It’s been a productive year for me on the textile front. I feel I’ve learned a lot, about felting in particular, partly from attending workshops and partly from my own experimentation – especially with barnacles! 😉
Here are my highlights:
- Felting workshops with Andrea Graham and Maria Friese – both fantastic felters and generous tutors. Last year I made the difficult decision to give up my one day a week at Morley College and use the money to attend workshops with specialists in felting and dyeing instead. I do miss the facilities and support at Morley, but I feel that my felting has come on in leaps and bounds, so I made the right decision. I’ve incorporated and adapted the techniques I learnt into the work I’ve done since, resulting in much stronger, firmer felt. This includes felting with batts and short-fibre merino, rather than roving.
- Experiments with rust dyeing – these shibori scarves were made by binding rusty screws. The one on the left was soaked in vinegar and left for 24 hours; the one on the right was dyed with onion skins.
- Experiments with eco-printing – while extensive, these were not terribly successful, though I did learn a lot. To get a leg up, I’ve signed up for a workshop with Irit Dulman in 2015, at Dorie van Dijk’s fabulous Atelier Fiberfusing in the Netherlands.
- Sculptural/cellular felt – after some quite focused work on this at the beginning of the year, this got put on the back burner, though it resurfaced in a slightly different form in the neckpieces I made just before Christmas. Time for a revival, I think.
- Shibori and smocked felt – this could theoretically be classed under sculptural felt, but I prefer to keep it separate as the techniques are so specific. It’s another area where I feel I’ve only scratched the surface (if you see what I mean) – hope to do more work on this in 2015.
- Exhibitions and sales – I had my first “proper” exhibition with photographer Owen Llewellyn at Brixton Windmill. The space is very small and intimate, and it made me think about other ways to display my work, such as making a windmill mobile. I did more sales with Women of the Cloth, as well as taking part in Camberwell Open Studios for the first time with a group of five other artists. I was hugely encouraged by selling some of my more expensive felt pieces, such as the shibori pebble wall hanging and the neckpieces.
So what beckons in 2015? First off, I’m heading back to India next month for some sunshine, colour and more textiles. I’m hoping to meet up with Keya Vaswani, one of the film makers who made the Indian craft films I’ve posted about in the past, and maybe meet some of the artisans she filmed. I’ve also booked onto a workshop on mud resist block printing and indigo dyeing, which I’m really looking forward to.
There’s also a nuno felting workshop with Liz Clay in the pipeline, along with exhibitions at Brixton Windmill and with South London Women Artists. And that’s just up to the end of March – looks like another busy year! 🙂
And for the new year – a new blog theme. This one is fully responsive, so you should be able to read it equally easily on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Happy 2015 to you all!