Primordial felting

Last week was a good week for felting. Two days after my fleecy adventure, I went to spend a day felting with Ruth Packham – a wonderful felt artist who lives locally. I had done a two-day course with Ruth last summer and I wanted to spend some time with her practising some of the techniques I learned then. Over the years I’ve been on various felt-making courses, but I decided that the time had come for some one-to-one tuition.

As it turned out, I chose the perfect day. I started raining overnight and didn’t stop all day. Sitting under the Velux windows in Ruth’s studio, listening to the rain hammer down, I was very happy that I was spending the day indoors, playing with wool. Ruth’s studio is full of amazing creations and loads of inspiration:

After some debate about what I would make, I decided to have a go at a sculptural piece, mainly based on wet felting, but starting with some needle-felted balls that would be felted onto stalks and then the stalks would be felted onto an undulating base. This was the piece made by Ruth from which I drew my inspiration:

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one of Ruth’s creations

 

First, I chose my colours… which Ruth described as ‘sludge’! Because I’m interested in natural forms, I wanted some colours that might be found in natural habitats, so I went for a couple of greens and a reddish-black. I got so carried away with the first part of the process – needle-felting little balls, making cords, attaching the cords to the balls and making the ‘resist’ that would define the basic shape of the base, that I forgot to take any photographs, but I did capture most of the rest of my work:

And after some more work to get the little antennae to stand up straight/ point in the direction I wanted them to and the base to sit nicely and the edges to smooth out, I ended up with this:

I’m thinking of it as life emerging from the primordial soup… I may add some more evolved critters to it.

Whilst I was working on my creation (I was with Ruth from 10am to 7pm, although we did have coffee and stop for lunch), she made these cute little ‘creatures’:

I have made so many useful things recently, that it was rather lovely to spend a day making ‘art’. Ruth is a brilliant teacher and I highly recommend her courses… she will teach you how to make rather more traditional things if you like (!) and she sells needle-felting kits too in her etsy shop. She also sells her creations

 

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Ruth’s creatures

I have made so many useful things recently, that it was rather lovely to spend a day making ‘art’. Ruth is a brilliant teacher and I highly recommend her courses… she will teach you how to make rather more traditional things if you like (!) and she sells needle-felting kits too in her etsy shop, along with some of her lovely creations.

Have you been doing anything arty this week? Share your more frivolous or quirky creations!

 

Floral felting

This weekend the weather here was dreadful – high winds and driving rain, a typical British summer. But was I downhearted? No I was not, because I spent two days felting. I went to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to attend  course by the fabulous Ruth Packham, learning to combine wet and dry felting. It was a lovely informal course, with everyone choosing a plant or flower to make and Ruth helping us to work out how to achieve our goal. All the wool we used was British and some came from the Cambrian Mountains, making it very local.

Arranged, to coincide with an art exhibition entitled Flora, the course focused on making plants and flowers in felt. In fact, we didn’t exactly stick to the remit, so as well plants, between us we also made a caterpillar, a dragonfly and some coral. I really didn’t want to make a flower, so I chose to focus on something smaller, taking my inspiration from the capsules produced by mosses:

and look at all this that the other participants did…

We also each took home a porcelain flower from the Flora exhibition. For one of the exhibits, visitors are asked to record their first flower memory on a small card, and then to exchange the memory for a ceramic flower. The idea is that this particular exhibit changes over time from a collection of flowers to to a collection of memories… isn’t that lovely? The artist responsible is Clare Twomey:

 

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