• Workshop Description Page

Workshop Descriptions

Lisa Klakulak focuses her instruction on understanding the material and process in order to apply good technique and craftsmanship in implementing the elements of art and the principles of design. STRONGFELT courses are not kit or generally project oriented, rather, encouraging participants to question and develop a deeper understanding of the material through technical studies. This empowering approach provides a knowledge base to navigate results and to achieve personalized visions and aesthetics in the felt medium.

Workshops descriptions listed below are exemplative of recent teaching and topics covered under a course title may vary depending on the length of course offered. Participants are requested to bring specific supplies in addition to the materials provided with the materials fee for each course and these lists/fees are made available by the hosting venue. Additionally, Klakulak offers special studio tools and a collection of her work for sale to participants.

Visit the WORKSHOP SCHEDULE link for a current list of workshops scheduled. Contact the hosting venue listed for pricing, enrollment and further questions. Visit the STRONGFELT STUDIO link if the course is listed in Asheville, NC at Klakulak’s home studio for details, pricing and policies for these courses. Email Klakulak through the website’s CONTACT link. If you and at least one additional person are interested in scheduling a specific course/date for a course in the STRONGFELT STUDIO, inquires proposing such can be accommodated if scheduling allows.

Hosting venues can contact Lisa Klakulak through the website’s CONTACT link to discuss the possibilities of hosting a workshop or lecture for your institution and its patrons. Slide lectures of Klakulak’s residency experience, work development, travel and perspectives on contemporary/historical felting may be included during a workshop or scheduled separately for an additional fee.

*For intermediate level courses, experience with laying out fiber and wet felting fiber is requested (please contact instructor if needed)

TWO-DIMENSIONAL FELTING TECHNIQUES:
FOUNDATIONS FOR WET FELTING
FELT FUSION THROUGH SUBSTRATES
PATTERNING FELT
FELTED IMAGERY

THREE-DIMENSIONAL FELTING TECHNIQUES:
SCULPTING HOLLOW FORM
SCULPTING THREE-DIMENSIONAL FELT SURFACES
SOLID FORM FELTING TECHNIQUES
RESIST-BASED PENDANTS

NATURAL DYES:
A FOUNDATION FOR DYEING FELT
DYING FELT WITH INDIGO
A FULL SPECTRUM FOR PATTERING IMAGERY WITH PARTIAL FELTS
THE COLOR GRAB

TWO-DIMENSIONAL FELTING TECHNIQUES

Foundations for Wet Felting: Fiber Variations and Shrinkage Calculations
All Levels | suggested time: 3 day course

Participants will understand basic cleaning practices for dirty wool and the ideal use of water, soap, agitation and heat in the wet felting process. Explore qualities of a variety of types of animal fibers including fine and coarse sheep wool and more exotic fibers such as alpaca, rabbit and camel. Hand and drum carding will be employed to create blends of varying percentages of fiber content including non-felting fibers to discover additional effects. Strategic sampling will provide valuable information allowing for the calculating of percentages of shrinkage, the shrinkage factor and weight per area in both the layout and the felted fabric. Participants will leave with a gradation of shrinkage samples, a “Deck of Cards”, that can be referenced for future projects to determine the type of felt most applicable for a project as well as the size layout, amount of wool and percentage of shrinkage needed to achieve that exact type of felt in your project.

Cleaned locks on the far left and a variety of animal fibers (STRONGFELT STUDIO,  2014)
Participants laying out different types of fiber, different weights of fiber per area, exploring color blending and the incorporation of non-felting fibers (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2014)
STRONGFELT samples of various weights of fiber layout for calculating percentages of shrinkage and shrinkage factors so to be able to achieve desired results such as drape for wearables, wall thickness for hollow forms, dimension of surface design when applying partial felts, etc
Samples exploring different percentages of shrinkage of the same fiber weight layout that can be used for a plethora of effects such as image and pattern clarity, edging fabric fusion, etc

Felt Fusion Through Substrates: Texturing and Edging
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 3 day course-5day

Fusion (also known as nuno, laminate and hybrid) is the term Klakulak uses to refer to the coercing of wool fibers through other pre-structured fabrics. Participants will understand the variables in this process in order to gain control and desired results. The workshop focuses on experimenting with various substrate materials and structures (not only silks!), controlling the type of fabric texture achieved including the use of partial felts as a type of resist and sampling a variety of ways to finish the edges of the fabric inclusion (tacked edge, partial felt edge, partial felt patterned edge and a folded edge). A 4-day course can include either the encasement of objects in fabric pockets or free-motion machine embroidery, which can be applied to the felt to further define textures, gather thin felt to accent dimension and crater thick felt to create an embossed effect. A 5-day course includes both encasement and embroidery.

STRONGFELT sample of partial felt used as a resist to control the amount of hair that penetrates the substrate
Different levels of integrity of the partial felt effect the fabrics texture, the surface dimension and the finished size of the shape (Ellen Roy’s work, Auckland, NZ workshop, 2012)
STRONGFELT sample of a stretchy synthetic knit with partial felt used as a texture resist and the use of free-motion embroidery to accent the background texture
STRONGFELT sampler of various edging methods of incorporated fabric.
Applying strips of high integrity partial felt to the edge of fabrics to seal the cut edge, a technique used in creating stained glass effect with fabric (Annelie Richardsson’s work, Ullform, Stavanger, Norway workshop, 2012)
STRONGFELT body chain showing the refining of the edge of a fused fabric composition

Patterning Felt: Partial Felt Gradation & Free-motion Embroidery
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 3-4 day course
(4 day course includes free-motion embroidery techniques)

This class focuses on a skill set for articulating shapes and creating repeating patterns on felted surfaces. Partial-felts (also known as pre-felts, but different than a needle felted batt) is the term I use for wet felting fibers into a 2-D sheet for the purpose of cutting shapes to be felted to a background of loose fleece. Depending on the initial thickness of the sheet layout, the amount of felting/fulling that occurs before the shape application and the thickness of the fleece background an unimaginable range of effects can be achieved. Learn to control shape edge quality, background color bleed and surface dimension while experimenting with color gradations, shape spacing and movement of pattern based on shape design and rotation. The 4-day course includes free-motion machine embroidery , which can be applied to the felt to further define shapes, gather thin felt to accent dimension and crater thick felt to create an embossed effect.

STRONGFELT sample of an arrangement of shapes cut from partial felt
STRONGFELT partial felt gradation sample revealing variations in shape size, clarity and surface texture depending on when the shape is cut during the felting/fulling process.
Partial felt color gradation in the layout stage (Kate Veness-Meehan’s work, STRONGFELT STUDIO workshop, 2014).
Partial felt patterning created from a color gradation (participant of workshop in conjunction with Textiles Today Exhibit at the Durango Art Center, CO 2012)
The linear color bleed of partial felt’s on the backside of the background fiber (participant of workshop in conjunction with Textiles Today Exhibit at the Durango Art Center, CO 2012)
STRONGFELT sample of a multiple tiered partial felt surface design detailed with free-motion embroidered embossing

Felted Imagery: Partial Felt Mosaic Technique
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 3-5 day course
(4-day course includes free-motion embroidery techniques)
(5-day course includes the integration of fabric fusion)

Develop recognizable imagery, whether impressionistic or graphic in felt surfaces through the wet felting technique of arranging partial felt in a mosaic style. This class is designed to provide observational skills for drawing with proportion and perspective as well as knowledge of the color globe for hand carding tints, shades and intensities of colored fiber in order to render objects realistically on a 2-dimensional plane. Participants will reproduce their drawn images (and/or existing images of their own choosing) from high-shrinkage partial felts shrunk to a specified degree of possible shrinkage. This techniques allows for the image application on a background fleece without the image bucking from the differential shrinkage of the fulling process. Images may also be placed on a carrier fleece for later application on a specific project. The 4-day class involves free-motion machine embroidery, which can be applied to the felt to further define shapes, add details of shading and tinting and to add visual and physical texture. The 5-day class includes the integration of pre-structured fabrics both as fabric and as fabric fused partial felt to add surface texture, design or to support the concept of the piece.

STRONGFELT sample of drawing thread spools to be rendered in felt by being attentive to perspective, color shading/tinting and shadows (class study from workshop at New England Felting Supply North Hampton, MA, 2013)
Class study where the group took up positions around a single cup in the middle of the table to offer different perspectives and lighting. (workshop at Ullform, Stavanger, Norway 2012)
Class study in rendering random tools found in the classroom space. (Dee Dee Triplett’s work, John C Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC workshop, 2010)
Puzzling together shapes to form an image after partial felts of specific colors, thickness and integrity where made. (Lucia Taxdal’s work, Felt Technical/Felt Innovative Concentration, Penland School of Crafts workshop, 2010)
The assessment of colors needed to render a carton of eggs after an initial study to learn the process. (Heather Morrical’s work, New England Felting Supply North Hampton, MA workshop, 2013)
An impressionistic approach to image making using a combination of loose fiber, low integrity partial felts that blurr as well as more fulled partial felts that offer a more defined edge. (Jessie Conley’s work, John C Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC workshop, 2009)
STRONGFELT sample of free-motion machine embroidery used for adding fine details created by highlights and shadows.

THREE-DIMENSIONAL FELTING TECHNIQUES

Sculpting Hollow Form: Application of Partial Felt Density
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 4 day course

Wool fiber is typically wrapped around either a pre-existing form such as a ball or balloon or a 2-D flat resist made from a variety of materials impenetrable by the fibers in order to felt hollow forms. In addition to the shape of the resist, understand how varying the density of wool in a given area and circumferential fulling can provide more control to sculpt desired forms and forms previously unimaginable. Participants will make partially felted sheets of fleece in varying thicknesses and states of structural integrity to apply as distinct shapes in their fiber layout.  Proper fulling and the thickness of the vessel’s wall in relationship to its volume will determine the forms integrity. Hand stitched structural ribbing, steam blocking and shellac stiffening can then be applied to refine the forms posture and presence.

Integrating Partial Felt shapes into the fiber layout around a simple circular shape (Vianne Sleypen’s work, Felt West, Perth, Western Australia workshop, 2012)
Class study in raising a form from a 2-D layout by circumferentially fulling the thinner areas of fiber
Development of a unique hollow form from a circular template by circumferentially fulling the thinner areas of fiber and allowing the thicker areas of partial felt to  protuberate (participant in Taos Wool Festival workshop, Taos, NM, 2011)
Modifying an additional variable by changing the template resist shape and then applying partial felts to specific areas (Sibylle Werner’s work, Kunst-im-Souterrain, Weisbaden, Germany workshop, 2013)
Using one’s breath to keep the walls of the form from felting to one another when the entrance hole to remove the resist is too small for one’s hand! (Marije Kooi’s work, Fiberfusing Atelier, Amsterdam, Netherlands workshop, 2013)
After steam blocking the hollow form, a natural shellac is applied to stiffen the felt (Cheri Miller’s work, STRONGFELT STUDIO workshop, 2014)
Excited by her comprehension of the techniques, I hold Sandy Compton’s heart, her second hollow form during the course (Galt Museum, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada workshop, 2014)
The class studies of hollow form bloomed into an innovative application exhibiting personal aesthetics/interests (Rosina Saqib’s work, Felt Technical/Felt Innovative Concentration, Penland School of Crafts workshop, 2010)

Sculpting Three-Dimensional Felt Surfaces
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 3 day course

Participants will study and explore numerous ways to bring three-dimensional surface textures to otherwise two-dimensional felt. The use of surface resists will be employed to create high-relief planes and pockets. The application of thick partial felts to a thin background fleece will result in undulating surfaces as a result of differential shrinkage and circumferential fulling. Combine these concepts of surface resists and partial felts to raise hollow forms from within the surface plane. Additionally, learn to attach basic solid felt forms of cords and balls (created by needle and wet felting techniques) to a surface plane.

STRONGFELT sample of using layers of plastic to resist specific areas of fiber from felting together
Felting partial felt shapes into a thin background of fiber and using circumferential fulling to shrink the thinner wool around the base of the Partial Felts causing the shapes to dome (Pam Wittfeld’s work, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN workshop, 2012).
Felting partial felt shapes into a thin background of fiber and using circumferential fulling to shrink the thinner wool around the base of the Partial Felts causing the shapes to dome as seen from the backside (Tatiana Gvozdeva’s work, Sydney, Australia workshop, 2012).
STRONGFELT sample of layering plastic resists and partial felts on and in a plane of fibers with a high shrinkage rate to create surface caves and hollow forms that are intersected by the plane
Attaching solid form cords to a surface plane for sculptural surface texture as well as for the function of hoops for closures and straps (April Hale’s work, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN workshop, 2012).
STRONGFELT piece demonstrating the attaching of solid form balls to a surface for sculptural surface protrusions as well as for the function of closures

Solid Form Felting Techniques
All levels | suggested time: 3 day course

Explore solid felt forms of spheres, discs, barrels, cones, hoops and cords. Learn graceful connection techniques for wet felting these basic forms together to make more complex clasps, hinges, and undulating cords applicable for adornment, wearable closures and/or sculptural elements. Learn the appropriate tension and crosshatched preparation for dry wrapping and needle felting when preparing solid forms for wet felting. This technical sequence provides ample air space for shrinkage resulting in well-integrated surfaces that won’t pill! Additionally, explore the integration of partially felted shapes in the dry preparation to create more geometric forms by providing specific areas of greater felt density.

STRONGFELT samples of spheres, discs, barrels, cones and cords and more complex forms created by connecting these basic forms
Blending color gradations for layout to create color graduated cords (Ellen Baker’s work, Happerschoss, Germany workshop, 2013).
Class samples of building a hoop on the end of a cord and learning systematic techniques so to be able to repeat the same object and/or to modify the approach to obtain desired results (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair workshop, Arden, NC, 2013)
Repeating the same diameter and length cord and leaving the ends dry to connect to other forms (Susanna Hohman’s work, STRONGFELT STUDIO workshop, 2014).
Creating an undulating cord by connecting multiple partially felted spheres to a dry cord (Sabrina Meis’s work, Happerschoss, Germany workshop, 2013).
A collection of forms and connected forms (Silvia Josten’s work, Happerschoss, Germany workshop, 2013).

Resist-Based Pendants: Hollow Forms, Dimensional Surfaces and Object Inclusion
*Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 3 day course

A course combining multiple three-dimensional techniques for small-scale object refinement. Design unique hollow forms and bails for hanging by using two-dimensional resists as well as layer and embed resists to raise dimensional surface textures. Learn techniques for encasing durable found objects to add color, texture, material complexity and conceptual relevancy to your work. By simply wrapping fiber around an object one doesn’t provide ample space for the fibers to felt and therefore one must employ a resist larger than the object, which involves just a little calculation!

Class study on the relation of the weight of fiber to the area of the resist template to obtain both high shrinkage felt and the desired size for the pendant (workshop in Point Reyes, CA, 2013)
Layering plastic resists and partial felts to create dimension on the forms surface, which also determines the shape of the form based on where the weight of fiber is added (Sidesl Saterhaug’s work, Ullform, Stavanger, Norway workshop,  2013).
Layering plastic resists and partial felt tentacles (Susan Hall’s work, Point Reyes, CA workshop, 2013).
Hollow form pendant with curling surface planes (Sharon Milliner’s work, STRONGFELT STUDIO workshop, 2013).
Encasing a faceted piece of glass with a thin, high shrinkage felt (Anne Bekk Weltzien’s work, Ullform, Stavanger, Norway workshop, 2013).
Cutting through the felt skin surrounding an object to reveal its surface quality (Katie Aldrich’s work, STRONGFELT STUDIO workshop, 2014).

NATURAL DYES

A Foundation for Dyeing Felt
All levels | suggested time: 3 days

Participants will dye a variety of naturally colored animal fibers to gain understanding of how to handle loose fibers so they do not mat prior to intentional felting as well as of the wider spectrum of color that can be created by over-dyeing natural fiber colors. Explore the use of a Potassium Alum Sulfate mordant to enhance the fibers ability to absorb adjective dyes to achieve light and wash fastness. Substantive dyeing (without the use of a mordant) and indigo dyeing will also be addressed. Participants will work with cochineal, madder, weld, walnut and indigo.

Mordanting washed locks of wool fiber (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2014)
Weld dye applied to gray wool fiber in varying ratios of dye material to weight of fiber (Felt Technical/Felt Innovative Concentration, Penland School of Crafts, 2011)
Naturally dyed washed locks of wool fiber (Felt Dimension Concentration, Penland School of Crafts, 2006)
Carded, Naturally dyed washed locks of wool fiber (Felt Dimension Concentration, Penland School of Crafts, 2006)

Dyeing Felt with Indigo: A Spectrum of Blues
All levels | suggested time: 2 days

Participants will learn foundational felting skills while creating a partial felt in a gradation of different naturally colored fibers. Observe variations in the rate at which different animal fibers felt and then dye the felted fabric in a series of overlapping dips in an Indigo vat to create an additional gradation. A sample grid reference of various blues from the palest ice to the darkest midnight will result as well as an understanding of the additional shrinkage that occurs in the dyeing process. The basic chemistry of the indigo pot and the step-by-step process of setting up the lye/thiourea dioxide vat will be explained and experienced in detail so that one can easily create an indigo vat at home.

Laying out a gradation of colored animal fibers (participants in Taos Wool Festival workshop, Taos, NM 2011)
Adding oxygen to an over-reduced indigo vat (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2006)
Indigo dyeing over a gradation of colored animal fibers (Lisa Klakulak with participants, workshop at Taos Wool Festival, 2011)

A Full Spectrum for Patterning and Imagery with Partial Felts
Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 5 day course

Natural Dying of wool fiber necessitates a cautious approach, especially working with finer wools, so that fibers don’t mat in the processes prior to intentional felting. Experience this alternative technique used to create a broad palette of naturally dyed sheets of felt for application in surface design while understanding the differences between wet felted partial felt and commercially available needle felted batts. After creating partially felted sheets of white merino wool fiber, mordant with tannin/citric acid mordant and potassium alum sulfate mordant and then dye with the most light-fast natural materials and dye extracts: cochineal, madder, weld, myrobalan, indigo and walnut. Learn how combinations of these materials in the same pot as well as through over-dyeing can result in a full spectrum of colors. An introduction to the use of these dyed sheets of felt for various patterning effects and recognizable imagery will be discussed and sampled.

Commercially produced needle felted batts mordanted (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2013)
Partial felt sheets dyed with cochineal, weld and indigo (participants in Taos Wool Festival workshop, Taos, NM, 2011)
Partial felt sheets dyed with indigo and madder revealing the difference in color when madder dyed sheets are over dyed in indigo versus when indigo dyed sheets are over dyed in madder (workshop at Taos Wool Festival, Taos, NM, 2011)
A palette of naturally dyed partial felt sheets (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2013)
Naturally dyed partial felt surface design application in process (participant in Taos Wool Festival workshop, Taos, NM, 2011)
STRONGFELT sample of naturally dyed partial felt for imagery (workshop hosted by Sara Burnett, Rochester, NY, 2012)

The Color Grab
Intermediate & Advanced | suggested time: 4 days

Natural fibers react with mordants and dyes differently when processed simultaneously in the same pot. In this course, students will explore techniques for combining fine wool fibers and pre-structured fabrics of silk to create new texture fields of strong felted, yet draping fabrics. Participants will then mordant and submersion dye these new fabrics with natural dyes (some locally grown) and learn methods to control which fiber grabs the color first and therefore stronger. Differences in the fibers’ biology, proportions of the fibers in the pot, pre-mordanting practices of the silk fabrics and colorants will be addressed and explored.

Vertical entry of silk fabrics into mordant pot to avoid air bubbles (Lisa Klakulak and participants, workshop at Appalachian Center for Craft, Smithville, TN, 2005)
White and brown wool fiber fused with pre-mordanted silk fabric and submersion dyed in madder root (STRONGFELT works, 2009)
Silk fabric and partial felt design fusion in process (STRONGFELT works, 2010)
Pre-mordanted silk fabric grabbing the most weld dye from the dye pot (STRONGFELT works, 2012)
Lisa Klakulak revealing the differential take up of madder root dye on a silk fabric fused body textile as it is removed from the dye pot (STRONGFELT works, 2009)
Notations and samples from experiments in controlling the “Color Grabbing” of different fibers dyed simultaneously (STRONGFELT STUDIO, 2009)

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Lisa Klakulak teaching in a workshop in conjunction with the Textiles Today Exhibit at the Durango Art Center, CO 2012

Lisa Klakulak teaching in a workshop in conjunction with the Textiles Today Exhibit at the Durango Art Center, CO 2012