Whenever I do a Year End Round Up, and look back over my posts, I always think ‘Was that really this year?’ I thought the same this time then realised I was looking at 2015! I seemed to have lots of stuff going on outside of felting and creating this year, so unlike Ruth, blogging frequently hasn’t really been able to keep me making things. But having to think of something to blog about has had me trying to be more observant, and think about other things fibre related to post about rather than finished items like I usually would. And looking back at the things I did make, it seems that experimenting, sampling and making ‘scruffy’ pieces of felt have been my ‘theme’ this year. I liked Ruth’s idea of a slideshow, so here’s some of my favourite photos of 2016:
December 29th is called Tick Tock Day. It is a reminder that there are only 2 days before the new year. It is traditionally when the prior year is reviewed for lessons learned and achievements met, lists are made for the coming year whether it be new year resolutions or goals and dreams that you long to fulfill. So it seems a good day for me to look back over what we have accomplished here at The Felting and Fiber Studio and what I have managed creatively in 2015.
At the Studio, we started off the year with a focus on color. All of the Studio Challenges related to color this year. Thanks to everyone who participated in the color challenges and we hope you learned a little more about color wheels, color schemes and how to blend different colors of wool to achieve the exact color you wanted or needed.
Now on to a few things that I created myself this year. It seems like all I did was work on my online class videos and PDF’s. I know I spent a lot of my time with that for sure. But I did make a few things.
There was dyeing fabric, dyeing fiber and playing with Gotland locks. I made some slippers, cat toys, notebook covers, phone sleeves and drink sleeves. I played in my sketchbooks all year long and made one sketchbook that was a study in shades of green. With my local surface design group, we played with screen printed rust, layering synthetic fabrics, mixed media paintings, silk paper making, making silk screens and soy wax combined with shibori techniques. I started a new project with my friend Deb Stika using her designs for machine stitched samples which might become a book someday.
My friends and I self published a book called The Whitefish Fashion Collection and put on an exhibition of all the sketches and artwork included in the book in August.
This is one of the sketches that I recreated in stitch and colored pencil on fabric.
I also traveled a bit in 2015 including visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and New York City. Both were inspirational in different ways.
I enjoyed assisting Gail Harker in a Level 1 Experimental Hand Stitch in Kalispell in June. It was a great group of ladies and we all had a wonderful session of stitching. We are planning a Level 1 Experimental Machine Stitch course in May of 2016 with more details to follow.
The year has been a busy one and I think next year will be the same. I always seem to have something on my plate. What do you have planned for next year? We would love to hear about it on the forum or if you have an idea for a guest post, please let us know. We are still looking for anyone who is interested in teaching an online course. We would love for you to submit a proposal for a class.
So Tick Tock, the year is coming to a close. We here at The Felting and Fiber Studio wish you a happy and creative, fiber filled new year.
I suppose my ‘Year end round up’ wouldn’t be complete without me saying I didn’t get half as much done as I’d have liked! Or that I’m surprised I got as much done as I did 🙂
One of the biggest things of this year for the 4 of us was starting our online College of Felt and Fiber Arts with the ‘Wet Felting for Beginners’ course. We got some brilliant feed back for that and so many requests and enquiries about classes that we decided to have it on-going continuously.
I tried out a lot of ‘new’ wools earlier this year which I’d discovered on the wollknoll site. This is one listed as ‘Arctic Fox’, I never did find out what it actually is, though it was quite soft and similar to Bluefaced Leicester. I tried a variety of fibres with it, along the top is Soy top, below that is black Bamboo top (L) and Milk Protein (R), then some Hemp fibre, and at the bottom is Viscose top:
This was ‘Russian Camelhair’, which I guessed was camel coloured Romanov. I used Ramie fibre with it:
In May, I finally finished an e-book I’d first had an idea for and started working on about 8 years ago. ‘The Right Fibre‘ is (like it says on the ‘cover’) a guide to using embellishment fibres in wet felting.
I tried over 20 different embellishment fibres (some didn’t make the final edit) and made lots of control samples and felting techniques to see the kind of things which affect the outcome of how the fibres look. It was hard, playing with wool and fibres, but someone had to do it 😉 Actually that was the fun part, it was having to keep leaving it alone to stew for a while until the ideas of how to organise the sections and how to format it fell into place. Luckily, as with other e-books and tutorials I’ve written, I had lots of help from studio site and forum members and my poor non felting girlfriend who now has an unusually large range of knowledge and understanding of all things wool, felt, fabric and fibre, despite never having felted in her life 🙂
In August I did ‘MakeFest’ at the Science and Industry museum, helped by my sister. It was hectic and overwhelming at first until we got some order and organisation. I learned that it’s possible to make a nice piece of felt on your first try at any age, and even the worst lumpy, clumpy layouts will turn out pretty good. We had lots of nice people having a go, this was the layout by Annabelle, who did it all by herself and was only 5:
And just last week I told you about the Start2 website which has lots of activities designed to get you creating and improve your well-being. I had quite a lot of fibres left over from MakeFest, so I did a fair bit of dyeing last year. This is dyed viscose:
Some dyed Bamboo staple:
And Silk Carrier rods:
Another highlight of the year was getting lots of gorgeous Swedish wool and Gotland Locks from Zara:
I did manage to do some felting this year! This was my favourite piece, inspired by plaid:
I hope everyone has had a good year with lots of felt and fibres 🙂
We don’t celebrate Boxing Day in the US so I didn’t have any idea really what it is. I looked it up and Wikipedia says that it historically in Britain was “a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older English tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.” So Happy Boxing Day to anyone who had to work on Christmas Day!
Each year I like to look back over the blog here and on my personal site and see what I might have accomplished over the year. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all that you have done in a year and that is one reason I really like to blog about what I do. It keeps a record of my fiber art.
I started the year by taking a couple of online courses from Gail Harker about circles using your sketchbook. And after looking back through the year, I worked a lot in my sketchbook. I sketched a bunch of flowers, made lots of circles, collages and made some stamps and stencils to use on my sketchbook pages.
Here’s a recent page that I made with snowflake stamps and stencils.
My local fiber group is still going strong and we made everything from Ukrainian eggs, discharge dyeing, gradation dyeing, mixed media paintings, soy wax batik, shibori to clamped dyed felt. But the thing we did the most often was silk screening. That seems to be one of our favorite activities.
Here at the studio, we had four great challenges based on artists including Jackson Pollock, Stewart Stephenson, Claude Monet and Land Art. We had some great entries from everyone and I did manage to complete all four challenges this year.
Other felted items I made this year were phone sleeves, slippers, cup cozies and a Holiday postcard for the Felting Forum Christmas Exchange. I also made a Wensleydale felted lamp shade and a piece of cut shibori felt.
I completed some machine stitched pieces including “Ice Flowers” seen above and a piece for the Totem Exhibition. I also stitched up some clamp dyed felt into zippered pouches.
I started a collaborative project with my friends Nanci and Deb. The “girls” is an applique piece that was based on one of Nanci’s sketches of people who visited my store. We will be having an exhibition and we’re also making a book. So you’ll hear more about that in 2015.
In February, my husband, my friend Paula and I set up the yurt at the Mini Maker Faire at FVCC College. It was a one day event and was tons of work to set up the yurt but it was great to educate people about what wool is (no sir, it isn’t made of dryer lint) and demonstrate felting. I also taught three classes to high school students in how to make a felted phone sleeve in April. Other miscellaneous things included dyeing wool and cheesecloth as well as making numerous cat toys to sell at the store.
Another thing that I have been working on is developing an online class in surface design techniques on felt which will include paper fabric lamination, using thickened dye for stamping and stenciling, soy wax batik, screen printing techniques and hand as well as machine stitching on felt. It’s taking a bit longer than expected but hopefully will be ready to go in 2015. So keep your eyes peeled for more information here.
So as usual, when I look back, I have done a lot more than I thought. Here at the Felting and Fiber Studio, all of us have had a pretty busy year judging from all our posts. Also, Marilyn joined us this year and has been a great addition to the team. Thanks Marilyn!
We’ll soon be posting about what’s going to be happening in 2015. We’ve come up with a great idea for the challenges and I hope you’ll enjoy them. All our best to everyone and we wish you happiness, good health and as much time as you want to play with fiber! Thanks for supporting us here and on the forum. We really appreciate you all.