has a fridge magnet inscribed with Einstein's wonderful quote 'In the midst of
difficulty lies opportunity'. I've been thinking about that a great deal. My
studio move has been put on hold (for a few days) as the management company
deals with last minute permit wrangling.
As my business is currently in boxes (I
moved out of my old studio last week and will post about my new studio space
next week) I am bereft of work. I have discovered I do not like this, that it
is very distracting. I fill my days with what I regard as my non-productive
activities, trying not to get frustrated. I have done the ironing, gone to the
cinema, stayed up late, got up late but despite my best efforts feel only agitated
as a result. I've also been looking back over some recent work, images of which are posted throughout this blog, modeled by Rachel Worrall.
have not forgotten my Einstein, the bits I can understand anyway! Not working
physically has given me a chance to do some thinking about my work going
forward. It's time to talk about inspiration.
a thrown together list of felt artists to whom I look for inspiration -
Ricarda A�mann - Ricarda has wonderful photos of her resist dyeing
work and is incredibly experimental and prolific.
Elina Saari - Elina uses mostly pre-felt,
she does not use a great deal of roving and she does some sewing. Her work is
Thomas Horst - Thomas used (he is no longer felting) all wool in
his amazing work, and very thin wool at that. He uses the washing machine
method of felting. His practice was to begin with white wool and to dye
everything when the piece or pieces were completed.
the top of my head, other fiber artists -
Nick Cave - I love his whacky and
Andrea Graham is a fiber artist who I much
Sheila Hicks has just had a retrospective at
the Institute of Contemporary Arts,
general I love the whimsical and avant-garde - Carol Eckert, Alexander McQueen, Philip
Treacy. I am
also deeply inspired by nature, for example, when I look through Seeds: Time Capsules of Life by Rob Kessler and Wolfgang
Stuppy, all I see is felt. In terms of color, my go-to is Van Gogh.
great inspiration closer to home, Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown have just
published a wonderful felting e-book - called simply Felting E-book. The book is available for download on Blurb
and if you wish for patterns the authors will supply you with them via email.
authors met through the cyber-sphere via their own (independent) blogs,
Chrissie being British and Nicola, American. The book is organized into two
parts with each author taking one half to outline their work and methods.
always interesting to see different approaches to felting, (there really do
seem to be as many ways to felt as there are felters) the book is filled with
beautiful photos that filled my mind with wonderful ideas.
Chrissie's first projects - felting a lattice (ponge or china silk) shawl - would
be fabulous for someone setting out. And one of the great things about Nicola's
section is that she uses and explains how to use a sander as well as the
washing machine method of creating felt. And she does so unapologetically,
describing the use of these tools so you can add them to your felting kit to
help solve a problem or create a sought-after effect rather than avoiding the
mention of them as if they were underhand methods to apologize for ;-)!
of practical points about the book - the suppliers' list at the back is one of
the best I've seen. Despite what I've said about Chrissie's shawl, I would
argue that the book is more suitable for advanced felting practitioners. Also,
as both artists make use of the sewing machine you will require some knowledge
in that area.
note - I'm teaching at Massachusetts College of Art
& Design on June
16 & 17th - Sculptural Forms in Felt. I'm sure my students, as they
always do, will inspire me also! See you there!