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Full Moon Indigo Dyeing: April

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Ah! Happy Spring!
It's been an absolute whirlwind of activity around here...I'll tell you more soon....maybe...unless better and more exciting things get here first!


I have been playing with shibori all week...some of you may guess what that means!
It is (also) featuring large in my new felt lines and some new organic cottons and linens I am working with this summer.
For my own work.... madder and cutch natural dyes.....


Then with logwod, greyed with ferrous, and of course-indigo...magical mystical dye pot, and my full moon favourite.  


This vat was revived after a few dormant months (kind of like my blogging!)...and quite happy to be enlivened once again. I didn't have much I needed/wanted to dye this full moon...an interesting change...I guess the regularity of the full moon dyeing sessions have caught up with the desire for indigo dyed items (no...not quite!)...

 Itajime Shibori...Green out of the pot and then the magic of oxidization....
 It was nice to dye just a couple of pieces...slowly....with pleasure....and then put the vat away...and know it could come out again anytime...such a treat.

 Arashi Shibori....the boys kept asking me what I was building-" a steam engine?" with my arashi pipe sticking up from my pot like a smoke stack....dyeing mysteries....

Lots more coming...I have 5 months full time in the studio...starting......NOW! 
So there will be lots of making...and blogging in these parts...

 A cloth eco dyed with big leaf maples...now overdyed and ready to be transformed once again...into a garment....

Hope you're having a wonderful Easter, if you celebrate...and a lovely weekend!
Warm wishes,
Fiona




Pure Potentiality

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  I need to order a large amount of wool for the studio this summer...mostly for getting ready for the One of A Kind show this November. I've been trying to decide exactly what wool to get, then came across a solution... a smaller order...a sampling of wool breeds to experiment with before making the big wholesale order commitment....

  And it came in this week...wonderful customer service and quick delivery from the World of Wool.
  And inside...a box of pure potentiality. I love getting a box of white raw materials ready to be transformed. Wool, cottons, silk...it's all so delightful and inspiring...


  In this particular box.....Falkland, Finn, Norwegian, Icelandic (truly a world of wool!) all for bags and purses...


So I have plenty to get started on for my studio sales, plus get an idea on what will be best for my finished products. I have a plan...as soon as I get my felting table clear again  (it's going through another chaotic period, but is slowly regaining it's orderliness!), I'll make four bags, same style, same time....so looking forward it...I hope to start tomorrow.  This will give a great push forward on my feltgathering breed sampling project also.


  And last of all...I'm saying goodbye to my studio companion....a mannequin I borrowed for a photo shoot from Ulrieke Benner, a fabulous feltmaker here on Salt Spring.  It was so nice to have her in my studio, ready for draping and photography at a whim...I have to find one soon....She just made everything feel so finished....

  On to clearing up the felting table, and getting my new bags laid out...
Warm wishes,
Fiona

New Purses

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I really love this new dye pattern....I'm seeing it on one whole collection...purses, scarves, jackets...I so want to make the jacket!  I'll be selling these all summer at the studio, and this winter at the shows....

 These are all made with Blue Faced Leicester rovings...all in white then dyed after....Beautiful leather straps added. It was a challenge to figure out the best way to sew in the zippers, other than by hand. Each clutch has a little pocket inside for cell phones or individual necessities....Just the right size. I want one....


  Here they are shown in my display for the Salt Spring Market....the first weekend was last week...and it is happening again tomorrow...but I've already decided not to go...and will spend some time with my friend, Amy Melious, being inspired by her loveliness...and then take the boisterous boys to the beach and enjoy the promised sunny day instead....That feels right! I received some fabulous news today, that I can't quite share...but allows me to feel justified in taking a day partially off for pure pleasure! I'll be making up some working time in the early mornings and evenings....

  And one more bag...again made with the BFL....


 I'll be starting on the four fibres bags tonight...
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Warm wishes,
Fiona



Salt Spring Island Studio Opening!

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The Studio is now open!
 The retail studio space is now open and welcoming visitors....Most days from 11:00am- 5:00pm.
344 Fulford-Ganges Road-Salt Spring Island, BC. Do stop in-I'd love to see you! 
A little tour of the inside...




Felt Purses, Scarves, Cowls, Lighting, Shibori Felt, Shibori Silk and Organic Cotton Scarves, some art pieces, still works in progress...







My little organization, planning and cash area.....and two new art pieces, still to be finished....more about them soon!



Yay! It was such a lot of work in the last few weeks, finishing the last details. It is the most lovely space to work. I have all my finished feltwork available for sale, plus a full range of my Kattikloo line of handdyed yarns and fibres.
Happy, Happy!  And now out to the studio!
Have a lovely weekend!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Sculptural Scarves

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This summer I'm exploring ways to incorporate as much three dimensional texture as possible into my work. It such a fun experiment...I love that I can be making items to sell, while playing..... These experiments often involve trips to the hardware store...hardware and building materials seem a good combination with feltmaking! And lead to some very interesting conversations in the shop, which I'm sure they are quite used to on an isalnd of artists! For this texture it involved finding wiring that would hold it's shape while being very lightweight.  The scarves can be folded, twisted, wrapped and crimped into any shape the wearer desires...simple...dramatic....traditional or wild.....The wool is ultrafine organic merino....and it is so soft and luscious...delightful!


A few wearable sculpture possibilities....I like to think that the wearer can feel like an artist when they put on this scarf....that they can take a moment to create a wearable art piece that reflects their mood in that moment... or maybe where thay want that mood to go...That the wearer gets to partake in the creative process, as well as a the maker....


As always, these are all handfelted in white, then overdyed...I love this process....I love the whiteness, and everytime have to re-commit to myself, my sensibilities, and my love of colour...



I want to make an extra large version of this scarf for myself, for exuberant wearing at shows...and just for when the mood strikes...Plus I'm seeing sculptural bags and jacket lapels....so much to make! But first I have to finish my fibre art bike....next posting!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Catching up....

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 Oh My! I've been in and out of town....preparing for gallery shows, preparing for fiber trade shows, preparing for studio visitors.....a summer whirlwind of wool and colour....
  But now I'm back....and not going to any more (far away) shows until late September, so I can settle in to an island summer, regular studio hours and some felt play....
  I'm starting work on a new interior design line this weekend (very exciting!) and need to get a few staples made for the studio shop before immersing in that direction...

I stayed up late last night, working in the studio, enjoying a margarita and a movie and catching up...three new topography scarves, and a Norwegian/Icelandic bucket purse....felted above....

  .....and now fulled completely and ready for dyeing....That's the bag resist below the bag.  I felted metal rings into the body as a closure and to attach the handles. I like this finish...it's very clean and simple and I like that it is integral to the felt.  What colours shall they become?  Better warm up the dyepots and let inspiration strike....I'm feeling a strong draw to vermillion and coral orange these days....I'll post the finished results tomorrow (when I'm also having a special studio visitor-and  maybe some dyeing together!)...


Happy Summer Days!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Summer Colours-July

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So it's not quite tomorrow, as in when I said I was going to post the finished pictures of these.....but taking into account summer time, island time and Fiona time...I'm feeling pretty happy to be only a day out!

The dye pot called for a bright poppy.....a blend of orange and pink....that I can only call Happy....If I wanted to wear something that perked me up on low days, or reflected my spring on up days...this would be it!

And one scarf in a blend of purples into greys....it's quite rich and delicious! These will all either be available in the studio, or at ArtCraft....

The bag I started off dyeing in bright chartreuse and Happy coral.....But it just did not feel right and I couldn't live with it...






















I overdyed the red side with some turquoise and purple and.....voila.....

Luckily this  bag was created with very durable Norwegian C-1 and Icelandic wool, and very thoroughly fulled.....because....my special felting and dyeing guest, Ginny Huber, arrived in the midst of the process and I completely forgot it was boiling away on the stove! I usually do all my dyeing and steaming outdoors, but I've run out of propane and all the island visitors are scooping it up as fast as it arrives! Lucky, lucky, lucky.....that I remembered...later than sooner! The bag was quite happy, simmering away...no harm done, and it is very well fulled...and the dye is very well set! Grin!

I'm liking these simple stitch patterns these days, and this bag just called for a few stitches.....I really like it.....but it's for the shop! More dyeing tomorrow (which may be anytime in the next week, in case you're just getting to know me! )...

Warm wishes,
Fiona

July Eco-Print Bundles, with Ginny Huber

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This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting feltmaker and dyer Ginny Huber. We had been chatting a bit back an forth about our local, west coast dyes, and making eco-prints. This week she was visiting the area and came to Salt Spring to spend a few hours in the studio, talking felt, fiber, travel and dyes.

I had premordanted a length of silk for us to share, and then we dipped it in a vinegar bath.  Ginny had brought with her some Eucalyptus bark, a gift from another feltmaker and dyer, Christina Pacciani of CriCri Felt, and we walked the property to collect some plant materials.....madrone/arbutus barks,leaves of ivy, ranunculas, rose, cotinus, eucalyptus, and calendula and dahlia flowers.....something from her and something from me, and a shared time of experiences, information and making. We dipped each plant in the vinegar bath before placing on our silk, following a similar method as the one Ginny used while taking a class at FeltRosa in Italy this Spring with  Irit Dulman, a hugely talented feltmaker and dyer....lots of inspiration!


 I wanted Ginny to have something from the Island to bring back with her.....a little part of the experience...at the end of the afternoon she decided to leave her bundle with me, so I could boil it and age it.  I will open her bundle for her when she asks me to...and then I'll mail it to her. Mine, I will save for one month and open on my next eco-dyeing day....Yes...I've said it...make me stick to that please! It's so hard not to peek...then a little more...and then unwrap to see what the results are!

I haven't been doing any eco-dyeing since last Fall, and it is something I so enjoy and would like to continue to experiment with...so once a month, I'm making a date with myself so go on a dye walk and make a bundle for that month....a colourful record of the year.....I will make a new eco bundle one month from now, and open this one...and share the results with you!

  It was such a pleasurable afternooon....talking felt and dyes....
You can read more about Ginny and her work, on her website, www.floweringfibers.com, and on her blog. Thank you for visiting, Ginny!

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Natural Dyeing with Lupines

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Several years ago now, I had the chance to visit a place that was a sort of mecca for me....Taos, New Mexico, and more specifically, La Lana Wools.....a shop dedicated to plant dyed wools in all forms....I've been dyeing with plant dyes for 16 years now....12 years at the time of my visit, and I was awe of such a company that dedicated itself fully to this craft....While there I saw the most lovely yarn, dyed with lupines; a soft shade of chartreuse green...and since that visit, I've wanted to try a lupine dyebath...

This week on a wild harvesting walk....there they were....lupines in abundance...and so the dyebath was finally realized!
The organic merino yarn was first mordanted with Alum and Cream of Tartar....The lupines; whole flowering tops, chopped and gently stewed for a few hours...Then I added the yarn....sometimes I'm a lazy dyer and add the yarn directly to the dyebath without straining out the material....If it's an experiment and not yarn for sale....It sometimes takes longer at the end to get the plant material out, but it feels more wholistic to me....letting the actual plants and fibers mingle....and...after a two hours of gentle simmering, and another 48 hours in the pot sitting......

Green? no...Soft and lovely, yes.....The buttery tone would actually look beautiful knit with a purple blue like the lupine flower...The different result from what I saw at La Lana; different mordants? different time of year harvested? different soils? Any and all are possible...and that is what makes natural dyeing so delightful. I may not use lupine again as a dye...unless the receiver had a special connection to lupines....like a lover of the children's book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (as I am).....



I'm so happy to have had the chance to try it....and add it to my dye experience collection.... I've actually quite warmed to soft gentleness of the colour.

A realized dream, new information, some beautiful cut flowers for the studio, plus a pocket full of lupine seeds....I've travelled the world, found a little house by the sea, and now need to find my way to make the world more beautiful! I don't think it'll be spreading lupine seeds though! Grin!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Small Things

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  It's been busy, busy in the studio the last few weeks....and maybe more busy in my head as I clear house and make way to fulfill my destiny (doesn't that sound grand! It just popped into my head.....You could also read.... solidify my Fall/Winter/Spring creative calendar....Shuffle the deck to create an order that allows me room to achieve my dreams and ambitions....hmmmm...that's rather grand too.....maybe that's just the way of things.... It's a day of good air, clear thinking and aspiration!)....

 Now while the head is busy with it's big goals...little projects emerged from the hands....I was making very thick, firm felt for a table top, and made a smaller piece alongside.  The wool was about 4 inches high, about 8 layers deep....first two layers of Finn wool, then 4 layers of Friesian, then two more layers of Finn....I used the Friesian to create a more "bouncy" layer in the middle....It worked well for the intended purpose......I decided to cut the small piece up into simple shapes....

  Then dyed and overdyed....and hand embroidered.  And I loved having these tiny projects to work on in the evening....Handstitching is so serene...so slow and peaceful... it feels like the perfect ending to a feltmaking project...the closing of the creative circle that starts with a meditative, quiet laying out of the fibres...then gets physical...more and more so, with the feltmaking....then slows down again through the dyeing and comes to a meditative resting place once again, as the the last stitch is made and last french knot snipped!  My stitching is simple...but paying attention through the process adds a lot to the work for me....so very satisfying.....



  These have all been delivered to ArtCraft here on Salt Spring and I'm making more for Knotty by Nature in Victoria.....and I hope they sell well.....simply because it would be pure pleasure to make some more!


  In balance to these small makings, I'll be posting about my upcoming plans....
tomorrow...just a few more pictures to find, and a couple of details to be arranged....and 5 scarves on the felting table needing to be finished! On we go!
Hope your having a sunny, wool filled, creative weekend (maybe full of good air, clear thinking and grand aspirations too!)!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Fall Happenings....

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   I'm immersing myself more and more in my creative journey...more and more into exploring feltmaking and dyeing in my own way...exercising consciousness through the process and the artistic impetus within each method....Stretching into new ideas and finding my way into my full creative potential.... playing with words that have meaning in relation to the work I want to do...topography, terroir, migrations, entanglement, aspiration, permaculture and art....I'm very excited about some future plans and directions! 


  Top of the list is completing a felting book I have been working on for the last month, which I hope to have complete by the end of September. The focus of the book is surface design in feltmaking and includes every idea I can imagine, with step by step instructions and images, as well as project ideas.  It is based on the super popular surface design workshop that I've been teaching for a few years now, and gives me the opportunity to get into each technique in much more depth.....I'm loving the exploration....

 
And the realization of a beautiful vision- a felting retreat, scheduled for the second week of October, in one of my most favourite places on earth...a place I have a deep connection to that I can't wait to share with other creative souls!  The retreat will take place in a cottage on Meech Lake in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec, just outside Ottawa, Ontario, for very easy access. 

  It feels like another world, and this is my favourite time of year to be there.  The cottage will be wreathed in the gold of the trees, and looking over the lake through the Fall colours is a deeply inspiring and peaceful experience.  We'll have access to some local dyeplants, canoeing on the lake, hiking in the hundreds of kilometers of trails that start at the trailhead next door.....wonderful food....heaps of wool....plus three full days of feltmaking. I am so looking forward to creating a space that combines relaxation, serenity and beauty with energy, enthusiasm and the joy of making!   I'll post the details tomorrow.

  Yay Fall! Yes, I did just say that.  In the Fall we can wear wool with abandon!
And now that my Fall is all settled, I can relax into the rest of summer with my head and hands in the same place- in the studio creating new work for the book and the retreat!

  Warm wishes,
Fiona
  


Fall Felting Retreat- October 12-14th, 2012

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 The dates and details are set for a relaxing, revitilizing, energizing fall felting retreat - I am so looking forward to this event! 
The retreat will run on October 12th, 13th, and 14th, 2012.
All of the details are described below, including class descriptions, location, costs....please just contact me if you have any questions. 








Day 1: Dyeing for Feltmaking
We’ll explore many different dyeing methods and timing your dyeing to influence your finished results. Primarily we will use low impact acid dyes and work through techniques such as immersion dyeing, clamp resists and shibori stitching, using colour and planning for overdyeing, painting with dyes, and depending on what’s in garden, some natural dyeing and ecoprinting. We’ll look at examples of these techniques when used on materials before felting, at the prefelt stage, and after felting.  Lots of fun with the dyepots simmering!
Each participant will leave with a good selection of materials that can be used in the following two retreat days, or for use at home later. 

This class is suitable for beginner to advanced feltmakers, and also of interest to fibre artists working in other mediums like ArtQuilting. The dyes used are only appropriate for protein fibres, such as silk and wool.








Day 2: Surface Design in Feltmaking
A study in as many combinations of felting and surface design as we can fit in to the time we have together! Layering different wool breeds for effect, Nuno patches in silks and cottons, plain and printed, protrusions, spikes, locks, shibori shaping, slashes and holes, carving, pencil rovings, prefelts, pockets, resists, clamping, wire, printed text, stitching during and after…… We’ll each create our own wet felted art cloth sampler that can be later made into a great book cover, needle case, bag front, or further embellished and mounted as a felt tapestry.  This is a very dynamic, explorative class- full of energy, ideas and inspiration. 

This class is suitable for beginner to advanced feltmakers…there will surely be something new for everyone!  The techniques used in this class can be incorporated into the project chosen for the last day of the felting retreat.


Day 3:  Dimensional Felting with Resists
 Dimensional felting involves using resists to create seamless hollow forms, in any shape you desire. This technique is commonly used to make vessels, slippers, hats, clothing, sculptural works as well as one of our favourites – bags! Beautiful, unique, and durable. A bag can be created in any size or shape and is a great canvas for experimenting with new surface techniques.  Participants may choose to make a three dimensional vessel other than a bag such as slippers, art vessels, or cushion covers. The techniques will be the same.  We will cover resist making, measuring, shaping, thinking in 2-D forms to create 3-D shapes and felting on a form. We’ll be using the best sculptural wools and adding all sorts of individual ornamentation; silks and cottons, ruffles, protrusions and prefelts, all while making your own personalized, functional art.   Leather handles, as well as all other supplies, are included in the retreat fee.

General Information:
We will be working together in a very beautiful and peaceful setting….encouraging the feeling of a true retreat time, with immersion in our environment and craft.  In the evenings we can continue felting, talking fibre and creativity, or simply enjoy the quiet space.  There is onsite accommodation for up to five people, plus workspace for five people to attend on a day basis. All participants are welcome to stay or join in for the evening free felting time.  Please contact me for more information if you would like accommodation.
Retreat fee is $125.00 per day, with a 15% discount for those attending all three days.
All materials are included in each class, with additional materials available to purchase at the end of each day.
Also included is a hearty, local Fall lunch on each day.  We’ll do our best to accommodate special dietary requests- just let us know and we’ll see what we can do! 


About the space:
The retreat will be held at a beautiful cottage set on three forested acres on Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. There is plenty of room for people to work comfortably, and to find a quiet space as they desire. The Fall colours will be at their peak (hopefully!) and we’ll be able to work either indoors or out, with a lake and forest view to inspire us.  As time permits, participants can walk along the lake, go canoeing, or take a hike up the hill beside the creek on the hundreds of kilometres of trails than run from the trailhead next door. This is a place that is very special to me, and it is my favourite time of year to be there- I am looking forward to sharing it with you!  The cottage is only 10 minutes from Chelsea, which has some very nice restaurants and café’s, and 20 minutes from Ottawa.

About the retreat schedule:
The retreat is designed so that each day can build on the next, but each day can also be taken independently of the others.  The class time will be from 10:00am- 4:00pm. A  full, dynamic and energetic session,  balanced by some slow time through the day to enjoy the surroundings, journal, stretch, and relax.  Free felting time in the evenings are often a very rich part of the retreat experience;  to deepen our relationships, discuss the technique shared through the day as well as our own fibre experiences, or just chat over a bottle of wine.  Evenings are open to everyone participating.

Please email me if you would like to reserve a space.   Your space will be confirmedon receipt of the full fee via PayPal or cheque.  The retreat will run with a minimum of 6 participants, and a maximum of 10. 
Registration is required by September 1st, 2012.  
If you find you are not able to attend, full refunds will be offered up until September 1st, 2012. After that date no refunds will be available unless we are able to fill your space.

I look forward to felting with you this Fall!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

New Felt Market Bag

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The day started out with this...a blank canvas...perfect white simplicity.....ready for some colour play...Two layers of blue faced leicester, then two layers of Finn...BFL on the inside for a soft hand as you reach in and Finn on the outside for more durability. The finished texture is very nice....an inside pocket, metal rings felted directly onto the bag, and some ties for closure, also part of the one integral whole....I love this... that the structure is complete at the end of the felting....

Then I hit the dyepots...It was a good dyeing day....three separate immersion dips, creating bold patterns with subtle shifts....Mmmmmm....


  And then the stitching...so simple...some running stitch and french knots...hard to do because I cut off the tip of my thumb last weekend.....A thumb is pretty important to french knot making...I must be more careful when cooking when hungry! I have a lot more french knots in my future!  Warm and delectable....a little bit Autumnal....a departure in colors for me...and such a welcome change...inspired by a commission for a customer in Germany...it is good to stretch...
  Warm wishes,
Fiona

SaltSpring Island Fall Felting Retreat

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Foxglove Farm, SaltSpring Island, British Columbia
 
October 19/20/21st, 2012  10:00am-4:00pm + evenings
  
The British Columbia retreat will be hosted at the very beautiful and charming Foxglove Farm. The farm is located on one of the original homesteads on the island, surrounded by hundreds of acres of protected forest and agricultural fields, bordering Maxwell Lake. An idyllic, inspiring and very relaxing natural setting.  There is accomodation available for up to eight people in the three cottages.
 
All of the retreat details are available on my website here and on the retreat page of the blog here.
It's going to be a beautiful woolly October! I can't wait!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Inspired by Joomchi

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  I recently came across two books...images on the covers that stopped my steps and set my heart beating a little faster....
Yesterday's studio inspiration came from Joomchi and Beyond by Jiyoung Chung.



 It is an enticing craft form....similar to felting, but also different.   I love finding a medium new to me, and letting the inspiration trickle into my own work....sometimes it happens...sometimes it's time is not yet ripe....

  As of yesterday I have completed most of my "required" work.....gallery restocked....fibre shows done.....retreats planned and almost full.....and now I can just be creative.....and yesterday became about starting a relationship with Joomchi....
Spaces...openings....screens and obscurities....layers and layers...what can be seen and what can not....the idea of "pockets" and what they may hold....


Openings cut, and pulled and formed at prefelt stage.....



And felted.....I love the random relationship of the spaces....



  It will became a part of this dress (that may became a short sleeved cardigan/coat).....probably dyed in shimmery underwater hues.The bodice is knitted and fulled cashmere and silk, the felting of which was a once very unhappy accident- but that was two or three years ago now, and the knitwear just presented itself again last week, ready for transformation! Now it's just exciting!....an underlayer of handdyed silk, nuno felted into ripples....

  This dress is the piece I am working on primarily this week....It still has many layers to be added to it before it will be finished...and creating every layer is pure pleasure!  Such a luxury to be able to spend the time desired fully devoted to a single project! Oh! Happy fall studio time!

  Read more about joomchi, and the work of artist Jiyoung Chung at http://jiyoungchung.com/
  Warm wishes,
Fiona


Joomchi Felting 2

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  Felting with resists to create interesting surfaces....an exploration in materials...I'm enjoying tossing around in my head the language of another craft, Joomchi,  while exploring this feltwork...the making of pockets....

 Using different materials to create bubble and pockets....tyvek, high thread count quilting cottons, woven interfacing, non woven interfacings, cotton battings.....I stretched a layer of silk habotai over the wool and resists.....



  Fully felted ....the resists are all light and flexible, and the piece is very wearable....and very beautiful when held up the the light. The cotton batting resists did get caught in the nuno felting process and compressed a little, but less than then surrounding felted surfaces....all still very oceanic somehow....


 In relationship with the last surface of openings....a different kind of pocket......I love the patterning of the two together....seperate in sections and overlaid....



  These will become part of the dress (coat)......that plan has been revised a bit, and I'm going to be making a new bodice section this week....I will tell you all about it.....but for today....heading out to the studio right now to make the Joomchi scarf.....a combination of these textures combined in one piece....
Happy creative fall energies flowing.....I hope yours are too!

Warm wishes,
Fiona



Sea Constellations

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  The last two weeks have been the most delicious, intense, creative times...My cousins/kindred spirits have been visiting from New Zealand. Family that I have only met a handful of times, often with a decade in between visits, but who travel with me always and close by!  While Erica was creating at the Global Mural Conference in Chemainus, I had the delight of spending more time with my young cousin, Isla, visiting our favourite island spots, and making some felt for her to bring back to loved ones at home.


Felting together.....Isla is working on her bag....Finnish wool, felted on a resist; a starfish souvenir of our sharing of this special place and time....

  

Isla with her finished Starfish Bag. Plus some of our other makings/inspirations in the background. The studio/classroom was transformed this week...the display units came off the walls to open up mural spaces....the big table and surrounding floor was full of felting and the small tables were in full use for painting/drawing/writing and the making of shimmery mermaids....



  A bag for Tarn in NZ with one of Isla's Starfish felt charms. Felted in white Finnish, then immersion dyed.....The charm ring is felted directly into the bag, as are the handle rings....I love the colours and potential for adding changeable tokens by using the rings....

  Happy, happy felting....and chatting, and laughing and tears.....big ideas imagined, and resolve well planted.....A stillpoint of a visit in which we grounded ourselves, gathered our momentums and energies and now propel forward....with hopes of connecting our spaces across oceans before too long....

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Joomchi Felt Reflections

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This is my most recent in the series of scarves/wearables I've been making, inspired by the Korean art of Joomchi- a paper art form and process.  The exploration has culminated in pieces that hold three aspects of surface
design...all of which have a basis in geology.... a relationship between rock and water....Erosion and the forms it leaves behind....and leads into thoughts of the land and how it shapes us....


 In the midst of this felting exploration, we spent an afternoon on a local beach at low tide...and these beautiful rock formations were exposed. I'd never seen them at this location before....and what an amazing mirror they are to the joomchi/felting process...plus the symbolism inherent in the eroding of rock....


And in the same place...the simple layering of shales....

 Worn edges in the stone....layers....and like a topographic map of our well earned experiences.....and in felt, still reflecting the ideas of pockets...long sinuous veins of space....


And then the conglomerates...composites of materials bound together by pressure and time....how perfect! In another beautiful island spot, there are amazing examples of conglomerate rocks...when I get back from the retreats, I'm going to take some pictures....and explore these ideas some more....


So very much enjoying this thought/felt play.....a perfect lead in to the upcoming retreat sessions!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Golden in the (Felt) Garden

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 Wow. What a golden month it has been....gold in colour and experience.  This was our shimmery lake view from the cottage in Quebec where the first Fall felting retreat was hosted.

  Oh so busy, and the busier things are here, the less I write about it all....I know others manage to keep it all going- the doing and the writing about the doing, and I am so respectful.....but this moment of life for me is about engaging inner passions, not disciplines! That has come and gone and can come again later!

Eco-printing on Day 1, with flora from the farm

Fall Felting Retreats went well.....with lots of learning for both the participants and the teacher.....My main lessons- comfort takes precedence over beauty (at least in our teaching spaces), and sometimes, less can be more.  I arranged the class days with great planning, mainly in order to convey as much as I possibly could, while pacing my own energies to be able to deliver, but have learnt from these retreats to re-evaluate how much is enough- and to also, and more importantly, pace the class to the energies of my students.  A three day retreat is very different from three days of intensive workshops.  Next years retreat sessions will have a different format, to accomodate our best learning and doing rhythms...
  So....lots of learning, and much, much beautiful making with two incredible groups of creative people. Thank you all for coming! I wish I had some images of the finished works to show you- the surface design tapesties are all stunning and very unique, and the bags....again- wow- so much diversity in design choices.....they were fabulous!  I only managed to take 3 pictures from both retreat sessions- lots going on!


  I have one more Fall Felting Retreat session coming up in Nelson, BC, on November 16, 17, and 18th.   I'm very much looking forward to this time and place. A week in the beautiful Kootenays- can't wait!

  In the midst of these retreats, I've been able to do some new felting...my own projects including lots more "joomchi" pockets and layers, as well as felting with friends including storytelling carpets and gorgeous BFL cowls-yum! I have pictures to share with you as soon as I get my battery charged....that is my camera battery....I'm personally now feeling fully recharged and ready to go!

Happy November!
Fiona

A November Dye Walk

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Foxglove Farm was the location of the Salt Spring Fall Felting retreat; one with a an abundance of wonderful plant materials to chose from for the eco-dyeing segment of the dyeing day of the retreat. 
The participants made some absolutely gorgeous eco-prints on silk. I didn't have a chance to make one during the retreat time, so on a perfectly sunny crisp Fall day this week, I returned to farm to make my own bundle for my November print.

The artichokes are just at the end of their life cycle. They were a new plant to try in eco-dyeing for me, and the participants got some very clear, yellow/green results from the leaves, even when opened after only 2 days.  I collected some extra to bring to Nelson with me for the dyeing day there.

 
How dramatic is that?! All the more so because it is not all new and fresh and shiny....perfectly imperfect...attractively aged by the elements, by choosing to arrive late in the season....What gorgeous surfaces...so easy to imagine translating into felt....


 And some oh-so-beautiful cotinus (purple smoke bush).....in fiery fall colours.....When I have dyed with this before I got amazing blue prints...the participants at the retreat saw some stunning bright pinks....different soil? different time of year? Perhaps the ph, as in my past experiments with this, I was not using vinegar as a dip, as we did at the retreat. An acid should bring out the more pink/red tones in a plant dye, while a more basic bath will enhance the blue tones....Ah...the wonders of plant dyeing!


And this little lovely, Chickweed (Stellaria Media) is a dear friend to me- one I love to have growing in between intentionals in my garden, and delightfully found growing in abundance up at the farm. Not for dyeing...but just for munching on as I walk through the garden....I immediately feel all the more healthful just for doing so....



Back in the studio, laying out the plants on a length of organic cotton, previously printed.....


 This piece has many layers already...over many months...an exploration.....This section started with dahlia flowers and a little iron, then rerolled and dipped in an indigo bath...now being printed again with purple smoke bush (cotinus), as well as walnuts, artichoke leaves, rose and maple leaves, some dipped in an iron solution....


And, at the same time, a length of silk habotai, with all the plants above plus some poplar leaves...there is something so sensual about the plants materials, veiled in wet silk.....love observing this....

My November dye walk bundles, ready for steaming....wrapped around pear tree windfalls also from the farm....It always feels so good, just to take some time to enjoy the sunlight, go to a beautiful place, and be with the plants! To bring the lightness and pure pleasure of this activity into being....

Thanks to Foxglove Farm, for allowing me to wander!
Warm wishes,
Fiona