Archive | May, 2015

Refined & Consistent..Small Scale Solid Form Felting

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The next class running in the STRONGFELT STUDIO in Asheville, NC is Solid Form Felting Techniques, June 19-21. We will be working small in this class so there is room for a few more participants if you think this direction in felting will be advantageous to your creative envisioning! We’ll first focus in on the dry fiber preparation for specific forms like balls, hoops and cords (the components these pieces are made from) and learn methods for repeating the same forms. By creating systems, a foundational understanding of the materials is established that allows us to reach further… to experiment with success…to innovate.

 

2Then learn different ways to connect these basic components together to begin the designing process. How thick will a cord be? Will it taper or have a dramatic change in diameter? Will it undulate between cord and form components? What will the spacing be between components? Will the components be intersected by the cord or hang from it? And so on…

 

 

These four neck pieces have an encased mirror as the centerpiece. This is one of the topics of focus in the Resist-based Pendants workshop, June 26-28. In that class we learn about small scale hollow form sculpting using interior an exterior resists. For the encasement study, we use resist material around the object to enlarge the surface area so the wool fibers can shrink snug against the object.

 

3From the Solid Form class in the STRONGFELT STUDIO last summer, Susanna Hohman is seen here designing a piece with repeating cords of the same diameter and skillfully keeping all the ends dry so she can connect the cords to other components. Tinker Toys really…what can you build from the basic forms? Want to come study & play! Send me an email

Art Connection Tour at the studio!

photo-29It was quite timely that I just purchased this new display case so that I always have some work out for visitors to the STRONGFELT STUDIO. I had recently been contacted by Sherry Masters who runs the Art Connection Tours in Asheville and the surrounding areas, which focuses on bringing visitors or even those living in the area to artist’s studios. Sherry had been the manager at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville for many, many years and therefore has a grand awareness of and relationships with makers in the area. I was included in a tour group interested in fiber based arts and had a very pleasant interaction with two couples that had been involved in the furniture industry in Hickory, NC. The husbands were particularly fascinated by the mechanics of the felting process and how the integrity of the material builds through the compression of the air space between the fibers as they intertwine tighter and tighter. Honored to be included!

MD Sheep & Wool Festival 2015

As a result of classroom constraints and the amount of activities that occur at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, I had to shorten what is typically a 3 day class on the subject of Solid Form Felting into 2 days. This space was full of food vendors the remaining days of the festival and yum.. found myself indulging in some damn good goat cheese over the weekend! One of the most challenging aspects of developing course curriculum is deciding what are the most important and helpful approaches to share and of course, what can be fit into the time. Elise Miller is pictured below right, laying out a color gradation cord, enthusiastically participating despite a recent injury. Good thing we weren’t doing any rolling!

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We focused on how to prepare the wool fiber dry into basic forms such as spheres, cords, discs and hoops with just enough air space so not to have the form collapse when wetted out and not to tight that the wool has no airspace to shrink into. Below left, Erin O’Donnell is connecting a dry barrel clasp to her dry cord and to the right Mary Ann Robinson is looking delighted as she fulls her form components into a cohesive singular piece of felt. Next scheduled Solid Form Course at the STRONGFELT STUDIO is June 19-21, 2015!!

 

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I am often asked if I have sheep, which is always somewhat amusing to me as I can’t imagine having time to raise animals with the making and traveling that I do, nor the space in my downtown Asheville property! It is always a treat, though, to be around the animals that grow the material that I have spent so much of my time manipulating. Below left is an image from the fleece show where one can handle the fleeces from a wide variety of breeds and purchase if so desired. Take a look at this gorgeous silver Merino fleece on the right! Looking forward to working some of this in the future.

 

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While walking the barns, I encountered this incredible coat on a Corriedale and wasn’t surprised to learn it took the prize for its breed and was on the way to a shearing workshop. The sheep were only an aspect of my delight as I also encountered my wool angel, Mary Scott of Serendipity Farm & Studio in Suffolk, VA. I met Mary at the Natural Dye Colour Congress in Ames, Iowa back in 2001 in a Mushroom Dyeing workshop. I had just begun my exploration of felt and this shepherdess became a fast friend educating me about breeds and helping me to get my hands on some fantastic wool over the years. Love you Mary!

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