Saturday, April 24, 2010

This was day one of our two day workshop at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis OH. After
shopping for wool from the on-site store Marlene created for us, I had the felters busy at work creating their wool canes in styles to yield dots, concentric circle and/or spirals.

After our light lunch, we began felting the bundled canes. This process began slowly with rolling back and forth until the wool formed a felted "skin". Then the skin became loosey-goosey and scary, but they persisted in the rolling, fearless and undaunted. Eventually the skin shrinks and conforms to its contents. As the rolling continues, they applied increasing pressure until the felt became a dense and firm cane. Though this was the Complex Cane Felt Bead Necklace workshop, these felters were enthralled with the sculptural rings I showed them that can be made from the ends or slices of the canes.
Pam MacGregor deconstructed some of her fabulous beads to explore this technique of exploiting the felt's plastic qualities to pull and press and stretch and shrink it into other forms.
Bonnie Ahren is happily engaged in this same process.
Some felters were happy to sacrifice the time we would have devoted to stringing their new beads into a finished necklace, to pursue this sculptural work for brooches and rings. Here are Suzy's, Pam's and the one I wore to Ohio that started all the trouble.
Those of you who know me, can imagine how I must covet their rings. Do you recall my post about Ronna Sarvas Weltman's amazing polymer clay rings and how thrilled I was to barter with her for one? And I never tire of looking through the selection of Gary Wilson's rings to add to my collection, accrued over the years of shopping at his booth at the Bead & Button Show and Bead Fests.
Tomorrow I will teach Fabricated and Deconstructed Ropes, Lariats and Bracelets. This is a creative assortment of felters and it will be thrilling to see what is produced tomorrow. Check back in to see.

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