SAMPLES

A Creative enquiry into the potential of felt

The power of the humble sample is often underestimated, and in this workshop you will come to (re)appreciate the role sampling has to play in your artistic work. Not only can samples help avoid costly and painful mistakes in the long run, they can also help to get through creative blocks, and can even become art works in their own right.

 

During four days, students will make a series of small 2-D samples (approximately 15 x 15cm) that will explore their personal interest and line of inquiry  unique to them.  Whether you are a felt maker preparing for a specific project or body of work, or you would simply like to explore textures, colours or techniques through guided experimental play, this workshop aims to help you get started on what may well become a lifelong addiction.

 

The contents of this workshop are flexible and will be tailored to you. It is important to note that this workshop is process driven, rather than outcome driven.  You will be asked to bring existing inspiration, sketches, objects  and/or photograph to start you off on your journey of explorations, but to also bring an open mind and experimental attitude. The underlying aim of this workshops is to give you the permission, space and guidance to be playful and curious. So often, in our adult or artist lives, we become overly focussed on end-products, scared of making “mistakes”, and we lose sight of the joy, freedom and inspiration in just starting somewhere and seeing where it will lead.  

Learning is supported through practical demonstrations and illustrated explanations. Depending on the student’s felt making experience and their chosen line of enquiry, students will go home with a minimum of 10 samples that can form the starting point for a new body of work, or simply serve as an invitation for further experimentation.


 

EXPERIENCE LEVEL/SUITABLE FOR:

Practising early-to mid-career textile/fibre artists interested in expanding their fibre-based horizons and exploring ways in which felt could become part of their artistic vocabulary and creative practice. 

and/or

Beginner or intermediate felt makers wishing to deepen their understanding of the medium, and to further their understanding of sampling in their work. 

By the end of the course you will have/be able to :

  • identify the difference between poorly and well made felt

  • made a series of 2-D samples in felt, exploring a variety of techniques

  • gained a greater knowledge of texture, colour use and techniques of felt making 

  • made links between the possibilities of felt-making and your own textile practice

  • approach different felt making techniques with confidence

  • demonstrated the ability to evaluate, integrate, and apply newly acquired techniques and medium to your own textile arts practice

  • learnt how to use sampling as a method to break through artistic ‘blocks’

  • demonstrated the ability to reflect on your personal artistic journey through talking & presenting your work to a peer group

 

INSPIRED BY NATURE

Experimental surfaces, textures & forms

The aim of this workshop is not to create a perfect replica of a natural object, but rather to use nature as a starting point from which to explore surface design and sculptural forms. Through a series of experimental samples and a personal project of your choice, a wide range of approaches and techniques will be explored, which can form the basis for further exploration at home.

 

Exercises in techniques and construction methods (which may include stitch & distortion, contrasting thicknesses, textural finishes, pre-felts, felts, 2- or 3-dimensional resists, and more) will be offered, and students are encouraged to come with an open attitude and a sense of play. There are no mistakes, just opportunities to learn!

 

The first part of the course focuses on the creation of a series of samples. As the course progresses, you will be encouraged to develop your own project with the tutor’s guidance, and to start translating your observations of nature into felt. The workshop will culminate in a final piece(s) of work which can be figurative or abstract, and 2- or 3-dimensional. As well as making felt, you may be asked to keep a small sketchbook, take photos and collect small natural objects on site to aid your design process and develop your ideas. 

 

Learning is supported through practical demonstrations, one-to-one consultations & practical help, and illustrated explanations.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

Ideally suited to those with basic felt making experience who would like to take their artistic work a step further.

 

COLOUR PLAY

If you are unsure of the way colours interact with each other, lack confidence in how to achieve subtle colour blends in your felt, or simply would like to understand better how colour can be used in your felt designs, then this workshop is for you. 

 

Over two days, a series of pre-felts and small, flat samples will be created to explore some basic colour theory, ways to build up colour through the layers, how to make colours  ‘sing' or how to tone them down, how to achieve seamless colour blending, and how to use pre-felts for additional colour contrast and interest.  

 

Learning is supported through practical demonstrations, handouts and illustrated explanations.

 

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

Suitable for beginner and intermediate felt makers.

 

FACES OF EXTINCTION

Today wildlife accounts for only 3 percent of earth’s land animals; human beings, our livestock, and our pets take up the remaining 97 percent of the biomass. This is due both to the explosion of industrial agriculture and to a hollowing out of wildlife itself, which has decreased in abundance by as much as 50 percent since 1970. This cull is from both direct hunting and global-scale habitat destruction: almost half of the earth’s land has been converted to farmland (Source: Peter Brannen, The Ends of the World)

Faces of Extinction is an international community art project & on-line exhibition that aims to draw attention to the impact of human activity on eco systems and habitats, the huge challenges to wildlife across the world, and of imminent natural network collapse. Faces of Extinction occupies a dedicated Instagram site and Facebook page.

The masks resulting from this master class will contribute to on-line exhibition Faces of Extinction. Animals for the masks are chosen from the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species

Please note: participants are asked to commit to being available for an extra 1/2 day in addition to the 5 day master class, in order to take part in the photography session.

PRACTICAL LEARNING

During this 5 day technical master class, you will learn how to calculate, design and create a base resist template which will become the starting point for the animal mask.

Mask making requires a combined approach of thorough planning, intuitive felt making and wool sculpting. More than just a face cover, these masks will cover the head completely and are sculptures in their own right. You will learn how to achieve facial symmetry, experiment with different types of protrusions and colour, build up features and markings, create plumage/fur/hair, how to felt all the 3-dimensional parts together and how to sculpt and shape the felt. 

You will be guided through the techniques step by step. Learning is supported through practical demonstrations, one-to-one consultations and practical help, hand outs and illustrated explanations. 

Mask making is physically demanding and long process, so please come ready for hard work, and bring plenty of ideas and large inspirational photographs and sketches. You will have an opportunity to discuss these with the tutor during the workshop. Given the time consuming nature of felt making, the available time restraints and your personal level of experience, you may be asked to simplify the design in order for you to finish your mask. 

PLEASE NOTE: 

  • You will be required to make a small felt sample prior to the workshop. 

  • You will be required to prepare, print, and bring a "letter board" style sign, that you will hold in the photo (full instructions will be supplied on booking)

  • You will be asked to bring a plain white/grey t-shirt or vest for the photoshoot

  • This master class will be taught in English. Some written handouts will be supplied. 

 

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

Mask making in felt is a complicated, demanding and physical process and requires stamina and determination. In order to complete the masks in this master class, daily targets will be set and the pace will be demanding. For this reason, regrettably, this master class is NOT suitable for beginners or those suffering from back or hand/arm injuries or other health issues that prevent you from standing/felting for long periods of time.

There will be no time to go over any basics during this master class and you should have a thorough practical understanding of wet felting in general, and making 3-dimensional wet felt around a resist in particular. 

Furthermore, you will have a willingness and ability to work ADDITIONAL UNTUTORED HOURS, if necessary, to achieve the daily targets set. 

An aptitude for sculptural form will be helpful, though not a requirement, as the tutor will be on hand to guide.

 

HUMAN MASKS

Creating a human mask in felt presents many challenges. Unlike an animal mask, there are no feathers, horns, fur or distinct colour patterns to hide behind, and the features to be sculpted are much finer. In addition, the human face and its many expressions are instantly recognisable  to us and as such we, the makers, have a very different relationship with it, which can present extra challenges during the sculpting process.

 

During this 5 day in-depth and technical master class, you will learn how to calculate, design and create a base resist template which will become the starting point for your mask. Creative expression within the design of each mask is actively encouraged: You are free to incorporate abstract, fantastical and/or textural  elements into your design if desired, and are encouraged to consider a variety of felting techniques and surface decorations. 

Mask making requires a combined approach of thorough planning, intuitive felt making and wool sculpting. More than just a face cover, these masks will cover the head completely and are sculptures in their own right. You will learn how to achieve facial symmetry, experiment with different types of protrusions and colour, build facial features, create hair, how to felt all the 3-dimensional parts together and how to sculpt, shape and finish the felt. 

You will be guided through the techniques step by step. Learning is supported through practical demonstrations, one-to-one consultations and practical help, handouts and illustrated explanations. 

Mask making is physically demanding and long process, so please come ready for hard work, and bring plenty of ideas and large inspirational photographs and sketches. You will have an opportunity to discuss these with the tutor during the workshop. Given the time consuming nature of felt making, the available time restraints and your personal level of experience, you may be asked to simplify the design in order for you to finish your mask. 

PLEASE NOTE: You will be required to make a small felt sample prior to the workshop. 

 

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

Mask making in felt is a complicated, demanding and physical process and requires stamina and determination. In order to complete the masks in this master class, daily tasks will be set and the pace will be demanding. For this reason, regrettably, this master class is NOT suitable for beginners or those with back or hand/arm injuries or other health issues that prevent them from standing/felting for long periods of time. 

 

There will be no time to go over any basics during this master class and applicants should have a thorough practical understanding of wet felting in general, and making 3-dimensional wet felt around a resist in particular. Furthermore, applicant will have a willingness and ability to work additional untutored hours, if necessary, to achieve the daily targets set. An aptitude for sculptural form will be helpful, though not a requirement, as the tutor will be on hand to guide.