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New Felting Workshops – Whitsundays Creative Arts Festival 2017

I am very pleased to announce that I am teaching 3 felting workshops at the Whitsundays Creative Arts Festival to be held 29th June to the 7th July 2017.    Rather than week long workshops this festival offers 2 day workshops meaning you can participate in 3 throughout the week, and making it a great way to teach felting.  Felting is very much a building up of techniques after learning to make quality felt.  There are so many directions you can go; fashion, wearable art, vessels, and my fave sculpting, let alone the number of techniques and styles.  I think this is going to be a great opportunity to teach several techniques using some of my favourite obsessions, and set in the beautiful Whitsundays, Queensland.  I can’t wait!  So what am I teaching?

  1.  Reef Dwellers.  Saturday 1 July & Sunday 2 July
    We are going to make gorgeous tropical fish using resists and templates, encompassed layers and differential shrinkage techniques, then we will stitch and bead them.  Full details and to book click here.
  2. The Felted Cactus Garden  Monday 3 July – Tuesday 4 July
    Create your own Cactus whilst learning multi-ribbed resist technique. This method of making resists will change the way you think about 3D felt making, and we’ll learn interesting things about Cacti along the way!  Full details and to book click here.
  3. Trio of Pots Thursday 6th & Friday 7th July
    Working your way through the Trio of Pots you will learn how to manipulate and shape felt into structurally sound and beautiful objects using differential shrinkage rates.  Full details and to book click here.

Full details of the festival, accommodation and the wonderful side trips are click here.

 

 

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More experimenting with differential weight felting

I love the idea of shaping felt by only using more or less layers of wool.   Both of these experiments use a 1 to 4 ratio of wool to create either an innie or an outie!  They were all made with really old wool so please forgive the poor finish!

“In or out? – Out”
One piece 2D resist hollow form ball – with protrusions.

IMG_8690 IMG_8690a

“In or out? – In”
One piece 2D resist hollow form ball – with intrusions.

IMG_8732 IMG_8744

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Review of Structural & Sculptural:Complex 3D Shapes in Felt by Nancy Ballesteros

eBook Structural & Sculptural Complex 3D Shapes in Felt

I am so lucky to be reviewed by Nancy Ballesteros from Treetops Colour Harmonies here’s what she had to say:

Judging by the title, this is not a book for beginner feltmakers. It is however, a great easy E-book for anyone with a little 3-D experience to extend their knowledge and skill base. I love the fact that you can quickly download this book onto your tablet and take it with you anywhere to read and apply the techniques.

The books briefly covers the basic felting skills needed to accomplish more complex 3-D forms ie. layout, prefelting, fulling and resist making. There is a discussion of differential shrinkage rates when wool is layered differently in different areas and for those more technically minded there is also a discussion with Shrinkage Rate Calculations. These basic skills are only covered at the start of the book and then you are continually referred back to this information as you need it.  A clever way to keep information in the following chapters simple and to the point. Your focus is mainly on learning the specific skills needed to execute the relevant 3-D shapes being taught.

A huge variety of resist forms are covered, Soosie eases you into resist making with a simple Evening Purse, then moves into the very interesting creation of a multi-angle resit in the form of a Barrel Cactus.  Tubes/Snakes and Negative Space resits are covered. A complex box is also tackled, quite a difficult task in felt.  Soosie then moves onto stitching construction methods for creating 3-D forms like Echeveria cactus and Peony Roses from prefelts.

There is quite a lot of information to digest in the small E-book and for ease of learning it is packed full of  pictures and diagrams. Felters wanting to take their 3-D repertoire to the next level, this E-book is definitely worth purchasing.

By Nancy Ballesteros
Treetops Colour Harmonies

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eBook Structural & Sculptural Complex 3D Shapes in Felt

eBook Structural & Sculptural Complex 3D Shapes in Felt

eBook Structural & Sculptural Complex 3D Shapes in Felt

My new book has finally been published and to celebrate the first 50 customers get How to make Felt for free.  Its been a long path to publication but its worth the wait – 88 pages of 11 Projects plus an extra section on more ideas.  Easy to follow and loads of photos.  Its my biggest book yet.  Value at $10.

Learn how to shape and mould felt into complex 3D forms using a variety of template resist and prefelt methods for wet felting techniques. You only need basic felting skills to start as the multiple felting techniques in 11 sessions and 9 projects, in Structural and Sculptural, will give you the foundation skills to create your own complex shapes in felt. Loads of images and diagrams, and step by step instructions will lead you through the processes.

Purchase here

eBook Structural & Sculptural Complex 3D Shapes in Felt   eBook How to make felt

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Barrel Cacti made from felt

felt Cactus

I have had requests for images of the individual Cacti made from felt and a little about each one so here goes!  First up the Barrel Cacti.  I love these slow growing prickly giants.  It took me several attempts to get the ribs right –  each resist becoming more complex and more barrel like.

felt Cactus  felt Cactus felt Cactus felt Cactus

felt Cactus IMG_4279 IMG_4281

felt resist This is the resist for the white spined barrel.

It also made this sculpture I named Nutmeg:

felt sculpture felt sculpture

 

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Working with felt large scale

Cacti and succulents come in all sizes from tiny pebble size conophytums to giant saguaros. Working small has issues in detail but working large poses 2 main challenges; making a self supporting structure and handling the piece before it is felted. In the design phase I ensured that any branches, ribs or vanes were the same angle and proportion that they were in nature. And when constructing the Saguaro I used a differential layering technique to ensure the felt’s structural integrity.
The saguaro was 2 metres long laid out making it about 30cm longer than my studio table, and used over a kilogram of wool. As wool can absorb many times its own weight in water it was very heavy once wet. I used strategic layers of thin plastic and bubblewrap to keeping everything in place and then folded the piece in various places to manoeuvre it.

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Engineering the felt Cactus Garden

The ribs of cacti are either fleshy branch like sections of the main trunk or perpendicular vanes that sit proud of the trunk. This structure is a survival mechanism, it allows them to swell and shrink, to manage dramatic rainfall fluctuations without cracking or wilting.  Spines are both a protection mechanism, they prevent predators from munching on the fleshy part of the plant, give shade, impede water loss and insulate against the cold.  So it was important that I had a similar structure in the felt – I solved this with multi- ribbed resists and vane like protrusions encased in a final layering of wool.

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Making felt prickly

Cacti made from felt.

Cacti have different kinds of spines and spikes depending on their main purpose. Some are defence against predators – it difficult to munch into something with long thick spines all over it. Some are for collecting moisture and providing shade so are finer and more delicate, and some are for insulation against cold and heat. These are intrinsic to the shape and structure of cacti so I had to get them right. I solved this with a combination of very thin stiffened silk nuno felt cut into thin strips and tiny glass beads.

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Lifelike felt

Cacti made from felt.

The Cactus Garden pieces aren’t replicas of cacti & succulents, to think I could “reproduce” nature in its perfection would be arrogant but to infer their reality through attention to detail and context is achievable. To this end I studied the hundreds of images I have taken over the years from various botanic gardens around the world, and plants in my own garden; noting the nuances in their ribs, spines and proportions then researching their habitat and growing requirements. Finally “planting” them in terracotta pots filled with stones and pebbles and displaying them in appropriate scenes adds to the perception of reality.

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Did you know?

  • All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.
  • Cacti & succulents grow in all habitats – desserts, snow, mountains, plains even in the tropics.
  • Cacti are mentioned as far back as 4th century BC by the ancient Greeks.
  • There are 2500 species of cacti and over 10,000 of succulents.
  • Some cacti & succulents have medicinal purposes and many have edible fruit.
  • Cacti & succulents are bird and butterfly attracting.

Cacti made from felt. Cacti made from felt. Cacti made from felt. Cacti made from felt.