Interview with Anna Gunnarsdottir

Anna Gunnarsdottir is a textile artist from Iceland with many many years’ experience in felt making. Felt makers Ireland will be hosting a 3 day workshop in Early October 2019. The focus will be on large sculptural felt. The application form for this workshop is below. We anticipate that this will be a very popular workshop. Members will be given preference and in the event of over subscription a draw will be made. 12 places are available.

Ahead of travelling to Ireland we asked Anna a few questions about herself and her work.

Tell us a little about you as a person? e.g. upbringing/ where you work etc.

My name is Anna Gunnarsdottir. I am a Textile Artist residing in Akureyri, Iceland. I studied Textile Design in my home town, Akureyri. I then went on to study leather work and sculptural felt making in Denmark for one year. I have worked with my art for more than 35 years. Now I run my own workshops and a gallery in Akureyri.

My work has been exhibited in various countries such as Australia, USA,

Germany, UK, Sweden and France.  I’m lucky to have won International awards in Los Angeles USA and South Korea.

I now teach felt making and am lucky to be able to travel to many countries like USA, UK, Australia and Germany.

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation? 

I focus on traditional felt making technique; however I try to combine it with a contemporary and fresh approach. My signature style of felting has a strong sense of Scandinavian and minimal art.

My work is inspired by Icelandic nature which is absolutely unique. Based on the idea of light and shadow I create large sculptures and 3D wall pieces for both indoor and outdoor use.

All my work is hand-felted from Icelandic wool with soap and water. I use only my hands and no machine. When the work is ready and I am satisfied with my work, I use a method to stiffen in order to hold the proper shape.

Some times I use other materials together with my felt, such as fish line,  wire, willow  and/or stones for extra decoration.

What currently inspires you?

All my work is inspired by the Icelandic nature which is unique and splendid. The shell form is very imp[orant to me and close to my heart. I use it in various sizes, all the way from a small brooch to a lamp to a big sea-shell.

I have been making this shell-form for more than 20 years.

I will be teaching a large sculptural workshop in Ireland in early October 2019. I‘m really looking forward to it.

To find out more about me and my work you can visit my webpage.

annagunnarsdottir.com

Application forms for this international tutor workshop will be available later in the summer, ahead of her Oct 4th-6th workshop. Watch this space!

 

 

 

AGM Sunday 19th May 2pm- Fibre for sale

Hi Folks,

We hope that many of you plan on attending the AGM in Lucan this Sunday at 2pm.

Please remember to bring along a piece of your own work- for our display table. If you have had time to make your triangle of bunting, do bring that too… I’ve been using up old fibre in an effort to get my triangle ready!

Remember this is a great opportunity to buy fibre… we have some lovely hand dye fibres from Leiko available and lots and lots of tussah and sari silk… just delicious!

We really hope to have a good day out. With eminent textile artist Caroline Schofield speaking as well as general Felt makers Ireland updates. Come along and be part of your crafting community.

Interview with: Caroline Schofield

 

NUNO Felting: JUNE 15TH 1 day course

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Felt makers Ireland is delighted to announce a 1 day “Felting with Fabric- NUNO” course. On June 15th, 10am-5pm Discounted for members to €55, ( non members €80).

Tutor: Elizabeth Bonnar, suitable with those with some felt making skills- for example if you make at home, or have attended a basic and beyond course… increase your knowledge and expand your skills.

See the application form below- this has the full details of materials required and application process and payment.

Please contact hello@feltmakersireland.com if you have any questions or difficulties.

NUNO FELTING WORKSHOP JUNE 2019NUNO FELTINGRATHMICHEAL coi NATIONAL SCHOOL MAP

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

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Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Interview: with Nancy Ballesteros

Nancy Ballesteros from the renowned “Treetops Colour Harmonies” in Australia is planning a series of workshops in Europe in 2020. We really hope here at Feltmakers Ireland to be one of the lucky groups to host a masterclass workshop with her.

We decided in advance of this to ask her a few questions about her felting journey and what currently inspires her. We at Feltmakers Ireland hope that this interview in turn inspires you.

NANCY BALLESTEROS (2)

Tell us a little about you as a person, Nancy?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma with an artistic father and creative mother who bestowed me with a love of art and textiles.  While at University I stumbled upon an opportunity to learn how to spin yarn, I took to it like a duck to water.  Spinning continued to be my passion for many years after finishing a degree first in pre-Veterinary Medicine that finally changed to Biology/Geology.  In 1986, I was made redundant from my corporate job and decided to follow my textile passions.  I began by selling handspun yarns. It quickly became apparent; however, that what people really loved about my creative efforts was the passion and flare I had for colour.  So, I decided to do just that – create colour!  In 1990, my husband Mark and I re-located to Perth, Australia where I immediately launched an international web-based business called Treetops Colour Harmonies.

I feel very lucky to be able to work ‘from a home-based studio’. We had the opportunity to purpose-build a passive solar studio/workshop into our house design. My space contains both my Treetops Studio and my own workspace intermingled. There are separate dyeing and storage areas.  My family has, in self-defence, set up “Wool Free Zones” in the rest of the house…

NANCY BALLESTEROS

How and when did you start Felting?

I first learned how to felt at a spinning retreat in America. It wasn’t till I moved to Australia that I really developed my passion for felting.  Nuno felt making was just being developed by Polly Stirling. It just so happened that Polly was teaching her technique at our First Southern Hemisphere Felting Conference in Bunbury, Western Australia. That changed the course of my felt making. Nuno allowed us, in the warmer Southern Hemisphere, to make lighter weight cloth, but most of all it was the ability to create my own cloth that fascinated me!

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?

In a nutshell, I love to “Investigate Ideas”.  I’m always asking myself “How”, “Why” and “What if”…  I believe it’s my science background having an on-going conversation with my Art-self.  I think about things a lot, and then I play. I like explanations, but then I’m happy to break rules…  I love creating Nuno for fashion.

NANCY BALLESTEROS4

What currently inspires you?

Last year, having seen some gorgeous but very expensive striped deck chair fabric, I decided to set aside a month and embark on a journey of creating Stripes! I had never much liked stripes before…! I became fascinated with the idea of “What constitutes a ‘Great Stripe’?” That question soon morphed into “HOW does one create a great Stripe design?” After experimenting a bit, I very quickly realised it wasn’t as simple as it appeared!

To stay focused on my journey, I decided that I needed the pressure of ‘going public’.  I declared that “I was going to make and post a Stripe sample every day for 30 days” – I called it “My 30-Day Stripe Library Challenge” (you can find in on my website at https://treetopscolours.com.au/natural-rhythms-30-day-challenge/). The name, after my challenge, from ‘Stripes’ to ‘Natural Rhythms’ when I realised that ‘Stripes’ were really only one part of a broader category of Linear Patterns, and my interests included both.

Along this journey, I discovered how the Fibonacci sequence was a great tool to help me design a more balanced ‘Natural Rhythm’ pattern. It also tapped into my 30+ years of working with colour theory!  Along the way, I have had to create a method of “working with wet wool” to obtain sharper linear elements.  The seeds of this idea had been sewed several years earlier when working with my Silk Hankies.

I will be teaching these ideas in Europe in 2020. There are several workshops on offer from creating your own ‘Natural Rhythms’ garment, wrap or scarf. Or you can choose to happily fill 2 or 3 days with creative play ‘Developing your own Sample Library of Natural Rhythms’ – the possibilities of colour and movement are endless!

From Feltmakers Ireland, “thank you, Nancy” for taking the time to complete this interview with us. We really love to learn about our fellow felters artistic pathways and do hope that we will see you face to face in Ireland in the very near future!

For more workshop details see: https://treetopscolours.com.au/more/information/workshops/  or visit my website on www.treetopscolours.com.au

You can also follow Nancy on FB and Instagram:

FB: www.facebook.com/treetopscolours

Insta: www.instagram.com/treetops.colours

NANCY BALLESTEROS3

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Interview with Tamzen Lundy

Many of the members of Feltmakers Ireland fall somewhere between “beginner” and “experienced” and just love the process of felting as a hobby (Ahem, obsession)… I am one of those… I also recently volunteered to join the committee of Feltmakers Ireland. What is it they say about volunteering?… it often gives you back as much as you give it!… So here is a little about me…

TAMZEN

Tell us a little about you as a person? E.g. upbringing/ work other than felt etc.

I am originally from Belfast, N.Ireland. I was already in the middle of my Degree in Fashion, having gone to study in Manchester, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. Happily my immediate family were not directly affected by violence; however I remember many security checks, bomb scares and actual bombings as well as the 3 day ceasefires at Christmas and the constant threat of disruption.

My secondary school was the first integrated, comprehensive, co-educational school in N.Ireland and I feel very thankful for this opportunity in my formative years.

I went from my degree in Manchester University to my first job as a Childrenswear designer for a very large retail company at their headquarters in Brussels. After a few years I moved closer to home, to the knitwear department of Penney’s/ Primark in Dublin, where I worked for a further five years as the buyer for women’s flat knit.

This was a very pressure driven environment, with performance rated according to sales results “you are only as good as your last range”… However it was also incredibly driven and exciting.

I enjoyed extensive travel several times a year to the Far East as well as regular trips across to New York and around Europe. This lifestyle suited while I was young and without a family but as soon as my first child was born I knew it wasn’t for me.

12 years ago after the birth of my first child I started working freelance on design packs for contacts I had made along the way. Very conscious of the environmental and ethical responsibilities of the fashion industry I only work with one trusted factory in Bangladesh. I have visited them many times over the years and have an established relationship. I still travel to various retailers across Europe or to attend trend fairs, but these days the travel is on my terms.

TAMZEN- DHAKA

Photo: Me on travels in the Far East.

I now have three children and split my time between being a freelance knitwear designer in the mornings and looking after them. I work in my little studio at home, communicating with the factory via Skype and Whatsapp. One day I will be working on colour predictions for the coming year, the next I will be sketching out designs. I might be competition shopping or visiting a client somewhere in Europe to help them plan their range. Then in the afternoon I collect the kids and am mother to free range children.

How and when did you start Felting… what is your experience, tell us a little about your journey?

I started felting approximately 3years ago. Having seen a demonstration at the knit & Stitch show. Remarkably even with a fashion degree and working with textiles for 20years, the process of felting was a completely new medium to me.

That in itself was exciting. I was struck by the immediacy of the textile. In many ways the medium seemed unrestrictive, allowing the creative freedoms of paint while being suitable for both 2d and 3d applications.

I use colour every day and am designing every day too, but after many years doing this and now using a computer rather than sketchpads and markers, my paid work feels sterile. I’m striving to be closer to the product again. I think this is why I love this hobby and why I try to find time to volunteer in primary school to teach kids art. What was it that Picasso is meant to have said “Every child is an artist it is trying to stay one…thats hard”.

TAMZEN- SCHOOL PROJECT WORK

Photo: A Giant Collaborative Project- dream catchers with local primary school

I am impatient by nature, and creative. However I am also a planner and have always been organised. I think this is why the medium of felt appealed to me, it seemed that this textile, might satisfy these parts of my personality.

I’ve also found that it is a craft that allows family life to continue… it can be done at the kitchen table, I don’t have to worry about paint drying while I tend to one of the kids… felt is very forgiving and I need that versatility in my life.

I have been lucky in my short time with felt makers Ireland to be able to attend the inspiring workshops of Gladys Paulus and Wendy Bailye. As well as this I have learnt the basics of hat making and jewellery from some of our own members. Together with my own textile background and in order to satisfy my creative spirit I find myself experimenting mostly in sample form but occasionally working on a larger piece. I know that I am only at the start of my journey with felt but I do feel like I have found my medium.

 

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?

Felting is my hobby. We hear a lot of talk these days about mindfulness. I remember working in sketchbooks and on projects when I was younger and really finding a flow, this is mindfulness or being present in the moment. Time seemed to work in a different way, when I was really in that creative zone, I could lose days.

This is what I love about felting the combination of the cerebral planning (I still rough plan in my sketchbooks) and the physicality of process. This is as close as I’ve managed to get to that complete absorption that I remember as a child.

After twenty years working in the fashion world it is easy to become cynical too. Trends come and go (and I’ve seen many twice at this stage). Do we buy what we want or what we are told? Fast fashion V Slow made. The Normcore trend (a reaction to fashion oversaturation resulting from ever faster-changing fashion trends, Normcore wearers are people who do not wish to distinguish themselves from others by their clothing, and yet buy into the trend by buying certain brands). I think felting helps me feel creatively authentic. Close to the end product and sometimes just doing something creative for the pure indulgent sake of it.

What currently inspires you?

The challenge of seeing what other felters are capable of making inspires me. I now have the position of secretary of Feltmakers Ireland. The contact I have with ( often longtime) members is very inspiring.

I discovered nuno felting in the Wendy Bailye class, up to this point I had never added other textiles to my wool. Now I find myself cutting up scraps of Donegal tweed or bits of yarns and seeing what happens when they felt together. I’m just in awe of the possibilities at the moment.

Of course sometimes I get stuck and months pass and I do no felting. Life is busy. I live with migraines and the battle to manage these each month is ongoing. The kids have their activities, I volunteer at their school and family life is very full. Never mind being self-employed! Sometimes it’s not always possible to do as much felting as I’d like but each time I manage to come back to it I find myself unconsciously smiling and getting lost again.

At the moment I’m just allowing the act of felting to teach me rather than imposing myself on it.

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019