I came across this shot last night from March 2013. I was sharing my vision for building the STRONGFELT STUDIO with local photographer Michael Mauney who had been assigned a shoot for a story in American Craft. It is so dramatic to see such an empty lot as I can hardly imagine my home without the south facing studio whose windows I would be touching had it been built at the time of the photo.
Archive | April, 2015
It had been just a few weeks since the first STRONGFELT STUDIO class in early April, but this crew got to see all the terraced beds blooming with color and texture. From the left: Karin Fish, myself, Susan Kaplow and Nina Denninger.
Nina’s hands are in action below, exploring the raising of a form from a 2-D plane by fulling the differential shrinkage into the third dimension. The ladies then employed the same concept of placing partial felt density into the layout, but this time while wrapping a resist. The increased area from both sides of the resist provides more height for the form’s walls as well as an ability to close the mouth of the form. Karin and Susan are refining their fiber layout around the resist, so to not bulk up the area at the edge, which would impede the raising of the form once the resist is removed.
My demonstration piece showing the art of less, is more! Negative space, or areas of thinner layout, result in more dramatic forming as these high shrinkage areas can undercut the low shrinkage partial felt leading to concave and highly protuberating form.
Nina’s form below and to the left, in the process of being fulled by using the STRONGFELT tool to not only agitate the concave areas but also to block and stretch the protuberations. Of course, this level of muscling the felt is in response to the strength of the fulled felt and shouldn’t be applied when the felt has less integrity or it will tear up or pill the surface. It’s all about intent…you have to prepare the form you are wanting by how you lay out the weight of fiber and on what shape resist and then think about how you agitate the wool from the beginning of the process to the end! Lastly, a little refining by way of steaming, shaving, stitching and applying shellac. Great class ladies!! Next course on Sculpting Hollow Form, Sept 17-20, in the STRONGFELT STUDIO, Asheville, NC!
The piece created during my Vance Elementary School Residency with 5th graders last week, April 7-10, 2015, has been completed today! I stretched it over a 28″ x 38″ x 3″ frame, which resulted in a lovely effect of several of the Dogwood blooms wrapping around the sides and sitting on top of the frame.
A special thanks to the Asheville City Schools Foundation for funding my TAPAS Residency at Vance, to Brian Ballenger for providing time in his science class for such a project, to Mark Schieferstein for cranking out a frame for me and to Steve Mann who made time today to photograph the piece. I look forward to sharing more about this residency and posting a collection of images on my website’s residency page in the next week…
Now I am on my way to the school’s open house so to be present to hear the kids talk to parents about their experience!
A rather joyful group started off the 2015 workshop schedule at the STRONGFELT STUDIO last weekend with a course on all things related to the coercing of wool fibers through pre-structured fabrics. We isolated variables in the fabric fusion process through a variety of studies to learn the range of possibilities that each variable offered. For instance, how much hair the hand of the maker allows to penetrate the fabric when the area and type of fabric and the amount and type of wool are the same or the control….the scientific method in action!
Then there is the density of fabric as a variable shown here by Elaine Evans…
Also the integration of partially felted sheets of wool! Depending on the integrity, partial felt can create a resist to hair grasping the fabric allowing the fabric color and pattern to be more bold and can also be used to refine the edges of the fabric as demonstrated by Becky Hope Mallory below. Structural design in wet felting is all about ‘hair availability.’
Oh and can’t forget to mention the wonderful linear effect of the hairs of the partial felt edge navigating to the surface shown in Elizabeth Childers sample….nor the simplicity of solely edging the fabrics to create a stain glass effect.
All my machines reared up and ready to drive for this coming weekend’s workshop! My first Singer was gifted to me by my mother at 16 when I began sewing clothes with my friend Dana Shroeder. The Janome I purchased while a resident at the Appalachian Center for Craft after receiving a brief lesson on free-motion embroidery from another textile resident, Alec Slinde, back in 2002. A no whistles Bernina I serendipitously acquired from Karen Newgard’s mama, Betty, when I killed the Janome’s motor just days before a show deadline! I killed the Bernina’s motor eventually too and had it reconstructed by the oh so skilled Phillip May. And lastly another used Bernina via John Lucas because a lady can never have too many machines (especially when I drive so fast and hard)! They are all equipped with free-motion feet, have different ranges of pressure foot height to allow for off-roading or working various thicknesses of felt and a range of speed control based on their pedals. The next STRONGFELT workshop that includes free-motion embroidery will be held in Columbia, NC at the Pocosin Arts Center, May 21-24, 2015.