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Felting Workshop Recap

Not to sound to repetitive, but due to a non-working hard drive, the one that had all my images, here is finally, finally a recap of the Felting Workshop from Loyalist college in Belleville July 12 – 15, 2012.

I had a wonderful time and the pleasure of a super-nice group of students to work with. Preparing a workshop is a lot of work, as I like to structure my workshops very tightly, through a detailed agenda and planned projects, yet also have the opportunity to adapt the materials to my students needs and skills. This was an intense 4 days with many basic felting techniques covered. 

The main learning outcome I hoped to teach my students was that they would have the confidence to pick up any wet-felting project they would like to attempt after the workshop and have enough basic felting knowledge to try it. 

I brought my extensive library of felting books to the class. The students where encouraged to sign-out the books over night and find inspirational ideas that they would like to work on for day 4.

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After 3 hours of setting up the class room, I was exhausted, and so excited about the following four days of teaching. When teaching in a space away from my own studio, I often don't know exactly what set-up will await me, and there is quite a bit of improvisation in making it all work. It is exciting, as I love the challenge.

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Details of my felted work samples that welcomed my students on day 1. Having taken many different workshops myself, I find it always helpful to have sample to show at the beginning of a workshop with what will be created. Although it can be fun to have a few small projects where the students simply follow the instructions step by step, and only see the outcome at the end. Though that is hard on many students – they need to know what they are making so that they understand the instructions. (not a surprise, considering that creative handwork skills workshops are generally taken by people that are visual). 

 

For each project we worked on in class the students got to choose a specific amount of fibre in the colours they loved. We worked with 16, 18, 21 and 24 micron merino wool, as well as mountain sheep wool which has a micron of about 28.

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Our intense agenda incorporated my demonstrations of various techniques, followed by work periods for the students. One student used her video camera to tape my demos and reviewed them during the work period when she got stuck on how to proceed next. Much of felting is about sequences of different steps and taking notes is paramount in remembering what to do next.

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The finished rose of one student. The roses were made with mainly 18 micron merino, and a bit of 16 micron. 
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Various student works in different stages of finishing at the end of day 4. The first project had been to make a square of felt and then manipulate the felt into another object. One student made the jacket for her doll (she is an amazing doll maker, that took the workshop in the hope to learn skills to create embelishments for her creations), there was also a beautiful flower and a pouch. One of my quilter students wanted to use here square in a wall piece she was inspired to make from the felt.

Everyone made roses in a special resist dying technique and free-form flowers from prefelt.  

For the major day 4 project, two people made slipers, one a vessel, some made bags. Most projects got finished in class, but some had to be finished later at home. 

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It makes my teachers heart so happy to see the collection of work created by all my busy-hard-working students.

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My lovely students. Thank you all again for giving me a chance to show you what is possible with wool, soap, water and elbow grease. I also appreciated all your feed-back for future classes.

Here are some of the comments from my students in reply to what they enjoyed about the class:

"Learning felting basics and going home with real projects which I have conficence to make again."

"The creativity of Monika"

"It was very educational and would have enjoyed it more if it had been cooler" (note: there was no air conditioning at the school on Saturday and Sunday).

"Great instruction, lots of hands-on learning, great student interaction"

"Everything! The instructor is knowledgeable, talented, teaches well and kind and patient. Exploring felt with no hard rules."

 

If this makes you wish you had been there, I currently have time available to teach some felting workshops this fall. Please drop me a note with your e-mail address and I will send you the details.

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