Ohio Workshop with Horst

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.

some of Horst’s bags lined up as examples

My bag freshly flipped and ready for side 2.

My pre-felt purse going into the dye pot…

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.

Some of Horst’s garments on display in the gallery.

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.

Host helps out.

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!

My finished vest!






Great News

     I just received great news.  I am a semi-finalist in the Designer Style Challenge, a competiton running in conjunction with the Creativefest.  I entered one of my Scarflettes, “Azalea,” in the fiber arts category.  Now my work will be displayed and promoted during the event and I have a chance of winning my category!  Yeah me!

Azalea Scarflette

Sushi Roll Jewellery Components


I’m experimenting with a new technique today.  Back in my polymer clay days, I remember trying my hand at making milliflorie canes.  Well, why not apply the technique to wool and create a felt cane?

I chose some vibrant colours and then divided my roving into a pile of skinny ropes.

My “sushi roll” before wetting and rolling – although I dry-rolled it quite a bit to get the process started.

After wetting it down, I used a bamboo mat to roll, and roll, and roll, and roll, and roll… I needed a really well felted cane so that it would slice nicely.  The bamboo mat really helped with this project.  I think that plain bubble wrap would take forever!

I’m pleased with the slices, although, if truth be told, they could be felted even a little bit more.  Next time I think I’ll make my bands of roving a bit thicker so there is a little more definition between colours.  I also ended up with a really long cane so I can definitely be a little more conservative with the length when I lay the next one out. 

Now I just have to decide how the slices will be used.  Stung into a necklace?  A bracelet?  I might glueing two onto earring backs.  I’ll post some pictures of where they end up when they get there.

A Great Class at BeadFX and My First Foray into Felted Garments

I taught a great Felted Necklace class at BeadFX last Friday night. Shameen, Nancy, Jean and Stephanie joined me for some felting fun and created some lovely choker-style necklaces.  It was the first time I taught this class and found that 3-hours was a bit tight.  I was able to demonstrate a little beading for embellishment, but the ladies left with their pieces unfinished to embellish later.  I took a few pictures of the necklaces in progress – they’re a little fuzzy as I only had my camera phone with me.

I loved the colour choices on Stephanie’s necklace and the wooly swirls reminded me of Venetian paper.

Jean’s Necklace in process.

Nancy’s monochromatic necklace stands out without any embellishement.

I look forward to teaching more at BeadFX.  I’ll have to try out a few more felted jewellery projects and put another proposal together.

The kids have been in full day camp all week and I’ve been feeling creative and inspired.  I’ve been meaning for ages to try my hand at some felted garments.  It scares me a little as it is such a big time and supplies commitment.  I decided to try out something relatively easy for my first go – a flat vest – that way I could use pre-felt laid in one piece and concentrate on design and shape more than laying out fibres. 

I had to lay out the piece on the floor as I didn’t have table space large enough.

I used some printed silk chiffon from a thrift shop scarf to create the main motif and then fleshed it out with some pink and purple merino and glossy purple bamboo fibre. 

The finished product

The rolling and up and down off the floor nearly killed me so I’ll have to work out an elevated work surface if I’m going to do more of this – and I suspect I will as I was quite pleased with the finished product.  It isn’t quite as drapey as I would like, but I think that’s because of the pre-felt I used.  I also cut the arm holes a little close together, but I took note of the measurements I used and will rectify that next time.  It’s still very wearable I think.  I love the way the silk melded together with the wool appearing as though the design is in the wool itself.

The back.

Purple bamboo fibre creates a lovely sheen.

Back detail.

All in all I was quite pleased with this vest and will definately move forward into the world of felted garments.  I am looking forward to doing a couple of workshops with Thomas Horst in a couple of weeks time.  He is an amazing felt designer who specializes in bags and garments.  I can’t wait to learn his technique.  I’m especially keen to learn his technique of felting with a hand sander – eliminating the need to roll.  My poor back can’t wait!