Saturday, March 7, 2009

Felted Rug Workshop with Liz Odd

Yesterday I went to my workshop, taught by the very skillful Liz Odd. Liz has a depth of felting knowledge that would be hard to beat. As well as her skill, she has amazing design sense. Her work is very well known and she is a wonderful person to be around.

These two smaller works were done after the workshop, as I will still inspired. I have had this Ned Kelly inspired idea in my head for a long time and just needed the right time to get it out. They need a lot of work with stitching and embellishing, but hey.....most they are half made, so that is good!

This is the rug which I made!! I had so many different ideas and designs set for the day. And then I go and do something which was totally different. I went freeform and very organic. It was interesting working on such a large piece, the biggest I have ever tackled. I think you need to be at a workshop or retreat to attempt something like need the motivation and extra hands....I would struggle to do this at home, by myself....I would loose momentum!

A couple of important things Liz taught us, was that when you have a design, always roll with the design facing downwards. A very practical idea, as when we roll our work up, you sometimes get creases, but with the design facing downwards, any creases will be on the back, not the front of your work.
Liz dry rolls her felt a lot before wet felting, like I do. This helps to stabilize the attached pieces and gives them a chance to adhere. Some of the ladies kept asking me how many times to roll? Well I don't count, I just roll. You get a feel for how long you have been rolling and as long as you roll the same amount in at least 2 directions, it doesn't really matter. When working on such large pieces, you really only need to roll in 2 directions, if you can do all 4 great, but sometimes size and space is restricting.
We also only rolled in plastic sheeting yesterday. I am not a huge fan of this, I still like a matt of some kind. I will not roll in my usual material (non slip matting) as it grabs too much and the base matt colour comes through too much. This again is experience and knowing what is appropriate for your project. For example, when I do any of my 3D pieces, I will use the non slip matt. If I am rolling prefelts, I dry roll in a yoga matt, then move onto non slip to wet roll for a bit. When I don't want the background colour to bleed through too much, I will roll in a bamboo blind, but have it lined with thin plastic sheeting. It's all experience and practice!
Some of the girls yesterday were big needle felters (not my thing), but they quickly needled their designs onto their bases, which helped them adhere quickly.......but the needle felting took forever!!!! Often I see the girls use those red hand sanding holders (with carpet protector attached underneath) and have never thought much of them.......until I used one yesterday. Well did I change my mind on that matter. BRILLIANT! Went straight to Bunnings and for less than $10 I was set up. I am converted...thank you ladies!
As you can gather, I had a great time and loved sharing the day with a beautiful bunch of girls. Days like these are just what the sole needs and now I am inspired to do some bigger and more amazing pieces!!!

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