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Craft Guild of Dallas

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I left on a great fiber adventure this week... I've been traveling in the United States, completely immersed in felt making and fiber art.

First stop was the beautiful Craft Guild of Dallas. It is an amazing facility, with purpose built and architecturally designed studios for many mediums.


 I gave an artist lecture to a small but very interesting group of women.  It was quite wonderful to give a talk in an intimate setting that flowed afterwards into conversations of fibre, art and life.

My first class at the Craft Guild was in Joomchi Scarves. It was a full house! We talked about the foundations, the metaphors and the techniques. 






Everyone's compositions were wonderful...well thought out, and therefore laid out.... It is such a pleasure to teach a class with a group of creative people that take the new ideas and run with them.

The next day we worked on Surface Design.  I think it was the quietest Surface Design class I have ever taught. Everyone was focused and engaged in their processes!






In the class were visual artists, weavers, jewelry makers, bookbinders, as well as feltmakers, and everyone found their own interesting ways in exploring our surfaces.

Every minute I was not at the Guild, I was working on the Surface Design Online class... now in week 4. I am having some technical challenges while traveling, and spent most of Saturday night and well into Sunday morning, working with two computers, trying to get the class uploaded!

I have a selection of work on display in the Guild gallery shop until the end of March.

Thank you to everyone who came! It was such a pleasure to spend a weekend with you all, and special thanks to Suzanne Morgan, who initiated these classes, and my most generous host, Lisa Covert, President of the Craft Guild.

I can hardly believe, and very much appreciate, that I get to live my life this way!

I'm looking forward to returning to Dallas sometime, maybe next year for a longer workshop series now in discussions...but for now.... I'm on my way with my big bags of wool, on to Colorado, for the Felter's Rendezvous!

Warm wishes,
Fiona




Felting in the Rocky Mountains

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view from my classroom

I've just arrived home from a very beautiful trip. As mentioned before, Texas was fantastic- such a great group of creative people.  I had a few days before the beginning of the Felters Rendezvous and I had some writing to complete, so I created a little writer's retreat for myself in lovely Estes Park, Colorado. I had four days of felting, writing, good coffee, beautiful views, and silence. It was delightful! The sunshine, snow, mountain vistas and crisp but not cold temperatures were invigorating. 

Chapter 5 of the book complete, I headed further into the mountains to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Felters Rendezvous. After four days of silence I chatted (far too long and late) with felting friends, Heather and Tylar, as well as new friends, Cathy and Marsha. It was lovely to be with them all, and a highlight of my week to finally meet Heather in person!
 
before the classes, set up and ready....what a great space!

My first class was in felt bags. It was a full house and a very creative and exploratory group. In construction we had a variety of shapes, inner pockets, inner divisions, and outer pockets, and delved into some surface design play. There was a range of experience from beginner to master, and everyone challenged themselves to stretch their boundaries. That's a great thing in a class. No restraint was exercised and everyone made beautiful work.



Gorgeous and elaborate bags...it was such a fun class! For Dayle, in the top picture, this was her second felt project ever! Bags make such a perfect canvas for exploration of resists and surface design forms.

In days 3 and 4 we moved on to Surface Design.  Another full room, with some students continuing after the bag making, and some new faces to join our group.



A few of the extraordinary surfaces created on Day 3.  Over the two days, each student made two large felt tapestries, created as samplers to hold the multitude of techniques.


This whole event was extremely well co-ordinated by Deb Tewell of The Felting Source. Thank you Deb, for all your assistance, and the time and effort that goes into creating such an event! Next years dates and teachers are all set- It promises to be wonderful...and always a beautiful and inspiring location!

And now here I am...back again in my little studio on this little island.... gearing up for Surface Design Online-Spring and creating a new body of work for my exhibition this summer.  Life does not get better than this, and I thank you all for being a part of it!

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Inkjet Transfer Paper Explorations

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Teaching a most marvelous experience! It invites to teacher to share their skills and provides wonderful opportunities to refine our techniques both before the classes in preparation, but also during....

The spring class of Surface Design Online is in session, and it is just so much fun...It is amazing to see so much beautiful work, and to see connections building between feltmakers from all over the world.   One of the techniques in this class is using Inkjet Transfer Paper for adding text and images to your feltmaking. I started playing with this a few years ago with my Storytelling Bags series.   I've always wanted to explore this in a different way and the opportunity presented itself this afternoon.   

I've been wanting to see how different drawing tools could be used directly on the transfer paper...and what results the different mediums would give... So we tried some crayons for fabric, sharpie markers for fabrics, regular sharpie markers (permanent), and ink and paintbrush.  We tried pencil crayons and pens as well, but their points were too sharp and tore up the transfer paper. ("We": I even got my two teenagers excited about this and playing with textiles with me! Excited may be too strong a word, but I'm sticking with it!)



With this method, text can be easily mirrored. Write your desired words on a sheet of ordinary copy paper, hold it up backwards in a window. Place the transfer paper up to the lettering, making sure you are drawing on the correct side of your transfer paper for transferring, and copy using your desired drawing medium.



Cut out your drawing and iron them onto your silk fabrics as per the paper instructions. In this case we ironed each section for 2 minutes or so, on the highest setting, with no steam. Remove the paper from the silk fabrics, and cut out around the image, allowing at least an inch of non-printed silk for the wool fibres to migrate through during felting.
 

Felt as usual...
 

and....taadaa.....hand drawn images and text on your nuno felting! How incredible is that!  This has a different effect than just using fabric markers on your silk directly, as you can use many drawing mediums, plus you get interesting surface reliefs from the transfer paper.

In our experiments, anything with a brush tip worked equally well. The regular sharpies were a little too pointed and tended to gum up with the polymers from the paper, but did give very refined lines and brightly coloured images. The crayons are one of my favourites... I like their folk art qualities..the slight transparency in the drawing strokes combined with good strong colours.


This is what it is all about....exploration, experimentation and sharing....We are always students...even when we are teachers!

We explore this technique in much more depth in class, but I thought you all might enjoy seeing this, as it's so simple and beautiful! 

In this sampling we used Lesley Riley's TAP as our transfer medium.

Happy felting, 
Fiona

Wool Roving vs. Wool Batting

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Comparing wool roving and wool batting was once one of the foundations of the Surface Design class, but that exploration felt most possible for in person classes.   I include the fibers in the online Surface Design class, as I think it's a benefit for everyone to experience working with fibres in their different forms.  In working through the class materials, I decided to do a little test to see what differences I would find when working with roving and batting, in a documentated study! I used 16 grams/ 0.5 ounce of extra fine merino roving, and the same amount of extra fine merino batting both from the wonderful DHG. 
(see sources at the end!)


 Wool batting has been scoured, dyed and carded. It comes in big sheets or rolls. The wool fibres are not directional, or straightened.  When we are felting we want to have our fibres laid out in different directions to allow for the greatest connection of the fibres and their scales as they integrate to become felt.  With batting we don't need to pay any attention to the direction we lay out the fibres as they are already blended.


 Batting is fantastic for quick layouts. The batting can be spread out to your desired shape and size, and layers can be built up to reach your desired thickness.  To layout the batting, spread your wool out on your work surface. To remove extra fibre, use one hand as a clamp, held flat and firm on top of your fibres, and use the other hand to pull away the excess fibre-image left. Increase your layout size by laying on more batting, overlapping by about 1 inch (2.5cm) -image centre.  If you have any thin spots or holes, fill in with wisps of the wool batting- image right. Very fast and easy.

Wool batting is especially useful for quick layouts for all flat feltmaking projects, like wall pieces, playmats, or making your own prefelt. It is also excellent as a base for vessels, hats and bags.
Wool batting is generally not as readily available of wool rovings, sliver or tops.  Several breeds can be purchased in wool batting form, including Merino, Merino blends, Corriedale/Coopworth, Bergschaf, Norwegian C1, and Norwegian C1-Pelsull, Finnish and Icelandic. (resources below!)


  
Wool roving has been scoured, dyed and carded, and combed, so the fibres are all straight and aligned in a single direction. It comes in long lengths, sometimes rolled up into balls. We can layout one layer of roving if we want to create a very fine light felt, but most often we will lay out multiple layers, with each new layer perpendicular to the last.  This creates the greatest potential connection of the fibres and their scales as they integrate to become felt. The fibres will shrink more along the length of the fibre and we can use this to influence the size and shaping of our felt work during layout. In general though, we want consistent, even, perpendicular layers.

There are several ways to layout your wool roving. The most common form is called shingling. We use one hand as a clamp and pull away a staple length of wool fibre. Each shingle overlaps the previous one by one third -image left. After laying out all the fibres in one direction, we'll lay out the second layer of wool shingles, with the fibre direction perpendicular to the previous layer- image right. Two layers will create a lightweight consistent felt. More layers may be used either depending on the thickness of each shingle, or the desired thickness of your finished felt.



If I use the same weight of wool fibres, and start with the same size of layout, my end result should be the same with either wool roving or batting.   I used exactly the same felting techniques for the same durations in both samples. The batting was faster to layout. The roving developed a more strong felted skin more quickly. The batting felt more cohesive and started to full or shrink sooner in the process. They were both finished in the same amount of time, and the finished size was the same in both samples, with equal shrinkage in the width and the length.

 

My batting sample was more even in finished density overall. If I had of been a little more attentive in my layout of the roving, I think it would have been as consistent, if not more than the batting. But I was working quite quickly, so in this case the batting had a slightly better end result. 


After fulling completely, rinsing and laying flat to dry, both samples are tight and evenly finished. The batting appears just a little more smooth and flat.

So... no dramatic results! The same amount and size of sample produced a similar end result, as happens when an experiment goes exactly as you think it will!

I chose between roving and batting based on two main criteria. The first is availability. What fibre form  is available to me in the  particular wool breed I want.  I love C-1/pelsull for bags, and that is most readily available in a batting form. But I also make most of my bags in white and then dye them after, and for those I use Finnish wool, that is most readily available as a roving. The second  criteria is the density of the finished felt. When I am making the lightest weight, structural felt garments, I will use an extra fine merino roving. I feel I have the most control over the density of my felt (when I don't rush!) using the wool in a roving form.

It is valuable to touch and work with the different forms. Laying out with locks alone is another great experience. Exploring and using the different wools informs our felting sensibilities and understanding of the fibre qualities, as well as deepening our physical appreciation and hand recognition of the wools.

Here are some sources for you:
Batting:
Merino:Dyeing House Gallery (Italy) 
distributed in the US by Opulent Fibers
distributed in Canada by ArtGus Studio 

Merino:New England Felting Supply

Merino Cross:Living Felt

Norwegian C1, C1-Pelsull Blend, and Pelsull:New England Felting Supply
 
Bergschaf: Dyeing House Gallery (Italy) 

distributed in the US by Opulent Fibers
distributed in Canada by ArtGus Studio 

Finnish: Piiku (Finland)
 
Icelandic: Alafoss (Iceland)

Rovings or Tops are much easier to come by, and there are many wonderful online sources, including most of those above.  Too many to list here, but I do purchase most of the coarse wool breed rovings from:
www.worldofwool.co.uk

Lots of felt with!
Warm wishes, 
Fiona





Experimental Garment Construction Workshop

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  I'm really looking forward to this workshop. We have a great space- very large, open airy and bright. Lots of room to move and work and think.  Plus it takes place at the same time as the opening of my upcoming exhibition at ArtCraft.  This exhibition is a collection of sculptural garments, accessories and small sculpture. The elements I am working with now in creating these pieces, will be those we'll view and explore in creating interesting shaping in our garments in the workshop. 

  Here's the workshop description:

  Sculpture for the Body explores the manipulation of the surface of a garment; building up organic shaping that alters the structural lines, beautifully, dynamically and unexpectedly.  We’ll create highly wearable art pieces exploring architectural and sculptural design in wool. Layers and shaping will be created with prefelts, cords and gathers, shibori, folding, cutting and stitching. We’ll cover seamless garment construction while making a garment design of the student’s choice-dress, jacket, vest or skirt.

  I am most excited about the range of possibilities in this class. You could come just for the basic garment construction and learn how to make a fit-to-you jacket, dress, skirt, vest, or....
  And then as much and deeply as you want to, we will cut and shape and manipulate to add new form and architecture to the garment. Clean, wild or elegant... 3 days of creative feltmaking.

  I'm so looking forward to sharing this time with some of you!
 
Dates: July 10, 11, 12
Location : ArtSpring, 100 Jackson Ave, Salt Spring Island
Fee:  $325.00 plus materials fee: $65.00

For more information and to register:
www.fionaduthie.com/experimental-garment-construction/

Warm wishes, 
Fiona


Emerging and Retreating

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a treasured gift from my friend els @ fiber rainbow

Like Spring Bulbs and New Leaves....

As the Surface Design Online class ends, and my teaching schedule for the season closes, I find myself in an interesting transitional space. One that has been more challenging to move through than I had thought when I planned my calender for the year.

I'm retreating from being online in my capacity as teacher, and emerging into my summer island world.   Lots more time for long walks in the forest, evenings at the beach and book reading under the tree.  Family time and coffee with friends. It's an interesting challenge to switch gears mentally... I've gotten used to long hours in front of the computer, and have to remind myself that I don't actually need to be doing that right now...and sign out.


In this time I am reacquainting myself with my studio space....I worked in the studio alot over the spring, but mostly in relation to developing teaching materials, and it became more of a messy production/holding/impersonal/disaster space...It took some initial perseverance this last week or so to remind myself to be out there...It was actually difficult to go out there and start making something! I would have loved to have cleaned and re-organized completely to reflect new creative directions and spaces, but that just wasn't possible....so in addition to making new work, I adjust and sort for an hour a day....and slowly but surely the studio is emerging as my true space again.  The more this happens, the more I retreat into this space and love the quiet and authentic reflection.

This season in my working life is all about new explorations and creations. I retreat from the everydayness into my space and fall in love with my materials, like renewing vows in life long relationship! Ideas constantly emerging, and sometimes fear also...What if I can't actually do what my mind sees and my pencil creates on paper. What if I am just not good enough to realize these ideas.  There's a lot of that right now. The next few weeks will tell! The piece below is part of a series that uses the dress and therefore the human form as a canvas. Waiting to be dyed and stitched....


As I spend more time in this creative space, I am eager to share my explorations online again....here on my blog or on Facebook.....full circle but in a different space. 

I am absolutely intrigued with how retreating and emerging can be one and the same thing. Retreating from or into one aspect of life brings us into emergence in another. They are each a side of the same door.

I have to say how grateful I am to have met so many wonderful people through felting this Winter into Spring...some in person and some only online. But the connections are so good and whole....the emergence of such a gift!

A special thank you to my far away fiber friend, Els, who sent me the beautiful gift above...a little bit of each of our countries, and of herself. I love having these little touchstones in my studio, warming and thoughtful, from friends also making in their own spaces...
 
Warm wishes, 
Fiona







SHIFT : exploring layers of perception

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SHIFT : exploring layers of perspective
July 11- August 1
10:00am-5:00pm
ArtCraft Gallery, 114 Rainbow Road Salt Spring Island


A joint exhibition of work by Barbra Edwards, visual artist, and Fiona Duthie, fibre artist, at Salt Spring Island's ArtCraft Gallery.

Fiona's work in this exhibition features new sculptural felt garments that use geological surfaces created through fabric manipulation, stratified textiles and mapping imagery to explore biography. Barbra’s current work explores how form speaks to form. Line is used to suggest something of substance, layers of perspective; what existed before or what might be. Other paintings use obvious line separation as a statement on how each of us observe things differently.

There is a natural flow and relationship between what both artists are creatively saying in their respective art forms.


The exhibition opening is on July 11th, 6:00-8:00pm.

http://www.fionaduthie.com/
http://www.barbraedwards.com/

The Last Dress

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Yesterday I finished the last piece for my exhibition...a little background for you, written as I worked. 
 
Here I am....on the day of the photo shoot of my most recent work. One day before the installation, and two days before the big opening and fashion show.

And I'm taking a slow day to finish the last dress. This dress was actually the first one I started as I prepared for this exhibition. I got it all laid up on my table and then realized it was going to take me weeks to make all the parts. I needed my work table in that time, so the first dress was carefully rolled up and set aside...until now.


I like the way this dress has been in process throughout the creation of all of the pieces for this exhibition. It is the dress that is the most time intensive, with lots of handfelting and slow plant dyeing.

Each "wishbone" takes about 15 minutes to make and there about 60 of them on the dress.  Each of the three ends needs to be carefully hand worked to attach it to the body.




Once fully felted the surface result is a little wild, very sculptural. Interlaced and overlapping, crawling, leaping, edging their way up and around the dress surface. In my mind these are wishbones, and they are also tracks. They cast shadows, changing with the angle of the viewers perception.  They're a little ugly...and also beautiful.


This dress was dyed with iron and tansy that I collected this morning while walking up the hill and looking out over a gorgeous sea, with mountains beyond. I am so happy to have the time to work through this slow completion process today, at the end of a long journey of thinking, and planning and felting. 

 And this evening, a group of beautiful women joined me and brilliant photographer Amy Melious, for a photo shoot of the finished pieces. It was wonderful to see these brought to life, so very different from standing on mannequins in my studio. I very much appreciate the time and effort put in by everyone for this shoot. What a setting and company to end the day...and the work for this exhibition.



The last dress....a full cycle of creative process as well as of story and place.

I'll try to fill you in on the other SHIFT dresses in between in the next few weeks!
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Greater than the sum of the parts...

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Migration with Day Tripper and Night Dance in the background

 The SHIFT exhibition opening was a wonderful night! The show was very well attended by an enthusiastic audience.  To open the show, only Barbra Edwards's dramatic paintings were in the exhibition space.


Beautiful World and Form Speaks to Form
both 54 x 48" oil / wax on panel
Grey Rhythm48 x 72"
oil on canvas
with  Confluence in foreground

  My pieces came out individually on models, bringing each piece to life with movement...living sculpture. After each model walked though the gathered crowd, she took her position in the exhibition, as the pieces would be displayed for the duration of the show.  Then everyone had the opportunity to move into the exhibition space to interact with and view in detail the paintings and felt pieces.  It was a fantastic evening!


  Barbra and I worked separately on our pieces through the spring/early summer and only shared hints of our directions in our work. We had never met before being paired for this exhibition and only met twice throughout the process, each working in our separate studios, on our separate islands. In our occasional conversations though, the most amazing relationships in our work began to become apparent, as well as  commonalities in life experiences.  Barbra's palette is bold, but always has an earthy base. My use of plant dyes is the same. This guaranteed some cohesion in our exhibition. But the degree of cohesion could not have been foretold or expected to be as amazing as it is here.

L to R
SHIFT #3 with Rift
Creature Love (48 x 60" oil on canvas) with Stratum in foreground
Day Tripper
60 x 43"
mixed media with oil

Rift with SHIFT #1 (diptych)16 x 32"  oil/with wax
  What was the most remarkable surprise and continues to give me such great pleasure is just how strong and beautiful the relationships our pieces have with one another.  Each of Barbra's pieces has a unique connection with one of mine, through form, line and colour. 


Beautiful World 54 x 48" oil /wax on panel with Hegira (right)


 Great and insightful reviews in the newspaper today, and two of my pieces sold!  I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to get to know Barbra and her work. And to the Salt Spring Arts Council for pairing us in this exhibition.  I'll be etching out some quiet moments at the gallery over the next week to soak up the relationship of these pieces. Together, greater than the sum of the parts...

You can read our artists statements here.

And see more of Barbra's work here.

Warm wishes,
Fiona

Rift : A SHIFT dress

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  The layouts in this series of dress sculptures were so complex. There were often multiple layers of resists, or else multiple layers of patterning. The designs had to be thought through in that reverse thinking way required when working with resists, and also with transparencies, opacities, and inclusions.  My brain was burning with keeping it all held in order to get to the end result. Thinking through on what will show on which side of the garment and where, and what will happen if it is overdyed. Where would each design element fall on the body when shaped into the 3 dimensional and worn. Left and right, front and back, inside and outside....all parts were relevant...all at one time. 


 The lightest layers of wool roving made me think of skin tissue healing. So relevant to this dress full of (beautiful) scars and my intentions. 


   This dress is made of shadowy shards. Like flakes of obsidian. But cradled within a softer surface....Black and white forming shades of grey over time.  Geology is just so prominent in many of the SHIFT dresses. This piece has elements of all rock formations, sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic; tectonic shifting, escarpments...  It is hard, sharp and cut, but softened around the edges in overall dress form, like a tumbled stone.  Geode like inclusions; seams of precious earth....scars, dreams, wishes...life in general. Not simple.
 They are pushed up and out of the base textile; carved and twisted through the fulling.  Complicated, (if you chose to think about it) like the shadowy base.



  This dress is sinuous and feminine on the wearer, and full of tactile metaphors.  I like that it can be just a beautiful dress, and can also hang as a sculptural form filled with intention.  




  The techniques used in this piece will be part of the Fall felting retreat in Quebec this October. I'm trying to get the details posted about this as soon as possible....there's lots going on right now...lots of big events vying for my attention...but this is up next! 

  It's not all serious thoughts and introspection! I've got lots of plant dyeing lined up for the next few days...some summer lightness...warmth, sunshine and flowers; folly and experimentation!
Warm wishes, 
Fiona
 

Fall Felting Retreat- Quebec

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The dates and details are set for a relaxing, revitalizing, energizing fall felting retreat - I am so looking forward to this event! 
The retreat will run on October 3, 4, 5, 2014, at Meech Lake, Quebec, just outside Ottawa.
All of the details are described below...please just contact me if you have any questions. This retreat will fill very quickly, so do reserve your space as soon as possible!




Shadow Felting: Friday, all day, and Saturday morning.
Working in layers of silk gauze and fine merino wools we'll create highly refined, drapable textiles.  This strata effect adds depth and interest to the felt surface, building up shading and shadows in both neutral compositions and those highly coloured. We'll also cover the colour carving technique to add bold rifts within the surfaces. Techniques can be used to create either a scarf, shawl, or tunic/shell top. 



Felt Illuminated: Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
Warm, Soft, Comforting- everything we think of in wool- but with an edge when used in lighting design. The wool fibre patterns are accentuated through shading, unique to this combination of fibre and illumination. The learning challenges in this class are to measure and make resists to construct a 3-D felt form to exact finished dimensions and to create lightweight, structurally strong felt that illuminates beautifully …Combine fibres, multiple layers,  felt lace, prefelt, colourwork and stitching to construct a striking interior design piece.

Saturday Evening during the retreat: Ottawa/Gatineau Felt Gathering
Saturday, October 4th.  6pm-10pm
Felt United Project plus social gathering.....more details to follow!


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 basic onsite accommodation for up to five people, or you can 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 need accommodation. 
Retreat fee is $375.00.
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!  
Materials lists will be sent out with registration information or you can have the materials provided for a $65.00 materials fee.
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, Canada's capital city. 

About the retreat schedule:
The class time will be from 9:00am- 5:00pm. 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 in the retreat.
Please email meif you would like to reserve a space. Your space will be confirmedon receipt of the full fee via PayPal or cheque.  The retreat has a maximum attendance of 8. Payments must be received in full by September 13th.
I look forward to felting with you this Fall!
Warm wishes,
Fiona

Hegira: A SHIFT dress

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Hegira
He·gi·ra
hiˈjīrə,ˈhejərə/ : anyflightorjourneyto amoredesirableorcongenialplace. 
Usually an exodus or migration.  C16:fromMedievalLatin,fromArabichijrah:emigrationorflight

This is the sisterdress to Migration.  I wanted to take the wishbone sculptural elements and use them in larger, more transparent forms.  An individual path compared to that of the many in Migration.


  Hegira was a watery dress from the very beginning. The large sheer panel in the middle of the dress, both front and back, illustrates a journey, broken at times, and coming from or starting with a fork or confluence...Rivers with portages, canals with locks, seas with storms...this was created with layers of silk gauze, with resists to prevent the one superfine merino wool layer from obscuring the path.  This dress is lighter than light.



  Different materials mirror the motif; resists, 3-D sculptural elements and silk organza.  The journey can look different but we can arrive in the same place....some are more obvious than others...The forms are like tracks...not continuous...they would take great observation and patience to find and follow.


  This dress was dyed on a full moon dyeing day this summer, which makes it feel just right to tell it's story on another full moon indigo dyeing day today. It is always a wonder-filled to experience to pull the textiles from the indigo vats...


  Hegira had many dips into the indigo vat....developing an intense deep blue...
I added pathways of stitches...but I think there are still more to come ....





  This dress looked wonderful exhibited as a scuplture, but it's story feels even more complete when shown worn on our beautiful island....reflecting the journey by water we all take to get here...





  How can I resist adding more pictures...so beautiful....shades of indigo captured by Amy Melious...(and the model's name is Indigo also)...created and engaged with water...and the moon and some ocean stars....



  Hegira....the lightest definition of this word sums up this process...a journey to a more congenial place....
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Technique: Colour Shifting with Batting

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  Wool fibres can be used like paints, laid out to create surface colour changes, but also combined in layers to build new colors through shadowing. We can also use this simple technique to create a shift or transition in colour progression.  It can be easier to imagine how to blend the layers when using wool roving than when using wool batting.  This is a method I use to create a more subtle shift in colour when laying out using wool batting.

This technique is illustrated using C1/Pelsull and C1 wool batting from New England Felting Supply.


 For many projects, we only need half the total thickness of the batt.
Unroll the batting so you have it at its full thickness. Then open up the layers into two- divide the sheet into two thicknesses. The wool batting divides easily this way…like sheets of phyllo dough….one half will usually be a little heavier than the other. For this layout, I am using the slightly more thick layer. Remember to do this for all your wool colours.


 On the area where you want to continue your layout and start the colour transition, divide this wool layer into two, and pull the top layer up about 2 inches (5cm). This amount will depend on the size of your overall project and composition.Pulling up a larger amount like 4 inches (10cm) will give you a large transition area with more opportunity for gradation.


 Using one hand as a clamp, pull off this part of the top layer.


 Repeat this process on your next colour. In this case I'm using two complementary colours.


 Lay the thin section of the new colour, over the thin section of the previous colour. Because these are both half thicknesses, the transition area now will be the same density as the full colour layer.



  Repeat this same process for all of your layout and colour transitions.


  Wet out and compress as usual.


 You may want to add this the very lightest, finest wisps, not adding weight, but another layer to deepen the gradation through the transition.



 Felt using your usual methods.


 
 In your transition areas, the two colours overlapping migrate through one another, creating colour shadowing. This migration is what will create the seamless colour transitioning. Tossing your felt really helps to get those fibres integrated and achieve good migration. It is very important to full your felt completely. If you are not seeing any colour shadowing, you probably have more felting to do!


 The transition areas show clear colour blending. A definite purple between the analogous blue and fuchsia, and a brown/orange tone coming from the lime green and fuchsia. This transition could be even more graduated by making a more deep overlap, and lightly adding wisps to the edges of the transition area in the closest colour. The colour transitioning is more subtle between analogous colours than complementary colours. This would also be true when using natural wool colours.



 This is a beautiful and simple technique for adding more depth to your felt composition, with just a simple variation in wool layout.


  A question about laying out using batting in this way was asked by a student in one of my online classes. I started writing out a text description of how to achieve the gradated result, and realized pictures just would tell it so much better! It was a fun exercise for me....a nice distraction from larger projects I have on the go, which I so need from time to time....and also a great opportunity to write a post here!

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Okanagan School of the Arts Workshops 1

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  I have been working in one version of my most perfect place... there are several variations on this... but this is definitely a good one. The Okanagan is beautiful. And home to Canada's best wines, including some amazing reds. I'm staying on the Naramata bench, right on the KVR walking trail, in a vineyard... overlooking the lake.... with fine sunrises and sunsets. It is heavenly...and that is just my mornings and evenings.


  All day I spend at the Shatford Centre, home of the Okanagan School of the Arts. Some days I am teaching... and then others I am there as Artist in Residence. I'm using this time to tidy up some old work, refine my plans and goals for 2015/2016 and then start to enter into the mindspace for my upcoming exhibition in February. It is a wonderful world! Even with a separate studio space at home, and older children now, who are pretty self-sufficient, it is still a unique experience to go to a different space and focus. I think that is the key....to have clear goals to work towards in this special time set aside....with some breathing spaces allowed for...of course...and a fine glass of local red wine.


  This weekend was a three day session on Joomchi Feltmaking. We had a small class, due to a few cancellations, so I had the opportunity to make my own piece as a demonstration. With experienced feltmakers in the class, we delved deeper into perfect fit in garment construction and with a focus on lots of surfaces and composition techniques. 
All of the pieces were beautiful and perfect for their individual wearer and creator...
 


  And my own, red study....working with a single colour to really highlight the textures in the piece.


   This is first class I have taught in years that was not full. It was a tiny ego hit...being honest with you... but not for long...this smaller class size opened up opportunity to go much farther with my students and create something alongside them. We had more time for discussion and even a short "felt clinic" looking at past projects and tips for improving each work. It was a great gift of space and time.... These were three calm, creative, wonderful days, in an incredible setting and facility. It was pure pleasure.

And there are still 4 more days to go....
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Online Felting Workshops: Spring 2015

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http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/surface-design-in-feltmaking-online-workshop/

  Registration is now open for the four online felting classes I'll be offering in Spring 2015.

 The Surface Design Online class has gotten bigger every time I've offered it....there is always just one more idea that comes up, related to the materials. Because of this and student feedback from the Fall sessions, I've extended the class to be 8 weeks long. We have two built in studio weeks. These are break weeks, for you to catch up on the previous two weeks worth of materials, or to implement these new techniques in a project. I think it will be a wonderful addition. A comfortable sense of community builds up in the classroom, and having a few more weeks together will be great.


http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-bags-online-spring/

Felt Bags Online remains the same, covering everything you need to know to make a great seamless bag. These can be any style- open market bag, messenger style with flaps, or more sculptural.


http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-illuminated-online-workshop-spring/

  Felt illuminated Online will take a different format this Spring. It will be released over three weeks, with week one covering wool breeds and surface techniques for great illumination, week two covers drum, bell and empire style lampshades, and week three covers ball styles as well as more unusual lampshades.  There are two different methods for resist construction and layout, in order to create your perfect light!

http://www.fionaduthie.com/course/felt-jewelry-online-spring/

Felt Jewelry Online will be available this Spring! It is also taking a different format and will now be a four week class, with each week covering a different basic aspect of feltmaking; flat felt, cords, beads and balls.... The felt jewelry class is best suited to beginning feltmakers or intermediate feltmakers looking for a light and pleasurable class..  

For full information on each class, and to register, please click on the images above.
I love teaching feltmaking...and this online format has been wonderful to be able to connect with feltmakers all over the world. I hope you'll join us in February!
 
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Terra Textures-Surface Design in Felt Workshops

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  I am absolutely delighted to announce a workshop series created by Katia Mokeyeva and myself to be offered this April at the Okanagan School of the Arts in Penticton,BC.

  Katia and I met while both teaching at the Midwest Felting Symposium, and found depths of commonality in our lives...both personal and creative. On our way home from this event, we kept running into one another in airports, as we made out way from gate to gate, moving west slowly on different flights but with the same stops... The sort of serendipitous meetings that are exciting and feel meaningful! The idea for this workshop collaboration was born during those chance encounters as we each ran for our next flight!

 The idea is to create a mix and match workshop combination  where students can chose an assortment of classes, learn very different felting styles from two enthusiastic, supportive teachers, while creating a complimentary collection of felt wearables. We work from a similar starting point...nature as our inspiration and the space that feeds our creative spirits....and from this core, we then work quite differently in every way...in design, layout and felting process....but both with an emphasis on surface design.   We will both be offering  two  x one day accessory classes, plus a three day garment class on the weekend.

The Okanagan School of the Arts at the Shatford Centre in Penticton is a perfect location for our workshops. Lots of room and a very supportive space, in a beautiful natural setting. Lake, mountains, orchards in bloom, vineyards...it's quite idyllic....


Full workshop information and registration through the Okanagan School of the Arts will be available On December 15th, 2015. I'll send you the links when that happens.

It really is very exciting! 

You can see more of Katia's beautiful work on her website:
www.feuer-und-wasser.com

Warm wishes, 
Fiona



 

Starting in balance....

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The Valhallas- the view from our cabin....

In my book of everything (my special black book that some of you will know!) this year is looking just fantastic, and got off to a wonderful beginning with some quiet personal time in a most beautiful place. The Valhalla Ranges in British Columbia. (I honestly did not appreciate the name of the place in looking for a perfect retreat until writing this!).  
 
Our cabin in the woods...I'm in the middle- almost a head shorter than my youngest two boys!

 My family was in need of some snow time, so we headed up into the mountains where we had rented a log cabin in the woods looking out over gorgeous lake towards snow topped mountains. Idyllic. Quiet. Peaceful. Restorative...as were the natural hot springs we visited in the area...within our creative practises we need some soul nourishment....inspiration that has nothing to do directly with art, craft and design.

I've been working non-stop since returning on my sculptural pieces for my upcoming solo exhibition in Vancouver next month.  More pictures and blog posts of this will come in the next few weeks! It's coming together...at least I tell myself that and believe it (a little) having worked on a few exhibitions now...it feels very tenuous at the moment, but I recognize this as part of the process and normal for this stage.


And I gave an artist talk and workshop to the Victoria Weavers and Spinners Guild this past weekend. They are a vibrant, rich group. It was truly an honour to be invited. They have such full life experiences and a wealth of knowledge and skill in the fibre arts that is deeply humbling and inspiring to be around.



The workshop was in a beautiful space. Lots of light, and a great group of women willing to laugh, explore, get excited about new techniques! It is so energising and enlightening to teach these workshops. I love it.

Hi Leola! She is a dear friend, and I'm looking forward to visiting her in her studio this spring....

A great start to the new year with a trinity in balance that I hope will continue as a theme through 2015. Some time in the natural world, relaxing, dreaming, thinking, breathing (heart); some personal art development time (hands), and some teaching and demonstrating (head).  Each one feeds me in different but equally important ways.  If I can keep the the ratios right, I hope to move through this year in a much more healthy way than the last two.  It feels like a promising start!

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

full(filled) exhibition and Artist Interview

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  All of the exhibition pieces for full(filled) are just about finished. Each work is now getting individual attention each day, making it ready for installation on Tuesday. The exhibition is in quite a small but interesting space. This means there are not many pieces in the show- one very large wall that will cover a whole surface of the gallery, three felt skins, and smaller felt sculptures. It will  feel soft and intimate, and I hope invite people into the space and some quiet introspection.

The people at Craft Council of British Columbia have been amazing in organizing this exhibition and promoting the work. It is wonderful to feel so supported.

Link to my interview with the CCBC:
Artist Interview

full(filled) :: February 5th – March 19th 2015. 
Opening Reception :: Thursday February 5th, 7 – 9pm
1386 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver

Artist Talk ::  Thursday February 5th, 6pm – 7pm across the street at Carousel Theater 1411 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver

On Being a Student....

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 To close off my teaching season, I decided to give myself a creative gift, and become a student for a weekend. It was such a refreshing and informative time.  Even outside of learning new skills under the extremely talented ceramicist, Julie MacKinnon

 The workshop was held on the my first weekend back after teaching at the Okanagan School of the Arts, and many weeks of both online teaching and on location workshops around the province.  On the first morning of the workshop I was acutely aware of how I was thinking about that day, in contrast to the first day of a workshop when teaching.



 I have no experience with ceramics.  Although I had some projects ideas in mind,  I had no expectation for my own output during the class. I did not expect to make anything close to the quality of Julie's work, whose hands have put in their hours to develop an intimate knowledge of the material. I didn't expect any notes. I expected that any information I needed to retain I would be responsible for noting myself, in images, sketches or words. I loved that I just had to show up with enthusiasm; that all the materials and tools needed were supplied.  I started the morning just looking forward to having a great creative time, with a group of other women, guided through the processes by Julie's knowledge, experience and good humour.


 I was really excited when I saw that Julie was offering this workshop. In one of those exuberant sparks of inspiration I saw how ceramics could provide the perfect base for a line of felt table lamps I have in process. The white felt lighting has a sense of ceramics when unlit...the surface design potential is very similar. I see simple clear glazed white ceramic bases, in perfect relationship with a the matte white felt work.  Julie is wonderful in allowing her students room to experiment and design. The lamp base above will have red linen stitching through the holes in the sides...we can't escape our own material languages! 


 This base is designed to have felted spikes coming through the openings, that have a relationship in balance with spikes on the felt shade. It really is so exciting. 

 I found as a student, with much teaching experience and a lifelong craft practise, I really wanted to understand the materiality of the clay. My hands understand every aspect of the wool fibres as they change as I work. It is intuitive and immediate, and requires no thinking....This is where the 10 000 hours of working as a craftperson brings your understanding of a material. But my hands don't understand clay, like Julie's do. I wanted to know what my fingers should be feeling, and how this would change how I would work with the clay.  The tactile experience and understanding was more important to me than the end product.  Julie was wonderful in answering my questions and explaining the different "hands" when working with clay.


 

 I became aware that there are two definite approaches to workshops. Really the difference between master/process based classes and interest classes. It benefits everyone to clearly differentiate between these when people sign up for a workshop.  Ceramics will (probably...almost certainly) never be my main material to work with, so my mindset in attending the class was entirely interest based. A little side trip into a new world...I know many people that come to my classes work in felt, and fully expect to take every nuance of what we do home, to integrate into their own work.  This sets a very different tone for both student and teacher.  Both are good and wonderful...but quite different in expectations and delivery.

 I loved having the opportunity to work on the other side of the table, to work with a material that felt familiar and yet very foreign, to talk with all the interesting and creative participants, and learn from such an exceptional teacher.....so much so I'm going back for more in June...The last chance I'll have to play outside my medium before intensive studio time kicks in for the summer. I can't wait, and my sketchbook is filling up with projects that combine felt and clay.  

  If Julie and I could work out the logistics around the firing and glazing of the ceramics, we could create a great collaborative workshop!

You can see more of Julie's work here:
Julie MacKinnon Ceramics
Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Peaks & Valleys :: Surface Design Online Exhibition

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This is a very special project. The first online exhibition of the Surface Design Online Challenge.

The Surface Design Online program is all about experimentation and pushing yourself further into techniques, whether they are new to you, or familiar friends.  I created this challenge and exhibition to continue this exploration with participants from the previous classes.

There is nothing like an exhibition with it's deadlines and parameters to make us stretch our creative thinking. This is  about pushing ourselves to create beyond our usual scope. Challenging ourselves to make something better or different than we have before...work in a new direction, a new scale, take techniques further, shake up our creative practices. Hit a few walls...and break through them.  This stretching is how we all grow as artists....

This is the challenge that was set for the participants in this years exhibition:

Peaks and Valleys. Mountains and Plains, Crests and Troughs. Highs and Lows.....we have all experienced them, whether geographically or emotionally....and creatively!  What could be a more appropriate theme in dimensional surface design than this! Explore the theme as literally or metaphorically as you wish.

And they did. And did so exceptionally...  All from very different levels of experience and creative backgrounds....all employing techniques from the class, but creating work that is completely personal and individual. I think they are all brilliant!

The introduction post in the exhibition has a comment space, providing a guest book for the participants. Please do come by and take a look, read their words on how they interpreted the challenge, and share in our enthusiasm and passion for this medium.

Peaks & Valleys :: Surface Design Online Exhibition

Warm wishes, 
Fiona

Note: We will do this again next year, and the exhibition is open to everyone who has taken, or is currently taking the Surface Design Online class.

SHIFT travels to Vancouver

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‘SHIFT’ includes oil paintings by visual artist Barbra Edwards and sculptural feltmaking by fibre artist Fiona Duthie. Both artists use local, natural materials and subject matter in their work with a focus on texture, layers, and colour relationships. Although the artists feel a deep artistic connection, their works are produced autonomously in their respective studios on separate Gulf Islands. In bringing their pieces together, the artists invite the viewer to draw connections between the works and notice their mutual perspectives.

Barbra Edwards’ paintings use dialogue between form and line to interpret her view of the environment on a cellular level. She explores sense of place and how each of us sees things from our own perspective. Edwards cites the natural environment as a major influence on her artwork, and her new series is textured, with vibrant colours surrounded by calm, atmospheric space. She lives and paints on Pender Island.

Fiona Duthie‘s sculptural felt garments employ geological surfaces created through fabric manipulation, stratified textiles and mapping imagery to explore biography and individual perspective. There is a sense of movement in each piece, inferring a geographical, emotional or mental shift. Fiona Duthie is an internationally recognized feltmaker known for her dynamic sculptural clothing and fibre artwork. Felting since 1996, Duthie has a full-time studio practice based on Salt Spring Island.

July 8 – August 8, 2015Artist talks: Sunday July 12, 2 p.m.Reception: Sunday July 12, 3 p.m.


Seymour Art Gallery 
North Vancouver, BC







SHIFT’ includes oil paintings by visual artist Barbra Edwards, and sculptural feltmaking by fibre artist Fiona Duthie. Both artists use local, natural materials and subject matter in their work with a focus on texture, layers, and colour relationships. Although the artists feel a deep artistic connection, their works are produced autonomously in their respective studios on separate Gulf Islands. In bringing their pieces together, the artists invite the viewer to draw connections between the works and notice their mutual perspectives.
Barbra Edwards’ paintings use dialogue between form and line to interpret her view of the environment on a cellular level. She explores sense of place and how each of us sees things from our own perspective. This new series is textured, with vibrant colours surrounded by calm, atmospheric space. Edwards lives and works on Pender Island.
Fiona Duthie's sculptural felt garments employ geological surfaces created through fabric manipulation, stratified textiles and mapping imagery to explore biography and individual perspective. There is a sense of movement in each piece, inferring a geographical, emotional or mental shift. Fiona Duthie is an internationally recognized feltmaker known for her dynamic sculptural clothing and fibre artwork. Felting since 1996, Duthie has a full-time studio practice based on Salt Spring Island.
Save The Date!
Seymour Art Gallery
Dates:   July 8 to August 8th
Artist Talks:   Sunday July 12th 2 pm, Reception following
- See more at: http://barbraedwards.com/blog/shift-travels-vancouver#sthash.E0UaFqvH.dpuf
paintings by Barbra Edwards, felted sculpture by Fiona Duthie
June 17 2015
SHIFT Travels to Vancouver
‘SHIFT’ includes oil paintings by visual artist Barbra Edwards, and sculptural feltmaking by fibre artist Fiona Duthie. Both artists use local, natural materials and subject matter in their work with a focus on texture, layers, and colour relationships. Although the artists feel a deep artistic connection, their works are produced autonomously in their respective studios on separate Gulf Islands. In bringing their pieces together, the artists invite the viewer to draw connections between the works and notice their mutual perspectives.
Barbra Edwards’ paintings use dialogue between form and line to interpret her view of the environment on a cellular level. She explores sense of place and how each of us sees things from our own perspective. This new series is textured, with vibrant colours surrounded by calm, atmospheric space. Edwards lives and works on Pender Island.
Fiona Duthie's sculptural felt garments employ geological surfaces created through fabric manipulation, stratified textiles and mapping imagery to explore biography and individual perspective. There is a sense of movement in each piece, inferring a geographical, emotional or mental shift. Fiona Duthie is an internationally recognized feltmaker known for her dynamic sculptural clothing and fibre artwork. Felting since 1996, Duthie has a full-time studio practice based on Salt Spring Island.
Save The Date!
Seymour Art Gallery
Dates:   July 8 to August 8th
Artist Talks:   Sunday July 12th 2 pm, Reception following
- See more at: http://barbraedwards.com/blog/shift-travels-vancouver#sthash.E0UaFqvH.dpuf
grey rhythm oil painting by abstract artist barbra edwards, felt sculpture by fiona duthie
June 17 2015
SHIFT Travels to Vancouver
‘SHIFT’ includes oil paintings by visual artist Barbra Edwards, and sculptural feltmaking by fibre artist Fiona Duthie. Both artists use local, natural materials and subject matter in their work with a focus on texture, layers, and colour relationships. Although the artists feel a deep artistic connection, their works are produced autonomously in their respective studios on separate Gulf Islands. In bringing their pieces together, the artists invite the viewer to draw connections between the works and notice their mutual perspectives.
Barbra Edwards’ paintings use dialogue between form and line to interpret her view of the environment on a cellular level. She explores sense of place and how each of us sees things from our own perspective. This new series is textured, with vibrant colours surrounded by calm, atmospheric space. Edwards lives and works on Pender Island.
Fiona Duthie's sculptural felt garments employ geological surfaces created through fabric manipulation, stratified textiles and mapping imagery to explore biography and individual perspective. There is a sense of movement in each piece, inferring a geographical, emotional or mental shift. Fiona Duthie is an internationally recognized feltmaker known for her dynamic sculptural clothing and fibre artwork. Felting since 1996, Duthie has a full-time studio practice based on Salt Spring Island.
Save The Date!
Seymour Art Gallery
Dates:   July 8 to August 8th
Artist Talks:   Sunday July 12th 2 pm, Reception following
- See more at: http://barbraedwards.com/blog/shift-travels-vancouver#sthash.E0UaFqvH.dpuf

Respiration: an Outdoor Felt Installation

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One of my big summer projects is an outdoor felt installation created for the juried exhibition LandArt @ ArtCraft.

I have been fascinated with Land Art for many years, and allowed the whisperings of a felt installation to roam around in my imagination...When the call for entry for this exhibition came up, I knew exactly what my proposal would be...I was juried into the show, but given a different location to the one on which I had based my proposal. I didn't think much of this until many months later when I was ready to approach this new work, and started to spend time in the space. My original idea just did not respond to the environment.   So I visted regularly, observing and sketching and thinking...until the new work presented itself. (I will tell you sometime about the original idea, as I still plan to make it and present it in a different location this summer!)
 

In Land Art I see two distinct relationships. The artist meets the site and responds to it's characteristics, developing a relationship and then a concept for that space.  And then the artwork meets the site,  and it too responds to it's characteristics. How will the artwork react with the changing seasons, weather patterns, growth of plant material, animal behavior, movement of the light, and wind? There are so many components to be aware of  and potentially respond to. It is a very exciting and dynamic "gallery"!
  It has been a fascinating process,  immersing oneself in the space, observing it's seasonal nuances: the light, the wind, the foliage, the earth...

 In the late spring when I saw the strong leaf patterns, emerging on the trees, I knew this would be the right form for this work. A collection of felt leaves, connecting the trees with the earth, filling in the air in between. When we started the installation, I was amazed to see the leaves moving in the breezes, coming up from the harbour. I had no idea until that moment that there would be a kinetic aspect to the work. But it is perfect. The air movements change the relationship each leaf has with the sunlight, illuminating the surface patterns in new ways, with each viewing.


 My artist statement on the work sums up where my planning went within the space... 


As an environmental art sculpture, Respiration relates to air and light. The soft, wool felt forms stand in relationship with the strong vertical lines of the trees, grasses and plants within the garden.  The white felt leaves have delicate surface textures, telling a story of  movement; of air currents and rhythm. As the sun moves, the felt leaves are backlit and illuminated, showing their patterns with different intensities, casting shadows and being cast upon by shadows of the surrounding foliage. Air movements catch the leaves, changing their relationship with the light and the viewpoint of the observer.  Respiration is constructed in natural, untreated, white wool and bamboo, primarily from local sources.

Respiration: the act of breathing, the conversion of oxygen (air) into energy....we do it...the leaves do it...The leaves have an inbreath and outbreath, an empty side and a full side depending on the position of the sun. They catch the breath of the wind and move and change... 



 I've been making and installing one or two leaves everyday. This continues my relationship with the space. Everyday I visit, and change it a little...changing the space, and also adding to my vision of the sculptural work, as it grows.  The last pieces go up tomorrow and the exhibition opens on June 26th. 

If you re in the area, I hope you can join us for the opening!

LandArt @ ArtCraft
June 26 – September 20 2015


Mahon Hall114 Rainbow Rd, Salt Spring Island, BC

Opening w/ Artists on Site: June 26     5:30-7:00pm

Warm wishes, 
Fiona


Propagation: a SHIFT dress

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propagation1

 In the creation of Propagation, I build up layers of strata using my shadow felting techniques. This layering adds visual depth, emphasized by the dark line crevices. Cracks in our soil that allow for opportunity. Seed forms rise up above the surface, each with their own colour, pattern and potentiality. Repeating, but never the same. There is some awkwardness in the composition, echoing our own experience as we stretch into personal growth.

 Adding extra dimension to the dress was important to emphasize the potential of breaking through our own crusts and also the delicacy of balance required to inhabit this new and tenuous space. I took these pictures years ago...and held them, waiting for the right time...Propagation is the dress that brings to life the inspiration they provided.

propagation2

The single leaf carried by a tall, narrow stem... a floating island anchored to the forest floor.

islandlife5a

This is my drawing for this dress. It is not complicated...a simple sketch with some notes that outline my direction....This is how I start every piece I make. The gestalt is captured, so even if it takes a year or more to actually come to life, as this piece did, it is easy to slip back into the thought process and chose design elements that will build into the imagined whole.




  propagation4

The layers in this piece are built up slowly, like the composition and textures of soil... Soil, as formally defined in the Soil Science Society of America Glossary of Soil Science Terms, is:
  1. The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.
  2. The unconsolidated mineral or organic matter on the surface of the earth that has been subjected to and shows effects of genetic and environmental factors of: climate (including water and temperature effects), and macro- and microorganisms, conditioned by relief, acting on parent material over a period of time.
There are many, many layers in this piece....each one laid out with awareness of how it will be affected by the previous one, and also impact the next layers.


propagation6

propagation7

Propagation is a part of the SHIFT exhibition, a shared exhibition with my sculptural dresses and Barbra Edwards' striking abstract oil paintings. It was a shocking and delightful surprise to see these two pieces together for the first time at the gallery. We don't work off one another, but have similar palettes, and use of form and line. We often don't see one anothers new work, until we meet at the gallery for installation. These two pieces together just astound me.... Strong connections like the black lines, the red pods, the striated yellow at the bottom...the pebble like patterns in grey in the centre of Barbra's work and on my projected seeds....these were amazing revelations in connection....
ShiftExhibition

Barbra and I gave artists talks discussing the inspiration of our work, and the connections that exist between our work, for the opening of this exhibition at the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver. We only see one another 3-4 times a year, and it is always a pleasure- and deepening of resonant links...

 Propagation8

The shadow felting techniques I use in the construction of this piece, are some of those I will be teaching later this year in Australia:
 October 31-November 1 Shadow Felting
 Canberra Region Feltmakers, Australia (FULL)

November 7-8 Shadow Felting
 FeltWearAble, Melbourne, Australia

 November 13-15 Shadow Felting
 Bunbury Feltmakers, Western Australia (FULL)

These classes are mostly full, but there are spaces in the FeltWearAble class in Melbourne. This is a shorter, 1.5 day class, covering the techniques in an accessible timeframe. I appreciate having the opportunity to deepen these techniques through my own work, and also to share them in these classes. The workshops are always evolving and exciting for me to present!

Warm wishes,
Fiona

SHIFT Exhibition Catalogue

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Yesterday saw the close of the SHIFT exhibition in North Vancouver.  The physical show is all packed up and back in our studios today, but all of the work can now be viewed in an exhibition catalogue. The catalogue can be viewed online here, and also purchased as a print softcover book. Here's a preview....


With our catalogue project, we wanted to share some of the background and intention in each piece. A little insight into our own stories about each work. We also have letters from the curators of the two SHIFT exhibitions, Sarah Cavanaugh from the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver, and Richard Steel from the ArtCraft Artist Gallery here on Salt Spring.

Living on islands is a conscious choice both Barbra and I have made, and our chosen environments certainly have an impact on our work and our daily art practice. The catalogue also shares some of our thoughts as artists living and working in the Gulf Islands.

Barbra wrote some beautiful words on our collaboration on her website. I could not say it better....
http://www.barbraedwards.com/blog/collaboration

I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with Barbra. Her work is dynamic and bold, and the relationships between our pieces is extraordinary and profound. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in new forms, and to deepening our artistic relationship and friendship further.
An end and a beginning...

View online: SHIFT Online Catalogue
Purchase a copy: SHIFT Print Catalogue
I hope you enjoy viewing the catalogue!
Warm wishes,
Fiona
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Sea States

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ss9 

Recently, I heard blue water sailors discussing sea states. I was intrigued by the term and investigated the Beaufort scale. I love the idea of the sea having a recognized state of being. Water movements, air movements and waves in varying degrees of calm and violence. A beautiful and ancient metaphor for our psychological states, based our own continuously shifting conditions. 

 Katia Mokeyeva and I have a shared exhibition at Timeless Textiles in Newcastle, Australia in March 2016. In our conversations around this exhibition, Sea States presented it self as the perfect theme. We both live and create on the Pacific Ocean, but in very different coastal environments. Our collaborative felt collection will be exhibited on another part of the Pacific. A clear artistic narrative developed out of this geographic triangle; one that explores this common relationship with the sea, and its states of being. Sea states refer to the overall condition of a large body of water—with respect to wind, swell and current—at a particular moment and location. Each sea state offers a beautiful metaphor for our own personal, overall condition, and an excellent platform for exploration in surface design through feltmaking. It's a very exciting project. 

 And it has to start somewhere! For me the long process of building a new exhibition collection begins with this dress. A transition piece from the SHIFT exhibition 2015 to the Sea State exhibition 2016. 

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A long dark steely grey layout...itself like a great sea swell. The darkness is so atmospheric...like a wintery sea, under overcast skies.

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ss5Texture is absolutely key to this piece, so to add more dimension I shibori dyed some of the silk organza that would become the wave forms. 

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The beauty in creating work for exhibition is the opportunity to take time, and work with complex surfaces, in ways that are hard to justify with more everyday felt works. 

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Slowly and gradually, I built up the wave forms. Each one requires gentle and patient hand work to create the connections of the organza waves to the felt base. This slow time is perfect for thinking/sinking/diving deeply into the theme. What it means for this piece and where I might go with it in the next work.  




 The finished shift dress has many layers; transparencies through overlapping crests high above the surface. 

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Rachel is my most wonderful model. She is always calm and elegant, impossible to fluster. She keeps her internal sea state at about 1! 

What you don't often see in any of our photo shoots is what is happening on the edges. This photo shoot included a family picnic at the beach....and while Rachel settled into her demure sea state beautifully, there was a lot of action around her....Sea state here is a perfect metaphor for how we hold ourselves as parents...our internal composition while surrounded by blustery winds and strong currents! 

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The uncropped pictures. I just had to share these with you...this is real life! The ebb to the flow in the thoughtful, reflective felting time in the studio!

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The dress holds upright the dimensional scupltural forms. They wash over and around the dress like a great wave....And then, once underwater, the wave forms take on a whole new aquatic life...like waving bull kelp... 

 "Kelp’s survival depends on flexibility and extensibility. Each alga can grow up to 20 to 45 m (22 to 49 yd) long and consists of a holdfast, stipe, float, and fronds. The holdfast uses a flexible network of root-like haptera or anchors to attach the kelp to the ocean floor. By being flexible, the haptera allow the kelp’s base to rotate slightly, thus providing some protection from the high torque created by waves." (Biomimicry Guild Report) 

We all need this kind of anchor, and flexibility. 


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Now, whenever I look out at the water, I try and determine the current sea state. A new way of viewing a familiar environment. I would say this dress has a sea state of 3. There are much more wild conditions to come .....