I discovered the world of felting several years ago, through the guidance of Polly Stirling, the pioneer of Nuno Felting and I vividly remember the feelings and excitement I had when I first dove into learning a whole new language that wool and silk speaks when they get together. Polly used to come to SF to teach her workshops at the Sewing Workshop, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to sign up for a couple of them on two consecutive years. Both classes were filled with so much information about how to lay the fabric, fibers, and how to get different effects and textures.
Years have passed ever since, and my felting went into a sort of a halt… until the day that I stumbled upon the work of Vilte and Irit Dulman. When I first saw their work I was taken aback by the beauty and the complexity of their pieces. The textures and layers express an organic rawness that almost look like the pieces are taken from tree barks, waterfalls, sand dunes, etc. They are photographs of nature captured into beautiful garments. I learned that they where offering workshops. Unfortunately for me, the workshops were held in far away places… bummer. But not for too long.
Work by Vilte
Going Beyond the Surface
I heard that a new workshop was going to be held here in California. In Monterey to be more exact. I signed up almost immediately and I started gathering my materials for the workshop with lots of excitement. I drove to Monterey with my car filled with smelly raw fibers, boxes packed with all kinds of leaves that I started gathering, since who knows when, bolts of silk, fibers of all sorts, and an unending list of accoutrements… and big expectations. I should have taken a picture of my car. It looked like the car of one of those homeless guys that hung out here in town. With all due respect…
I won’t go into details about the workshop, but it was a wonderful experience. It was intense and filled with so much information that I’m still slowly processing it, but I came home with a set of new tools that I will be able to apply to my work and renew that first love that I felt for the first time I encountered felting. Irit and Vilte generously shared their knowledge, but furthermore, what they truly do is plant the seeds for more experimenting and exploration, which enhances the true value of their workshops.
I retured home tired, but happy and with several pieces, some felted, and some pieces of silk dyed with different kinds of leaves, and an immense amount of inspiration that will last me a lifetime.
Rose leaf details
I’m excited to let you know that I will be teaching a Felting workshop at the Regenerative Design Institute on October 31st as part of their Re-skilling Series.
Re-skilling is a term used by the Transition Town Movement to revive the art of traditional craftsmanship. As we transition away from global consumerism and towards localized, earth friendly economies, we need to reclaim these skills for ourselves and for our community. Beyond just providing for our personal or family needs, these essential skills can provide the basis for emerging cottage industries that can revitalize the local economy with genuinely “green” principles and technologies.
Re-skilling requires that we connect more deeply to the natural world. It involves cultivating (or foraging) plants for basketry, building materials, medicine, general body care, dyes, food and clothing. It invites us into a closer relationship with domestic and wild animals, and asks that we pay more attention to the changing of the seasons and the cycles of the natural world. It also fosters a deeper gratitude for all that nature continues to provide us.
Workshops will focus on hands-on learning, and will include topics like fiber arts, rustic furniture making, soap-making, herbal medicine, mushroom cultivation, and more. This fall, RDI will be hosting several fiber arts workshops – the first in a series on how to transform raw local materials into beautifully hand-crafted clothing. Read more about the Re-skilling Series and the Fiber Arts workshops.
For now on I will be posting my shop updates here which it is located at the top of my blog, above the header. At least I will for a while try to see if it works fine. This last week has been busy for me, I will post some pictures of what I’ve been up to:
I made some humongous project bags, I mean really big ones. This bags can carry my whole world. The story behind these bags starts a couple years ago when a friend of mine drop in my doorway a few boxes full of wonderful organic fabric that are remnants from Coyuchi, a local company that produces beautiful bedding products. She knows that I’m crafty and she trusted that I could came out with good ideas to recycle this fabric. I left the boxes for about two years to collect dust, but from time to time I would have the intention of putting the whole thing in the community free box; a place that we have here in town where people can drop off any usable stuff and somebody else could use it. And then, one day I had a voila moment. Tote bags! The design is very simple, but it goes well with the natural colors of the fabric. It took me about a week to make seven of them. It was fun to make something very quick and simple.
It holds a lot of stuff. The length of the opening is about 14 inches long. In the picture above in the upper right corner shows inside the bag with 3/4 of a pound of wool, my hand carders, a spindle, and still has more space.
For fastening the bag, I used some tagua nut buttons and some handmade abalone buttons that I get from a friend. And now I’m going to have some tea with the mad hatter…