I took the opportunity to off-load the kids on Nanny and Poppa and drive to Peninsula, Ohio for two days of felting with felt couture artist, Horst. Horst produces colourful and distinctive felt garments that have won him international acclaim. You can see his work on his website. I was most interested in learning about his processes. He is well-known for using a finishing sander to speed the felting process. I also wanted to learn about how he designs his templates and how he uses acid dyes to achieve such incredible variegated colours. I signed up for two workshops – the felted bag and the felted vest.
After sitting in line at the border for two hours, I finally made it to my hotel in Hudson, Ohio, nestled in between Cleveland and Akron. The upside of the location was its close proximity to lots of shopping. I spent Sunday evening perusing some of my favourite American retailers… Loft, Kohl’s, Justice…
Day 1 was learning how to felt a Horst-style bag. He is known for his flame and petal embellishments that adorn the exterior of the bags.
Because the facility we were working at didn’t have a washer and dryer, we had to bring our pieces home to finish them off in our own washer and dryer. My finished bag is a bit bigger than I would ideally like. I think it’s because I have a front-loader without an agitator. I’m going to try putting it through the process once more with some cut-up sections of pool noodle so that the bag has something to agitate against. I haven’t photographed it yet as it is still a work in progress, but I promise to post a photo as soon as I get it where I want it to be.
Day 2 was the felted vest. I was particularly interested in this workshop as I have never used a template to create a garment and it is a method I want to develop.
The real work involved in felting a fitted garment is in the measuring and development of the template. Horst shared some of his tried and true methods and I’m looking forward to applying them to the templates I create. I think I might experiment with some kid-size vests to begin with until I have the method down.
My vest design layed out smoothly. Again, I chose to keep it simple and not embellish with flames or petals, just a simple flat-tie closure. I decided to be a bit more brave with dye colour on day two and chose “Deep Orchid” I was really pleased with the lovely violets and fushias it produced.
Again, I had to bring the vest home to finish in the washer and dryer. This time I was quite pleased with the final result. It shrunk the anticipated amount and fits perfectly. It is definitely something I will wear!