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Drawn to felt
Transcript of Drawn to felt
Drawn to Felt: An exploration of mark-making and drawing within feltmaking
University of Chester
The making of felt can be dated as far back as 6300BCE.
Researching the art of feltmaking, I was struck by the versatility of the material as well as the impact feltmaking has had in contributing to cultural identity across the world.
having some knowledge of felt - its making and its use in different cultures worldwide, from ancient times to the present day and previous research into feltmaker's perceptions of themselves as artists or craftpeople, stimulated my own research into what felt artists are choosing to draw and why they are using this medium to do so.
"Felt makers like jackdaws, pick up techniques from other makers"
Sue Clay- Felt artist
having a go- lets make marks!
why use felt as a drawing medium?
using the International Feltmakers Association regional network meetings as a research base
"I also work with paint but I very much enjoy the physically 'hands on' building up of a tactile 'painting' in wool."
"It's tactile and smells good and you can add things to it to add even more texture and you never quite know how it will turn out once finished a bit like magic painting as a child"
"For me being Blind. The smell texture and versatility of felt and it's endless possibilities is great for me I can see colour still so bright colourful the better. It's also great therapy my nania in the back of my wool cupboard"
It's so tactile, warm & comes in so many amazing colours if you don't dye it yourself . I love working with wool to create magic
Possibilities are endless and such a laid back craft.
Wool is just so friendly xxx
- such a flexible medium, I can see that anything is possible!
you can use so many different things such as material as well as fiber
i love the feel of the wool and fibers- anything goes
beautiful colours, many different techniques, can be used for different effects. Lovely organic texture is pleasing to work with.
the surprise element - doesn't usually end up the way you planned!
I love the textures and the variety of colours you can blend
it is so tactile, with any lines or blocks of colour being distorted by the felting process.
it is an extension of my love of felt as a medium for 3D modeling and cloth making
Its different and surprise ending
The effect of colour
What does felt 'do' that you can't get from other materials?
I love the way colour and texture can be blended within it
It gives a surface which is delightful to stitch into.. Felt gives a sturdy surface that can develop into an even more tactile element with stitch.
felt is a totally unique medium which you can use either wet or dry
subtle use of colour/ texture interest
versatility mainly, plus the nature of the fiber adds an extra dimension
forgives mistakes, you can stitch or needlefelt over areas you are unhappy with and change how things look
One of the main reasons I am attracted to working with wool felt is the antiquity of its use by humans as a second skin, a protection against the physical elements and therefore, its offering of psychological security.
pieces mark transitional moments in my life, moments of vulnerability that inspired depth of introspection. I process this life I have been given through making and so I make a felt skin to hold the concept so that I can let go and move on.
Klackulak, L. 2016
‘It is a well known fact that the process of felting is calming and focuses the mind. The brain oversees problem solving, development and happy accidents, the hands work by themselves and turn the loose wool into material, gradually bringing order to chaos. The hands sense solid ground and want to sculpt. Somehow this transformation has a positive influence on our way of thinking.’
Charlotte Sehmisch 2016
Some thoughts on working with felt - professionals
Region 11, research group
International Feltmakers Association
Members of the International Feltmakers Association region 11 group have been approached to ask for volunteers to share their story. exploring complex and subtle phenomena, gaining insights into people’s opinions, feelings, emotions and experiences (Denscombe 2010, p. 173).
Interviewer effect lessened
will still be affected by the personal identity of the researcher,
however there is little that can be done about this but being known to the group could limit this as well as adopting a passive and neutral stance.
"The term 'drawing with wool' is used here because at this point your drawing medium is simply wool, and only after the felting process has been completed does it become felt" Hunter 2012
"Many of the principles that apply to a graphite drawing can equally be applied to drawing with wool: composition, perspective, balance and tone are al to be considered just as they would in a pencil or charcoal drawing" (Hunter 2012 p. 33).
"A drawing can be as simple or in depth as you want it to be, and the only limitation in drawing with wool is the fineness of detail, as very small marks made with the wool can disappear in the felting process"
most of the planning of a picture can be done using a soft line of wool, just as, for instance, a gentle mark would be used in a charcoal drawing
from one simple teased out length of wool many different lines and marks can be made, these form the basis of drawing with wool and behave as a freehand line
"Thus by drawing from the two influences of painting and feltmaking , I can express my own personal affinity with the surrounding landscape, in a way which I like to think echoes that of other societies, in which creativity is linked to the same sort of belonging as mine."
Hunter 2012, p. 7
Feltmaking can seem magical in its simplicity, the soft wool transformed by way of a little moisture and friction into a material that is strong and hardwearing. The basic principles of this ancient craft have remained unchanged to this day.
Contemporary feltmakers have build on these basic principles to create very exciting, diverse ranges of functional, decorative and pictoral felt.
Felt is some way away from being regarded by the art world as an equal to an oil painting- nevertheless traditional boundaries are being pushed, and artists are experimenting more with mixed media and textiles in particular.
This presentation has tried to illustrate how the imaginative feltmaker might adapt drawing and painting skills to feltmaking and the thoughts on the use of felt by both the professional and amateur.
However, while guidance in the use of various techniques is a valuable resource, ultimately artists learn through experimentation and play,
the best discoveries happen by mistake and new concepts through enthusiastic play.
This process is fundamental in forming the artists own individual style and understanding their chosen medium.
I hope this has encouraged you to be more enthusiastic in your appreciation of textiles and provided you with the foundations on which to start experimenting...
Using felt is a great way of mark making using creativity to move beyond pen and paper
you don't have to be good at art or anything else to be able to create something that looks amazing
The amazing thing about felt is no matter how hard you try to do something it will always turn out looking like something else
making marks with felt is a completely different experience to drawing with pens and paint
There are so many more options than drawing with usual equipment
Depending on the different types of wool you use and the different colours you get a different result each time
You can never quite do the same thing twice even if you try to, not quite sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing
Depending on what finish you want you can use different styles of felting
Children's views- year 8 &9
professional, amateur and child
surprise element/ happy accidents/ unaware of final product
hands working independently of the mind
calming / laid back
hands on/ tactile
variety of techniques/ wool/ colours
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