Jan and I spent a very active, happy and tiring day trawling Lexington for printed silk then headed over to Masterson Station Park so that I could check out the workshop space for the weekend and say hi to Roo Kline and Elizabeth Taylor. To say that I was excited to get first dibs on their AMAZING fibre would be an understatement, if you've signed up for either of my workshops this weekend you're in for a BIG treat!!! Everything with the exception of some naturally coloured black cloud like fibre is hand dyed in a beautiful range of contrasting and complimentary colours. For the weekend I selected luscious alpaca locks, bamboo tops, silk hankies and Firestar, the colour range is glorious! Roo and Elizabeth are also going to offer all my students a discount on any fibre they purchase from them during the festival and I've already bought a massive bag of goodies to use myself when I get home. Anita, who's minding my studio while I'm away, is also going to get a lovely slice of heaven! Pictures tomorrow, until then adieu.
An amazing tip learnt during the Anita Larkin workshop concerns the use of a wire brush! People had brought different sized brushes to try, but for fairly small pieces of work a suede shoe brush seemed perfect. We used these when repairing a seam or depression caused by uneven rolling, attaching an object or closing the hole created when removing the plastic around a resist (explanation re resists Anita’s way to follow in another post). I hope that I can explain what we did clearly but if it is not obvious enough please let me know. The type of ridge/depression I am talking about is that created by uneven pressure when rolling a ball or a cord, often a problem for me and I am sure that most of you know what I am talking about. Once you notice a ridge or depression forming at the pre felt stage use your wire brush gently to fluff up the fibres on either side of the problem area. Holding the piece of felt lightly in your hands (or on the table if easier) smooth the fibres with your fingers and encourage them to move towards each other. It is important that if the ridge goes in one direction you make the smoothing action in the opposite direction, ie. at a 90 degree angle to where the ridge is lying. Keep smoothing very gently for quite a few minutes and you will notice that the ridge or depression magically seals over. This method of fluffing up the fibres with a wire brush also allows you to attach a prefelted object to another piece of felt, just fluff up the side where you wish to make your join and work the seal very slowly and carefully. Next time that I write a post I will discuss Anita’s method of making cords and inserting wire into felt.
I did want to mention today however that on Saturday I attended an excellent one day workshop about silk paper making facilitated by Tunde Toth. This workshop was organised by the South East Textile Group and took place at our usual venue in the Demense Yard at Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. Tunde is an artist working from the Kozo Gallery in Thomastown and specialises in different types of paper making. She brought a great range of fibres for us to work with, initially we made a basic silk paper and then got really stuck in using inclusions and dyes as we became more experimental. I found the whole process really inspiring as depending on the thickness of the paper made I feel it will be possible to insert the silk paper into a piece of felt at the early part of the felting process. Already I have made a couple of experiments with silk paper that I made on Saturday, more on this subject as soon as I have finished writing about the scupltural feltmaking weekend with Anita.