I know, I know…not the best blogger lately. I’ve been busy and hopefully, when I look back, I’ll say it was busy in a good way as I juggle recently-started full-time work and my work-related studies. I’ve had very little time for creative endeavours. Worse, shortly after Christmas I found myself completely derailed in my quest to complete my 21 UFOs before early March and one year after starting on this. Know though that I have been being kind to myself!
On the creative front, with a week to spare, a space opened up and I did manage to move off the waiting list and into the actual workshop for a 3-day course in early March on nuno felting with Judith Dios. It really helped that it was held in my hometown. I loved the results from this course so much that, as soon as I got home, I immediately ordered a dozen yards of each of the silks she commonly uses in her work. Judith has clearly done a lot of experimentation as she creates her beautiful garments and she freely shared all she had learned in this course. Her handouts were terrific! She also brought lots of her own work for inspiraton. I was amazed at how beginner and experienced felters were able to produce some truly lovely pieces. I played it safe making a couple of scarves but others were fearlessly tackling vests, tops and enormous wraps.
Three things made the results of the course different from a what I often associate with felted garments. One was the colour — Judith has a technique for adding colour that produces subtle pastels. The other is the lightness — her techniques produce a really lightweight garment or accessory that is quite mold-able to the wearer. Finally, I found her embellishment ideas to be unique. She shared quite a bit about how to make those embellishments work (e.g. not fall off and not be too heavy for the item). She also paid attention to decorating both sides of a scarf so it looked great no matter which side was facing up when wearing it. Her “no roll” method was pretty neat too and the result of considerable trial and error from what I could tell.
I started with a simple scarf and tried all the basic ideas. This first one is close to 2 meters (nearly 7′) long by 15 – 18 cm (6″ – 7″) wide — shrinkage was around 30%. I hope the photo conveys how lightweight it is.
Then I moved up to a wider scarf. Unfortunately I was a bit heavy-handed laying down the wool and this one, although still lightweight, is a bit thicker than the blue one. Too much wool meant it also shrank more — it’s about 1.5 meters (about 5′) long by 36 – 38 cm (14″ – 15″) wide.
Judith showed us how to work effectively on the short 1.8 meter (6′) tables in the classroom. However, the next time I do this, I want to work on a long table where I can see all the work at once and what I’m doing embellishment-wise. Come summer, I’ll have access to studio space again and I’m now ready to do more of this type of felting.
For anyone interested, Judith lives on the west coast of Canada and I think she’s an excellent workshop leader. She had 12 people in her workshop and she was able to help everyone get something useful out of the experience. She came prepared to work with supplies that students brought to class as per her supply list or to sell small amounts from her own supply to provide only what people needed for their projects. I found the cost of the workshop supplies for my two silk and fine merino scarves to be quite reasonable. I liked that she provided handouts with estimates of the cost of different projects and gave measurements so students could choose projects that fit within their budget. All in all, a wonderful experience.
Also, big thanks to Karin Millson, who took a workshop from Judith last fall out on the West coast and realized that we all could benefit from having her come to our area. Karen managed all the administrivia and millions of tiny details including securing loans of such items as microwaves and kettles as well as hosting Judith.