The second felt workshop that I participated in at ‘Felt in Focus’ was fairly large felt sculptures with Anna Gunnarsdottir from Iceland. This was a brilliant experience and taught me a totally new way of looking at resists! As with Lyda’s complex bag workshop I am going to cover what we did over several posts and this is also a good way for me to revisit all that I learnt over the 2 days. (Please bear with me as I am having computer problems, it keeps closing and I think that I need to get it ‘attended’ to by an expert or else I will go potty!)
Anna’s large sculptural pieces are amazing and it was very exciting to learn the technique of felting large objects, my head is now full of shapes and I am just waiting for the arrival of Icelandic wool to really go crazy experimenting at home. Once everyone had introduced themselves and explained what they hoped to get out of the workshop Anna explained and demonstrated how she stitches layers of plastic resist together to form the template for her felt objects. I was lucky that reknowned Irish felter Elizabeth Bonner had participated in the first workshop so I had the advantage of watching her work progress and learn from any observations and tips. The biggest help to me was knowing that creating a symmetrical template was easiest and then stitching straight up the central line as opposed to joining the layers with a curved line would be the simplest option. Anna encouraged everyone to think outside the box when deciding on our shape and I although I had toyed with the idea of using my backpack template this proved too large to deal with in the two days allocated. My choice therefore was a bit like a rounded figure of eight on it’s side, complete with two bumps on each surface that I intended embellishing with horse hair. This workshop was also a great opportunity to experiment with new fibres and fishskin. Anna had a great selection of horse hair and dyed salmon, wolf fish and cod skin, other participants had brought raw fleece and various found objects to play around with. To be cont …. including pictures of my template and work in progress!