March 3, 2009

It’s early Friday morning and once more I find myself in the seat of a plane. Not for business today, but to visit my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. I’m excited t be heading into to the sun for the weekend, but at the same time, this means 3 days without any Artfelt®! I suppose a few days won’t harm me, especially since the last 10 have been chock full of Artfelt®.

On the 12th, Marcy (my assistant and an Artfelt® expert) and I caught an early ferry to go teach an Artfelt® class to a group of very creative women on Bainbridge Island. There were 18 women total – ranging in age from 18 to 82. One would think it might be difficult to teach to such a wide age range of students, but it wasn’t difficult at all. Since Artfelt® can be so diverse and there are no connotations of what it is, everyone is usually very open minded and eager to learn. And since the learning curve is so fast, it makes it all the better.

Sometimes I feel guilty charging for a class. The process really is so very simple and I usually learn more in class than the students! Students are always coming up with creative ideas on how else to use the Artfelt® technique. The days immediately following a class are usually very productive for me, as I go back to my studio and try all these great ideas that students have had. As always, some ideas work well and some not so well. But in the end, I’ve always gathered more information that I can share with my next class!

We centered our Bainbridge class around two pieces, both small cell phone cases/coin purses, but using two different techniques. The first piece was created using just standard roving to make what I like to call a base. I call it a base, as when it is felted, it can stand-alone as a piece of fabric. Once you have a base, you can put any design on it and not have to worry about thickness or the direction of fibers, because the base will hold everything together.

Our second piece we used only pencil roving to create the fabric. This is always a bit trickier, because people have a tendency not to overlap the pencil roving enough. As a result, when they dissolve the Artfelt® paper after felting, the entire piece either falls apart, or they have a lot of holes. But, this technique creates some of the most wonderful pieces that are stunning on both sides, thus it is important to learn.

We also had a live demonstration going on at the Madrona Art Festival in Tacoma from the 12th through the 15t.h. On Sunday we taught a 3-hour class filled with many talented women. The pieces we made were similar to those at the Bainbridge class, with the addition of a third piece that had what I call, negative space. These are pieces with intentional holes – versus unintentional. It’s a bit ironic that just about everyone discovers how to make holes in his or her work unintentionally, but when they try to do it with purpose, it doesn’t always turn out. Thus, we teach some tricks on making it work.

All the photos were taken at the two classes. Thanks to all the ladies there, who had no objection to me posting their photos and their work on my blog!

Until next time, tally ho!

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