Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What happened to September? Part One

I feel like I can finally take a breath now that I am finished with both shows and teaching my class. I learned something about myself as I was trying to get ready to teach. I had two weeks to devote to doing the things that were necessary in order to be prepared such as; editing my booklet, cutting pieces of plastic for rolling in, going over my notes, etc.. I could have done everything I needed to do in just one week but since I had two weeks I felt I had to do more. In fact I realized that I felt guilty every time I was doing something else unless it was a 'have to do'. I don't think it is possible to be over-prepared but I do learn to balance things better.
So what did happen to September? 

Preparing and manning a booth twice (a lot of work!) but also very satisfying, especially to see and hear people reacting to my work.

To get ready to teach at New England Felting Supply I wanted to learn more about the color pallet the students would be working with since my own collection from NEFS has changed through the years. So I made this.

I spent hours making it and could have been even more obsessive with getting the colors where they should be in the color wheel. That is the kind of thing where I can 'waste' so much time being exacting when 'good enough' would serve the purpose. I am glad to have the wheel though and the named bits of wool for my own reference so it will have use beyond the class.

I also wanted to make a landscape using just these colors and the locks etc. that would be available to the students. That way I would know what could be done with that pallet since I am used to having my own specially dyed wool to use as well. Here is the lay out.

It was also helpful to do this because it has been a long time since I have done a felted landscape this way. It also reminded me of what I enjoy about this process. And I learned some things from teaching the class so I was inspired to do some needling last night on the wet felted piece.

I also did quite a bit of editing on a companion booklet that I made for this class. Because there is so much information to remember even I find it helpful to have the tips written out.

I have to admit that I did give myself sometime in the evenings to do some fun felt. I have wanted to experiment with using black as a ground for a painting. I think Rembrandt used a black ground to help achieve the chiaroscuro effect in some of his paintings. I first wanted to see how the black would effect the colors as the fibers blended. I was doing this just on impulse laying down the black base and then just grabbing some color. It turned into an evening on the ocean scene that I could probably improve with some needling but I don't like it enough to spend the time on it. I did however learn what I wanted from the experiment. 

Most of my 'free' time was spent making more of my silly heads though. I am loving having a face develop as  I sculpt the felt and the fact that I can complete one in an evening is a bonus to a person who feels guilty having so many unfinished projects.
Here are the newest members of the gang.

The last guy was inspired by Halloween.

I was going to write about my class in this post but it has gotten too long and I can only stand to be sitting at this machine for so long so I will continue my September story later.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Felt in Nature Retreat

I have been busy with so many different events that I have only just now gotten a chance to try to describe the retreat that I was able to participate in. It was an honor to be part of this event. The event was wonderfully organized by Sharon Costello. It was held at the Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, NY. Here is the description from one of the brochures we had at the exhibit at the end of the week.  "In 2010, ten distinguished [Me distinguished??] fiber artists, working in felt, spent a week in residence at the Preserve exploring felt in nature."  I still can't believe that I was part of this group. And what a group it was,Joei Bassett, Sharon CostelloMarianne Dubois, Carol Ingram, Sharon Janda, Renate Maile-Moskowitz, Lynn Ocone,  Kris Sandoy, and Linda Van Alstyne. They are all so talented, kind, sharing, funny, and energetic. I was in awe and I am so thankful to have been able to get to know these women and their work so much better. This one week has had a profound effect on me. I feel like I have grown through this experience not only as a felter and an artist, but also personally.
This was my first beautiful view on arrival at the preserve.

I loved working on my felt out on the porch on the left.

The first thing we did was to decide which space we would work in in this building, which is the research lab on Lincoln Pond. Although it is uncharacteristic for me to say what I really want I stated right off that I wanted to work in front of this window, though the first order of business was to wash it.

Next we chose where we would sleep. And again I said what I wanted. I am not sure what came over me that day. I just loved this little old horse stall turned cabin, and I had my favorite roommate Joei to keep me company, along with the bugs and whatever critter was running around up in the attic. It was almost as good as camping!

We had two presentations by prominent mycologists, and we did some dyeing with mushrooms. Here is Susan Van Hook who ran the dye workshop talking about insulation made with fungi.

We took a guided walk by the pond with the director of the preserve, Chad Jemison.
We were not able to go all the way around the pond due to a bit of reconstruction by the resident beavers.

But most of the week was spent exploring the preserve, felting, or talking about felt and art and life.  Although there was also a lot of sharing of laughing, great food, and a little wine. ;) Here are a few photos of some of the artists working.

I was amazed at the amount of wool the other women brought, with the exception of Where's the Wool Joei with her single bin!
Carol's wool spilled out into the corridor.

I didn't bring that much wool but I really made a mess of my space when I was felting.

Here is what I was working on. A bunch of small pieces tied together, somewhat inspired by the nature centers collection of natural objects and my own habit of picking up feathers, leaves, stones, etc. when I am outside.

Here is a close-up of  my tree bark.

At the end of the week we had an exhibit at the visitor's center.

Many of us did small pieces inspired by the various shapes and textures seen on our walks.

But the large banners really made an impact.

Sharon Janda

Kristy Sandoy

Sharon Costello

Carol Ingram

Lynn Ocone

We also had an interactive installation about a destructive invasive species; man. Visitors were able to felt their own hand shapes onto a tree.

And although we had beautiful weather the entire week, the day of the exhibit brought just enough rain to give us a rainbow.
After the show was hung we had sometime to do more felting.
Sharon Janda made this hat. I learned quite a bit watching her work.

And I made this silly bird house man.

I stuck burdocks on for eyes but they will be replaced with eyes that look more like his lady friend which I made yesterday.

Here they are hanging out together, what a cute couple, maybe they will have kids some day.

This post does not come close to being able to describe all the wonderful things that came my way through being able to attend this retreat. I am very fortunate, and thankful for being able to share it with all these women.