Monday, December 8, 2014

Terra Textures-Surface Design in Felt Workshops


  I am absolutely delighted to announce a workshop series created by Katia Mokeyeva and myself to be offered this April at the Okanagan School of the Arts in Penticton,BC.

  Katia and I met while both teaching at the Midwest Felting Symposium, and found depths of commonality in our lives...both personal and creative. On our way home from this event, we kept running into one another in airports, as we made out way from gate to gate, moving west slowly on different flights but with the same stops... The sort of serendipitous meetings that are exciting and feel meaningful! The idea for this workshop collaboration was born during those chance encounters as we each ran for our next flight!

 The idea is to create a mix and match workshop combination  where students can chose an assortment of classes, learn very different felting styles from two enthusiastic, supportive teachers, while creating a complimentary collection of felt wearables. We work from a similar starting point...nature as our inspiration and the space that feeds our creative spirits....and from this core, we then work quite differently in every way...in design, layout and felting process....but both with an emphasis on surface design.   We will both be offering  two  x one day accessory classes, plus a three day garment class on the weekend.

The Okanagan School of the Arts at the Shatford Centre in Penticton is a perfect location for our workshops. Lots of room and a very supportive space, in a beautiful natural setting. Lake, mountains, orchards in bloom, vineyards...it's quite idyllic....


Full workshop information and registration through the Okanagan School of the Arts will be available On December 15th, 2015. I'll send you the links when that happens.

It really is very exciting! 

You can see more of Katia's beautiful work on her website:
www.feuer-und-wasser.com

Warm wishes, 
Fiona



 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Online Felting Workshops: Spring 2015


http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/surface-design-in-feltmaking-online-workshop/

  Registration is now open for the four online felting classes I'll be offering in Spring 2015.

 The Surface Design Online class has gotten bigger every time I've offered it....there is always just one more idea that comes up, related to the materials. Because of this and student feedback from the Fall sessions, I've extended the class to be 8 weeks long. We have two built in studio weeks. These are break weeks, for you to catch up on the previous two weeks worth of materials, or to implement these new techniques in a project. I think it will be a wonderful addition. A comfortable sense of community builds up in the classroom, and having a few more weeks together will be great.


http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-bags-online-spring/

Felt Bags Online remains the same, covering everything you need to know to make a great seamless bag. These can be any style- open market bag, messenger style with flaps, or more sculptural.


http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-illuminated-online-workshop-spring/

  Felt illuminated Online will take a different format this Spring. It will be released over three weeks, with week one covering wool breeds and surface techniques for great illumination, week two covers drum, bell and empire style lampshades, and week three covers ball styles as well as more unusual lampshades.  There are two different methods for resist construction and layout, in order to create your perfect light!

http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-jewelry-online-spring/

Felt Jewelry Online will be available this Spring! It is also taking a different format and will now be a four week class, with each week covering a different basic aspect of feltmaking; flat felt, cords, beads and balls.... The felt jewelry class is best suited to beginning feltmakers or intermediate feltmakers looking for a light and pleasurable class..  

For full information on each class, and to register, please click on the images above.
I love teaching feltmaking...and this online format has been wonderful to be able to connect with feltmakers all over the world. I hope you'll join us in February!
 
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Monday, November 17, 2014

Okanagan School of the Arts Workshops 1




  I have been working in one version of my most perfect place... there are several variations on this... but this is definitely a good one. The Okanagan is beautiful. And home to Canada's best wines, including some amazing reds. I'm staying on the Naramata bench, right on the KVR walking trail, in a vineyard... overlooking the lake.... with fine sunrises and sunsets. It is heavenly...and that is just my mornings and evenings.


  All day I spend at the Shatford Centre, home of the Okanagan School of the Arts. Some days I am teaching... and then others I am there as Artist in Residence. I'm using this time to tidy up some old work, refine my plans and goals for 2015/2016 and then start to enter into the mindspace for my upcoming exhibition in February. It is a wonderful world! Even with a separate studio space at home, and older children now, who are pretty self-sufficient, it is still a unique experience to go to a different space and focus. I think that is the key....to have clear goals to work towards in this special time set aside....with some breathing spaces allowed for...of course...and a fine glass of local red wine.


  This weekend was a three day session on Joomchi Feltmaking. We had a small class, due to a few cancellations, so I had the opportunity to make my own piece as a demonstration. With experienced feltmakers in the class, we delved deeper into perfect fit in garment construction and with a focus on lots of surfaces and composition techniques. 
All of the pieces were beautiful and perfect for their individual wearer and creator...
 


  And my own, red study....working with a single colour to really highlight the textures in the piece.


   This is first class I have taught in years that was not full. It was a tiny ego hit...being honest with you... but not for long...this smaller class size opened up opportunity to go much farther with my students and create something alongside them. We had more time for discussion and even a short "felt clinic" looking at past projects and tips for improving each work. It was a great gift of space and time.... These were three calm, creative, wonderful days, in an incredible setting and facility. It was pure pleasure.

And there are still 4 more days to go....
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Monday, October 27, 2014

Technique: Colour Shifting with Batting


  Wool fibres can be used like paints, laid out to create surface colour changes, but also combined in layers to build new colors through shadowing. We can also use this simple technique to create a shift or transition in colour progression.  It can be easier to imagine how to blend the layers when using wool roving than when using wool batting.  This is a method I use to create a more subtle shift in colour when laying out using wool batting.

This technique is illustrated using C1/Pelsull and C1 wool batting from New England Felting Supply.


 For many projects, we only need half the total thickness of the batt.
Unroll the batting so you have it at its full thickness. Then open up the layers into two- divide the sheet into two thicknesses. The wool batting divides easily this way…like sheets of phyllo dough….one half will usually be a little heavier than the other. For this layout, I am using the slightly more thick layer. Remember to do this for all your wool colours.


 On the area where you want to continue your layout and start the colour transition, divide this wool layer into two, and pull the top layer up about 2 inches (5cm). This amount will depend on the size of your overall project and composition.Pulling up a larger amount like 4 inches (10cm) will give you a large transition area with more opportunity for gradation.


 Using one hand as a clamp, pull off this part of the top layer.


 Repeat this process on your next colour. In this case I'm using two complementary colours.


 Lay the thin section of the new colour, over the thin section of the previous colour. Because these are both half thicknesses, the transition area now will be the same density as the full colour layer.



  Repeat this same process for all of your layout and colour transitions.


  Wet out and compress as usual.


 You may want to add this the very lightest, finest wisps, not adding weight, but another layer to deepen the gradation through the transition.



 Felt using your usual methods.


 
 In your transition areas, the two colours overlapping migrate through one another, creating colour shadowing. This migration is what will create the seamless colour transitioning. Tossing your felt really helps to get those fibres integrated and achieve good migration. It is very important to full your felt completely. If you are not seeing any colour shadowing, you probably have more felting to do!


 The transition areas show clear colour blending. A definite purple between the analogous blue and fuchsia, and a brown/orange tone coming from the lime green and fuchsia. This transition could be even more graduated by making a more deep overlap, and lightly adding wisps to the edges of the transition area in the closest colour. The colour transitioning is more subtle between analogous colours than complementary colours. This would also be true when using natural wool colours.



 This is a beautiful and simple technique for adding more depth to your felt composition, with just a simple variation in wool layout.


  A question about laying out using batting in this way was asked by a student in one of my online classes. I started writing out a text description of how to achieve the gradated result, and realized pictures just would tell it so much better! It was a fun exercise for me....a nice distraction from larger projects I have on the go, which I so need from time to time....and also a great opportunity to write a post here!

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hegira: A SHIFT dress




 
Hegira
He·gi·ra
hiˈjīrə,ˈhejərə/ : any flight or journey to a more desirable or congenial place. 
Usually an exodus or migration.  C16: from Medieval Latin, from Arabic hijrah: emigration or flight

This is the sisterdress to Migration.  I wanted to take the wishbone sculptural elements and use them in larger, more transparent forms.  An individual path compared to that of the many in Migration.


  Hegira was a watery dress from the very beginning. The large sheer panel in the middle of the dress, both front and back, illustrates a journey, broken at times, and coming from or starting with a fork or confluence...Rivers with portages, canals with locks, seas with storms...this was created with layers of silk gauze, with resists to prevent the one superfine merino wool layer from obscuring the path.  This dress is lighter than light.



  Different materials mirror the motif; resists, 3-D sculptural elements and silk organza.  The journey can look different but we can arrive in the same place....some are more obvious than others...The forms are like tracks...not continuous...they would take great observation and patience to find and follow.


  This dress was dyed on a full moon dyeing day this summer, which makes it feel just right to tell it's story on another full moon indigo dyeing day today. It is always a wonder-filled to experience to pull the textiles from the indigo vats...


  Hegira had many dips into the indigo vat....developing an intense deep blue...
I added pathways of stitches...but I think there are still more to come ....





  This dress looked wonderful exhibited as a scuplture, but it's story feels even more complete when shown worn on our beautiful island....reflecting the journey by water we all take to get here...





  How can I resist adding more pictures...so beautiful....shades of indigo captured by Amy Melious...(and the model's name is Indigo also)...created and engaged with water...and the moon and some ocean stars....



  Hegira....the lightest definition of this word sums up this process...a journey to a more congenial place....
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fall Felting Retreat- Quebec




The dates and details are set for a relaxing, revitalizing, energizing fall felting retreat - I am so looking forward to this event! 
The retreat will run on October 3, 4, 5, 2014, at Meech Lake, Quebec, just outside Ottawa.
All of the details are described below...please just contact me if you have any questions. This retreat will fill very quickly, so do reserve your space as soon as possible!




Shadow Felting: Friday, all day, and Saturday morning.
Working in layers of silk gauze and fine merino wools we'll create highly refined, drapable textiles.  This strata effect adds depth and interest to the felt surface, building up shading and shadows in both neutral compositions and those highly coloured. We'll also cover the colour carving technique to add bold rifts within the surfaces. Techniques can be used to create either a scarf, shawl, or tunic/shell top. 



Felt Illuminated: Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
Warm, Soft, Comforting- everything we think of in wool- but with an edge when used in lighting design. The wool fibre patterns are accentuated through shading, unique to this combination of fibre and illumination. The learning challenges in this class are to measure and make resists to construct a 3-D felt form to exact finished dimensions and to create lightweight, structurally strong felt that illuminates beautifully …Combine fibres, multiple layers,  felt lace, prefelt, colourwork and stitching to construct a striking interior design piece.

Saturday Evening during the retreat: Ottawa/Gatineau Felt Gathering
Saturday, October 4th.  6pm-10pm
Felt United Project plus social gathering.....more details to follow!


General Information:
We will be working together in a very beautiful and peaceful setting….encouraging the feeling of a true retreat time, with immersion in our environment and craft.  In the evenings we can continue felting, talking fibre and creativity, or simply enjoy the quiet space.  There is basic onsite accommodation for up to five people, or you can attend on a day basis. All participants are welcome to stay or join in for the evening free felting time.  Please contact me for more information if you need accommodation. 
Retreat fee is $375.00.
Included is a hearty, local Fall lunch on each day.  We’ll do our best to accommodate special dietary requests- just let us know and we’ll see what we can do!  
Materials lists will be sent out with registration information or you can have the materials provided for a $65.00 materials fee.
About the space:
The retreat will be held at a beautiful cottage set on three forested acres on Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. There is plenty of room for people to work comfortably, and to find a quiet space as they desire. The Fall colours will be at their peak (hopefully!) and we’ll be able to work either indoors or out, with a lake and forest view to inspire us.  As time permits, participants can walk along the lake, go canoeing, or take a hike up the hill beside the creek on the hundreds of kilometres of trails than run from the trailhead next door. This is a place that is very special to me, and it is my favourite time of year to be there- I am looking forward to sharing it with you!  The cottage is only 10 minutes from Chelsea, which has some very nice restaurants and café’s, and 20 minutes from Ottawa, Canada's capital city. 

About the retreat schedule:
The class time will be from 9:00am- 5:00pm. A  full, dynamic and energetic session,  balanced by some slow time through the day to enjoy the surroundings, journal, stretch, and relax.  Free felting time in the evenings are often a very rich part of the retreat experience;  to deepen our relationships, discuss the technique shared through the day as well as our own fibre experiences, or just chat over a bottle of wine.  Evenings are open to everyone participating in the retreat.
Please email me if you would like to reserve a space. Your space will be confirmed on receipt of the full fee via PayPal or cheque.  The retreat has a maximum attendance of 8. Payments must be received in full by September 13th.
I look forward to felting with you this Fall!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rift : A SHIFT dress



  The layouts in this series of dress sculptures were so complex. There were often multiple layers of resists, or else multiple layers of patterning. The designs had to be thought through in that reverse thinking way required when working with resists, and also with transparencies, opacities, and inclusions.  My brain was burning with keeping it all held in order to get to the end result. Thinking through on what will show on which side of the garment and where, and what will happen if it is overdyed. Where would each design element fall on the body when shaped into the 3 dimensional and worn. Left and right, front and back, inside and outside....all parts were relevant...all at one time. 


 The lightest layers of wool roving made me think of skin tissue healing. So relevant to this dress full of (beautiful) scars and my intentions. 


   This dress is made of shadowy shards. Like flakes of obsidian. But cradled within a softer surface....Black and white forming shades of grey over time.  Geology is just so prominent in many of the SHIFT dresses. This piece has elements of all rock formations, sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic; tectonic shifting, escarpments...  It is hard, sharp and cut, but softened around the edges in overall dress form, like a tumbled stone.  Geode like inclusions; seams of precious earth....scars, dreams, wishes...life in general. Not simple.
 They are pushed up and out of the base textile; carved and twisted through the fulling.  Complicated, (if you chose to think about it) like the shadowy base.



  This dress is sinuous and feminine on the wearer, and full of tactile metaphors.  I like that it can be just a beautiful dress, and can also hang as a sculptural form filled with intention.  




  The techniques used in this piece will be part of the Fall felting retreat in Quebec this October. I'm trying to get the details posted about this as soon as possible....there's lots going on right now...lots of big events vying for my attention...but this is up next! 

  It's not all serious thoughts and introspection! I've got lots of plant dyeing lined up for the next few days...some summer lightness...warmth, sunshine and flowers; folly and experimentation!
Warm wishes, 
Fiona