Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Directions for Pat's Feltmaking

Over the last two years, I have taken a sort of feltmaker’s odyssey.  This all began when a guild asked me to give a lecture on “New Trends in Feltmaking”.  I told them of course I would do it, but when I started to gather information I realized that I had been isolated for a while and didn’t really know what was “new.”
You see, I had spent several years developing the technique I call “Watercolor Felt”.  I was so enamored with this technique that I didn’t really look outside of my own studio at the larger world of feltmaking.  In addition, I had stopped publishing the North American Felter’s Network Newsletter and was not watching the whole feltmaking scene for new techniques and concepts.
When I started researching the “New Trends”, I realized that I wanted to learn some of them.  I decided not to spend the time experimenting in my studio to teach myself these new techniques but to take workshops with people who I considered to be “at the top of their game.” These people had spent years developing their methods and I thought that it would be best to learn from them, rather than to take the time at this stage of my live to develop them myself.  My figuring was that it would be interesting to build on top of my own strong understanding of feltmaking and then to tweak my knowledge to push it in new directions.
In some cases I learned things that I would probably not do again while in other cases I was amazed and excited by what I learned.  I also learned that I already knew a lot that I was being shown.  Often, the techniques were derivations of ones we did back in the 70’s or 80’s.  I loved when the techniques were tangential from my own lifetime of felt and art explorations and would therefore send me off along new paths.   
I ended up taking workshops from 17 different people during this time period. I am proud of the items I've made and wanted to share them with others but I didn't want to exhibit them as totally my own work since they were made in workshops, under the mentorship of the instructor.  (Even though the design decisions were my own. Yes, I am that hard headed about my designs! LOL) But the style was influenced by the mentor and the techniques taught by him/her.  I was able to convince the organizers of two different events that it would be cool to see this body of work exhibited together-once at the Midwest Felting Symposium during the summer and once this last weekend at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

Here is a list of the people I have studied with along this journey.
1. Karolina Arvilommi and Rod Welch- Wall Hanging.
2. Vilte Kazlauskaite- Made samples in class and then made a Vilte inspired vest at home.
3. Leiko Uchiyama- Shawl with areas of “Pine Needle” lace.
4. Irit Dulman-Eco printed tunic and eco printed shibori felt purse.
5. Melissa Arnold- Collars and samples.
6. Pam MacGregor- Texture and dimensional felt samples placed in book format.
7. Barbara Poole- Coat.
8. Fiona Duthie- Online course, samples of various surface design techniques.
9. Kristy Kun- “Cholla Cactus” scarf.
10. Katia Mokeyeva- Surface textured collar.
11. Jean Gauger- Felted mosaic wrap.
12. Margo Duke- Mosaic pieced felt vest.

I also studied with Jorie Johnson (jewelry and small accessories), Loyce Ericson (spiral scarf), India Flint (eco printing), Tash Wesp (vest) and Sharon Mansfield (no roll felting in the dryer), but I have no finished products from these classes to exhibit.

Here are photos from the O.F.F.F. exhibit. 
Overview of My Exhibition Area at the Festival

Second Overview of Display
Collar made in Katia Mokeyeva's class. 
Wrap made during Jean Gauger class and Mosaic vest made during Margo Duke's class. 
Vest inspired by the samples I made with Vilte Kazlauskaite and jacket made with Barbara Poole. 
Collar made with Melissa Arnold, lace felt shawl made with Kristy Kun, and part of a "poncho" made in the class with Irit Dulman. 
Eco printed poncho made during a class with Irit Dulman. 
Pine Needle Felt shawl made during Leiko Uchiyama's class and dyed felt sample made during Melissa Arnold's class. 
Dyed felt samples made during Melissa Arnold's class. 
Dyed felt sample from Melissa Arnold's class and eco printed shibori felt purse made during Irit Dulman's class. 
Bird wall hanging made during Karolina Arvilommi and Rod Welch's class. 

The texture samples from the classes I took with Pam Macgregor and Fiona Duthie were in a case during this festival and I couldn't get a good photo of them through the glass. 
I also exhibited one of my Watercolor Felt pieces so that I could show what I had been doing while the rest of the felt world was busy doing something else.  
This piece is called Calla Lily Group I. 

I am now one of the featured artists for Gallery Calapooia in Albany, Oregon.  For this exhibit, I have applied some of the things I've learned from this long list of amazing mentors to a new body of work.  Pictures coming soon!