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
THREE-DIMENSIONAL FELTING TECHNIQUES:
SCULPTING HOLLOW FORM
SCULPTING THREE-DIMENSIONAL FELT SURFACES
SOLID FORM FELTING TECHNIQUES
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.