Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Shetland Island Felting Retreat with Fiona Duthie and Fellow Felters - Sept 2022

I was all ready to go to Shetland in May 2020 and in late March 2020 we still thought it would happen.  Of course it was postponed due to the Covid pandemic and later rescheduled for September 2020.  That date came and went as did the next reschedule in September 2021.  At that point it looked like it was never going to happen and I was so disappointed.  But in early summer of 2022, Fiona Duthie was able to pull it off and rescheduled it for just a few months later, September 2022.  Although many of the felters in the original group could unfortunately not commit given the short window, I decided I was without a doubt going to go.  And my original roommate Pam also committed to go.  We decided to not only be housemates in Shetland but to spend a few days in Glasgow, Scotland before the workshop and then extend the trip afterwards to visit Edinburgh and the Scottish highlands.

Pam and I arrived at the Shetland Samburgh airport via LoganAir from Glasgow on 8/31/22 and we were met by Fiona and Graham who drove us about 45 minutes to to our Air B&B in Lerwig which turns out was the former home of Fiona's grandmother.  Fiona showed us a photo of her as in infant in her grandmother lap in that said home.  Our classroom was in Lerwig, which is the largest town in Shetland with a population of 7,500, about half of the population of the whole island.
The first full day we spent taking a chartered bus to various places on the island to get familiar with this magical, textile rich place.  We visited the super cool shop called Nielanell owned by Niela, a contemporary knitwear designer. We later learned about Fair Isle knitting from Elizabeth.  We visited the Shetland Textile Museum and later to an organic sheep farm where our host Ronnie Eunson talked to us about native Shetland Sheep.  We were able to get our hands into the fleeces that we would be using in our felting projects.  The landscape is gorgeous with stone walls, green as far as the eye can see, the gray North Sea, the winter, the smokey peet fires,  super friendly people, so many sheep, darling Shetland ponies, the delicious fresh seafood.  I took it all in and it would be the inspiration for the felted piece I would create in the 2 ½ days in the classroom.







Over the next several days (total of a week in Shetland), we visited many other sites including the Croft House Museum on the coast of Boddam; Jarlshof, the best known prehistoric archeological site in Shetland; the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse with its incredible views, St. Ninian's Isle, a large tombolo (a natural sand causeway with sea on either side) on the west coast of Shetland, linking the South Mainland with the Isle;  Eshaness, the western tip of the main island (called Mainland) which has some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Shetland and is in the opening credits of the Shetland series where Jimmy Perez is looking out.  

Shetland is truly remarkable and I am so glad to have this opportunity to not only felt with Fiona Duthie and the other amazing women but to have my senses piqued which is something we have missed these past few Zoom years. The scent of the peat fire in the Croft house was glorious.






My 3D felted piece was inspired by the undulating landscape, the peat bogs, the stone walls, the North Sea and of course the textiles. I incorporated the textiles of Shetland in my project which included fair isle knitting, tweed, lace, twine and Shetland wool in the form of fleece, roving and yarn. It also includes kozo paper and found objects from my walk on St. Ninian’s Isle including small stones and hard seaweed, the large piece of seaweed is reminisce of a Viking ship. How to get it home I had to flatten it and later reshape it and tack down the seaweed with Shetland yarn and rusty wire which was also an inspiration.


Shetland is truly remarkable and I am so glad to have this opportunity to not only felt with Fiona Duthie and the other amazing women but to have my senses piqued which is something we have missed these past few Zoom years. The scent of the peet fires and the incredible winds will stay in my bones forever.
Once home, I finished my Shetland felted project by shrinking it a bit more, forming it to my liking and attaching the seaweed that I found at the beach at St. Ninian's Isle with steel wire that should rust over time. It will grace my front door and be a constant reminder of my amazing experience in Shetland.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

FACE OF FIBER IN THE ROCKIES, JUNE 2022

 



Me and Deb Tewell at Rocky Mountain National Park

I met Deb Tewell in March 2022 at Felter's Rendezvous in Colorado Springs, CO.  She organizes this annual event (on hiatus since Covid) and hired me to teach a 4 day vest workshop.  Although there are a total of five instructors, she decided to take my class.  You can only imagine how nervous I was having the event organizer in my workshop.   But after an hour in, she asked if I could move to Colorado and I knew then that all was  well.2022 Felter's Rendevous.


  Deb and I really hit it off and earlier this year she came to Long Beach to take a one-on-one workshop at my studio. 

 
In 2021 Deb nominated me for the 9th annual invitational juried show called FACE of Fiber in the Rockies.  The annual international show is hosted and organized by the Fiber Arts Council of Estes (FACE) and presents a wide variety of fiber pieces.  


About a month or so before the opening reception for the six week FACE event, I spontaneously decided to attend.  I contacted Deb and asked if she wanted to join me.  She informed me that she was going to be a vendor at the Estes Park Wool Market which is always held at the same time as the reception for the FACE show.  I said I would help her with her booth.  Talk about serendipitous synchronicity - win/win! It is terrific helping Deb in her booth and styling customers with her felted garments.  And Deb, who was formerly a naturalist, showed me around Rocky Mountain National Park on our spare day.  

 
I felt so fortunate to not only have my three felted garments juried in to the show but to have two of them win awards!  The purple pull over vest won the EXCELLENCE award and the white dress won the Surface Design Association Award.  All three pieces are for sale at the show. 



This pull over vest called "Grape Vine" won the EXCELLENCE award.  I was thrilled beyond belief when I was the first name called and for such a prestigious award.  Thank you FACE of Fiber.



This vest is called "About Face" and was created with merino wool roving and my hand painted silks.






The dress called "Spattered Ink on Words" won the Surface Design Association Award.  The criteria for this award is creativity, originality innovation and excellence of surface design and technique.  I feel so honored to have won this award.  I created this dress with super fine merino wool, viscose, hand dyed silks and other silks.  Once it was felted I embellished it with sumi ink.  It is so comfortable and wearable.




FACE committee members Pauline Bustamante (far left) and Lis Lord (far right) and me and Deb Tewell in the middle.






I was shocked and thrilled to have my name called a second time and to win the Surface Design award.  Here's judge Margaret Tullis and beaming me.

Deb Tewell gifted me this darling felted beret that she created.  I love it with my outfit.


I wanted to take this little girl Ivy home with me, a darling nubian goat.




Monday, October 11, 2021

Felt Inspired by my adventure in Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice



Diverse and beautiful, Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, as well as some of the world's most active volcanoes. The Icelandic landscape is characterized by a huge number of waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and steaming lava fields, reminiscent of an almost alien landscape. 

This magical, otherworldly landscape inspired me to create felted garments.  This short slideshow reflects some of the landscape along with my interpretation.




Iceland was the perfect place for this southern California gal to wear her felted garments and accessories.  I was actually surprised to not see much felt there but the hand knit sweaters are gorgeous and I treated myself to one.   











Wool Road in South Iceland


Pingborg Knit Shop in Flóahreppur⁩, ⁨South Iceland⁩, ⁨Iceland⁩




The sweater I bought at Pingborg.



For a more in depth look into our two week adventure around Iceland via the ring road, take a look at my 12 minute slideshow HERE.  

We booked the trip through Nordic Visitor, which I would highly recommend.  They took car of everything from the car rental which was equipped with invaluable Wifi, our lodging with breakfast, and the extras which for us included horseback riding, helicopter tour, Blue Lagoon, Baths at Vok and whale watching in Husavik which was unfortunately cancelled due to weather. I thought the Blue Lagoon would be too commercial and overrated but it was fantastic.  Do not miss it if you plan a trip to Iceland.