on silk fabric) and on prefelt

These are samples of ink added in different ways to finished nuno felt with cotton and two types of silk. I’d found an image in the V&A museum online catalogue (a fantastic resource) of an early 20th century furnishing fabric with this style of lollipop trees that I was thinking of using for the 1st quarter challenge …but that’s a story for another time.

At the end of this I decided to combine various things I’d learned: to dye my own Corriedale wool tops for a bag and maybe to decorate it with inked or dyed pieces. This is still work in progress as I am not completely happy with it. I decided to let it dry and have a think before doing the last bit of fulling. After I’d laid out the wool I dithered over whether to add silk and prefelt pieces or not as I quite liked the wool as it was. At the last minute I added all sorts of bits and pieces without properly thinking through the design. I fear it betrays its history. A colleague who saw me rinsing it at the studio casually commented it was very ‘hippie, trippy summer-of-love’ which is absolutely not the look I was going for! I will come back to it soon. I included the strap in the photo to give an idea of what it will look like finished.

Now I’m part way through another class with Fiona Duthie: Fibre + Paper. It’s a fascinating process of combining specialist paper with wool. We started by making lots of samples: paper and felt, paper relief, extreme paper relief and paper with prefelt.

Above are samples showing different amounts of paper felted into 21 micron merino wool and bottom right combines prefelt and paper. They feel lovely and there seems to be so much potential to use paper with felt in different ways.

This week I made a vessel with paper embedded into the surface. It’s not perfect: I got a bit over-confident near the end and tore some of the surface (you can just see it bottom left, between the two ribs). I’ve been interested in shell shapes for a couple of years so I shall enjoy making more 3D paper & felt shell-inspired objects.

Paper felt shell-inspired vessel

In the coming week I will be trying out adding colour and surface designs with ink and paint plus making samples with some different papers. Fiona’s classes have been really enjoyable with excellent PDFs, photos and videos and lots of class interaction.

All the online classes I’ve taken have been great fun and very inspiring. They have given me lots of new skills and techniques that I will be able to use in my work. And they have definitely achieved my other objective: they have been really helpful in keeping me learning, focussed and motivated during what could otherwise have been quite a bleak time.

Learn Something New in 2021

Learn Something New in 2021

Teri’s online classes are open for registration now. The classes will begin on January 6th so you will need to register quickly to participate. Teri teaches two great classes, one on how to felt concertina style hats and the other one on how to create felt bags. Both of these classes will teach you methods of improving your felting techniques so if you have felted around a resist before such as to make a felt pod, you should consider taking the next step on your felting journey.

For more information and to register for the felt hat class, click here. 

Have you taken a look at other student’s hats that have taken Teri’s class? There are some really fun hats and the variations are quite creative. Take a look at the student hat gallery here.

Teri’s felt bag class is an excellent way to learn how to create a variety of shapes of bags, as well as features such as straps, multiple compartments and pockets. You can find more information and register here.

And the student gallery for felted bags is here.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and learn some new felting techniques in 2021.

Or if you’re just starting out and want to learn the basics, try our Wet Felting for Beginners class. This class can be taken at any time with unlimited access. For more information and registration, click here. 

We will be offering more online classes in the spring and will make the announcement here when registration opens.

Extra Online Classes Now Available!

Extra Online Classes Now Available!

Galina Titova of Deep Felt Textile Art emailed me recently. She felt that since so many people were being socially isolated by the world pandemic, that it would be a good time to offer her Fantasy Felt Fish online class again. I thought this was a great idea and I also contacted Teri Berry to see if she would like to offer both her Felted Concertina Hat and Felted Bag online classes too. So if you’re looking for something creative to do in these trying times, we have some felting classes available.

Felting Fantasy Fish

Learn to make felted fantasy fish with Galina Titova in this three week online class. Each week you will learn to create a different fish and move from a simple design up to a more advanced design and different surface design techniques. Every week Galina will provide more examples of fish with the same elements used in different ways to create various effects. Click here for more information and to register for the class. Class start date will be April 8, 2020. The class is limited to 20 students per session and is filling quickly. Galina is planning on offering another session 3-4 weeks after this class has finished. Students will be chosen on a first come, first served basis.

The April 8th class is now full. Galina will be offering another class in the near future.  If you would like to be notified of the next open registration, please fill out the contact us form here with the name of the class in the comments section.

Felted Concertina Hat

Learn to make felt concertina hats with Teri Berry in a four week online class. This course will guide you through choosing a hat block, to creating the correct size resist for your head and the basics of concertina hat construction. You will also learn how to add embellishments, shaping and how to progress to making more complex hats. Click here for more information and to register for the class. Class start date will be April 16, 2020.

Felted Bags

Learn all about felt bag construction in this five week online class with Teri Berry. Starting with an animal themed smaller case, building on each lesson to create a medium sized bag and finally learning to make a backpack with adjustable straps, multiple internal compartments and internal pockets. This course will certainly develop your felting skills. Click here for information and to register for the class. Class start date will be April 16, 2020.

Wet Felting for Beginners

And if you’re new to wet felting, here’s the perfect course for you. This class is for total beginners who have not done any wet felting before. Learn the basics of wet felting, adding embellishments, calculating shrinkage rates for correct sizing, as well as how wool is processed and tips for other felting methods. Click here for information and to register for the class. You can start this course at any time.

And now because you have read all the way to the bottom of the post, Galina is kindly giving away one spot in her upcoming Felting Fantasy Fish class.

Give Away!

All you need to do is comment below and the drawing for a free class will be on April 1st. You will be notified by email if you win. For those of you that are planning on taking the class, go ahead and register and if you win the free class slot, your money will be refunded.

From all of us at The Felting and Fiber Studio, we wish you good health and please stay safe!

Nuno Felt Scarf Class

Nuno Felt Scarf Class

This is a quick( I lost a day so I am late) post about the class I taught on Saturday. I taught it at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild. Mostly it is just a lot of pictures of the layout and then after felting.  I hear that’s what social media is supposed to be these days lots of pictures and very little reading so I hope you like it.

These are the layouts. A very creative bunch and I think everyone used silk hankies to have a go at making flowers.

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I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. It was more work than some thought it would be but that is normal for a felting class. In the end, I think they liked the result.

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I used the batch resize feature of my photo program for the first time and it worked out really well. If I had had more time I probably would have done som more precise cropping but when your in a hurry you just have to hold your breath and push the yes butten.

Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques Registration Opens

Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques Registration Opens

Are you ready for a fun adventure in surface design on felt? You can now register for any of the four modules in the Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques – A Mixed Media Approach online class. The classes will begin on February 21, 2020 and are only $45 US for 4 weeks of instruction and 2 extra weeks of instructor support.

Module 1 of Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques - A Mixed Media Approach, Online Course by Ruth Lane

Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination

Paper fabric lamination is a technique of essentially gluing paper to sheer fabric in a specific design. It is not a new technique and has been used by fiber artists for a long time. When  I first learned the technique, I wondered how I would use the result. Many artists use paper fabric lamination and layer the results together with stitching and other methods. When I looked at my samples, I saw sheer fabric with a design and thought “Why not try nuno felting with it?” I tried it, it worked, and I loved the results. It was a way to use my own designs and create a piece of nuno felt that was completely different and in my own style.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Experimental Screen Printing on Felt

Have you put off trying to screen print because you thought it was too complicated? This is the course for you then. This course will teach you about a variety of methods of screen printing that are fun and easy although sometimes a bit messy! The results on felt are always interesting and you can add your personal touch to your felt projects.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Printing, Stenciling and Playing with Thickened Dye on Felt

Learn to make thickened dye and then use it to make designs on felt or silk. Create your own unique designs with stamps, stencils and stuff found around your house. This course will teach you to experiment and play with thickened dye. Try out this fun course and learn to make your own designs to add to your felt.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

Machine stitching on felt adds wonderful details and is a simple process. It does take a bit of practice but I can show you ways that make it much simpler. Have you always wanted to add that extra touch of stitching to a felt picture or add lines to your composition? Free motion machine stitching could be your answer. This is one of my favorite ways to add texture, line and pops of color to my felt.

If you would like more information or to register for the class, click on the link above.

As always, our Wet Felting for Beginners online course is always available.

Learn the basics of wet felting including layout, adding embellishments, how to felt and full, shrinkage rates and more. Take the mystery out of how to wet felt by joining us in this online class with unlimited access. It’s only $20 US!

Learn something new in 2020!

Terry Berries Felted Bag Online Class

Terry Berries Felted Bag Online Class

Registration for Teri Berry’s Felted Bags online class is now open! This is a great course and was well received, so it’s exciting it’s being run again. There are limited spaces available so if you want to register, click on this link and fill out the registration form.

During this 5 week course, you will have the opportunity to make at least 3 bags/purses.

In week 1, you will make an animal themed spectacles/phone/pencil case, this could be in the image of your favourite pet or a friend’s pet (they make very thoughtful gifts) or a mythical beast of your own imagination! You will use multiple resists, introduce some nuno felting and make a closure entirely from wool.

In week 2 you will learn to make a small to medium shoulder/handbag (purse to our US friends), this tutorial will demonstrate how to add internal pockets, a magnetic clasp, adjustable shoulder straps and take shaping the felt to the next level so the bag has a flat bottom and stands up on its own.

The week 3 tutorial is a little more ambitious, you will learn to make a backpack with adjustable straps, multiple internal compartments and internal pockets.

Weeks 4 and 5 will be for catch up / further development, you might like to apply your own design to a bag, Teri will be on hand to answer any questions and talk through any challenges your design might create.

As with all the online courses, there will be lots of opportunity to share your work with the rest of the group and share ideas.

The content of this workshop is suitable for felters with some experience, you do not need to have made a bag before but if you are confident making felt pods, bowls etc. over a resist you will be able to make these bags.

The class begins on February 13th. The price for this five-week course is £60 GBP (approx. $79 US, $105 Canadian, €70, $112 AUD, $119 NZ) and the number of places will be limited to 30 students.

Sign up here.

A Felting Adventure

A Felting Adventure

This is a guest post by Lindsay Wilkinson. You can find her here: Lindsay Wilkinson Artwork (Facebook and Instagram). I am also excited to say that Lindsay will be joining us as a regular contributor and I am looking forward to seeing more of her work.


Last week I set off on a felting adventure I’d been looking forward to for a long time. I was travelling from the UK to the Netherlands to do a 2-day wet felted seed pods workshop with Gladys Paulus, an internationally acclaimed felt artist whose work I’ve long admired.

I’m one of those people who cannot go on a walk without coming back with pockets stuffed full of found natural objects like shells, pebbles and seed pods and they have often inspired my felt work so here was the opportunity to learn from an expert.

The first challenge began before I even left home: how to fit everything on that long list of course materials into a suitcase that I could take on a plane? The answer? – ditch most of the clothes.

The venue (Atelier Fiberfusing) was a large warehouse-type building in a beautiful setting which had acres of working space – it was a real luxury for me to work on an enormous bench as my studio work area is pretty small.

 

After brief introductions (my nine fellow participants were all experienced felters from 5 European countries, the USA and Australia) we quickly set about making our first experimental piece using pre-felt we’d pre-made then stitching and felting to create very textured pieces.


Mine looked decidedly like a brain and I love it!

Our second experimental piece investigated differential shrinkage – using the fact that thick felt shrinks less than thin felt – to create shaped structures. I’ve exploited these properties before, for example in making 3D shells, but was still amazed at how much shaping we achieved in our pieces.

Finally we set about our main piece. I decided to work from this small eucalyptus seed pod I’d picked up somewhere on my travels.


We worked on these for the rest of day one and the whole of day two. There was plenty of expert one-to-one advice and support throughout the process and we also got to share in others’ learning as we were encouraged to gather around each other’s benches at key moments.

Here’s my eucalyptus-inspired seed pod. It’s not perfect but I am really pleased with it and learned so much through the process of design, making and experimentation. I particularly like the very textured surface (created by adding silky mohair locks and a small amount of kid mohair) and was thrilled to learn how to create the shaping of the body and how to attach a stem.

We finished by putting all our work together and everyone seemed impressed with how much work and variety we’d produced in 2 days. (Most of these are in the top picture)

Take-home lessons? Lots! I was particularly struck by how different our pieces were even when starting with the same template. There are so many ways you can work with and manipulate the felt and I realize a resist is more of a starting point than a defining feature. I also really enjoyed learning from others, particularly Gladys but also the other participants. Apart from a one-day beginners felting workshop about 8 years ago, I’m a self-taught felt maker but will certainly look out for other group learning opportunities.

I’m now buzzing with new ideas and can’t wait to start using some of the new skills and techniques.

Here’s a bonus photo of the scenery near Atelier Fiberfusing on Sunday morning.

Registration Open Now for Online Felted Concertina Hat Class

Registration Open Now for Online Felted Concertina Hat Class

Would you love to learn how to make some really fun felt hats? Then you need to take this wonderful online class with Teri Berry, Felted Concertina Hats.

The online class registration is now open and you can sign up here. The class starts on October 24 and is a four week course. You’ll learn all about how to make concertina felt hats and Teri shows you some great adaptations and how to move forward to create other felt hats.

 

You’ll learn about hat blocks, shaping and sizing your hats.

You’ll also learn how to make this cool snail hat as well as how to blend colors and make silk stripes.

So sign up now to learn how to make some really cool felt hats. You do need some felting experience but you do not need to have made a hat before. If you are confident making felt pods, bowls, bags etc. over a resist you will be able to make these hats.

Don’t miss the fun! Register now to take this wonderful online course.

Another Great Nuno felt Class

Another Great Nuno felt Class

I had another wonderful group of ladies learning to make Nuno felt. I had 5 in the class.

Here everyone is laying out their base wool on the silk blanks I had dyed for the class

Ruth has been talking about layout effecting shrinkage. Some of these ladies are laying their wool along the scarf to get a shorter but wider scarf and the others are laying the wool across the scarf to get a longer but narrower scarf.

After the base is laid down they get to add the embellishments, more wool, curls or silk fibres, hankies or throwsters waste.

Then after much rubbing and rolling and some scrunching and throwing everyone had a lovely finished scarf. the first 2 below put very thin layers so the silk would show through to the wool side.

Everyone seemed really pleased with what they had done and the magic of making nuno felt. I am always amazed at how different everyone pieces are and the surprise when it really works.

Needle Felted Flat Landscape Workshop 2019

Needle Felted Flat Landscape Workshop 2019

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.

1

(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.

 

2 (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.

3(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.

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(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.

15 (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 )

 

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