‘Contemporary Dancer’ – Felt workshop attended by Doris Reinisch, winner of Feltmakers Ireland’s bursary 2021 – report by Doris Reinisch

First of all, I would like to thank the Feltmakers Ireland for the generous Prize of 200 Euros that I have won in a prize draw after renewing my membership for 2021.
The prize money was contributing towards a felting workshop of my choice throughout the year 2021.

At the beginning of October 2021, I participated in a six week long virtual online 3D felting workshop called ‘Contemporary Dancer’ by Molly Williams.
The weekly course material was accessible via an online platform ‘ruzuku.com’.
Each weekly module was accessible with video instructions and the group of participants also had a Zoom meeting with Molly. We were able to discuss our projects, tips and tricks, and how to overcome difficulties throughout the different stages of completing the contemporary dancer sculpture.
The course was directed towards advanced skilled felters and the instructions were very clear and easy to follow.
It began with looking at the human form and drawing of the body in different shapes and movements. As we progressed towards selecting the movement and shape of the contemporary dancer, we were working with a sketch book to generate ideas.

After deciding on the dancer position, we created the skeleton (50cm tall) of the body form with a strong wire. When the skeleton was ready, we added a tissue layer by covering the wire with a light wooly material strips as a felting starting point. We applied layers of felt wool to build up tissue and muscle of the body form.
This technique was an interesting experience for me, as we were applying the wool in a similar way as to working with clay. As soon as we were happy with the shape we created the skin by preparing a colourful and textured strong pre-felt. The skin was applied to the body where my sewing skills came in very useful.

The next step was to wet-felt the whole dancer more intensely until the skin was felted on to the felted layer below. It was important to achieve a more solid final shape. After a few days, the felt sculpture was dry enough and the head was decorated with my prepared felted piece.
Finally, my contemporary dancer sculpture was ready to be attached to my wooden platform for display.

I had a lot of fun creating the sculpture, even if there were a good few challenges to master.
The workshop in general was well set up and the host was very helpful and supportive.
It was a great opportunity for learning and exchanging my felting experience with other experienced felters from abroad during the workshop in the zoom meetings and through online chatting on the course platform.
Participating in this workshop opened up a new perspective on using the felt technique for 3D sculpting, and it was new experience for me to participate at a felt workshop online.
Not just the outcome of my final sculpture, but also the journey involved was very enjoyable.
I thought I’d share a little insight about my participation at the contemporary dancer workshop with you.
If you have any questions I am here for you and you can contact me by email: dorisreinisch@yahoo.com.
Many thanks to you all.
Best regards,

Feltmakers Ireland would like to thank Doris for her lovely report and gratulate her for a brilliant result from the course.

We will raffle another bursary in the next month or two, so make sure to renew your membership in time to be in with a chance!