Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Winter Felt School at Ballarat, 2014

Boatbuilders Yard
Well, it's taken all week, but I have almost recovered from The Winter Felt School, and I know you're all waiting to see what we got up to! Jenelle and I flew down to Melbourne a night early, and found some delicious noms at Boatbuilders Yard along the river, with seating areas surrounded by these beautiful lush,
Executive Lounge Noms!!
and green trees. We spent an exhausting afternoon at the DFO right next to our hotel, where I managed to nab quite a few clothes for my forthcoming trip to New York in - brrrrrrr - December!! They just don't make them that thick in Queensland! We were delirious by the time we returned - just one more shoe shop, Jenelle! -  and were SO happy not to have to venture out, but to simply trot down to the Executive Lounge for noms and drinks. A perfect end to a large day!
The next day we ventured off to the Victoria Markets, which we soon realised was NOT open on a Wednesday! However, we enjoyed the walk, I got to play at being a spiky snail in a fabulous canopy bed/chair, (left)  and we found a lovely brekkie at Charlie Lovett - spinach and egg brekky roll with awesome coffee! (right)

Strap yourself in, Bunway!
Once the Bunnehs had packed up, we were off to Southern Cross to catch our train - errr, make that bus - to Ballarat!! Apparently school holidays are the time to work on the lines, so the unimpressed Bunnehs made sure to nab the front seat in order to prevent illness!Installed at the Grammar School, it was off to the local shopping centre in search of possible objects to use for our shibori, pool noodles for felt rolling, and bubblewrap. From this afternoon on, the hectic pace never stopped!
First we met with our tutor, Tatiana Sheverda, who had lots of lovely samples and catalogues of her recent collections to inspire us, and where we met our 6 otherclassmates - lovely to have such a small group! Tatiana advised  us that we should have a good idea of the garment we would like to make by the next morning, and although the workshop was structured mainly around making a jacket, once seeing the samples, and keeping in mind that I would not like to work myself to the bone this workshop, I chose to work on a dress rather like Tatiana's one from her Human Chameleanous Collection, 2011.
My completed sample
Science lab - brrrr!
This has large shibori bubbles at the top and Mokume shibori to shape the rest of the dress. As we were learning her technique of using felt with merino jersey, I also wanted to try the shibori resist where only the merino was
shaped, so decided to use this technique at the hem - see my sample!! I made this when I realised I was not going to complete the garment at the workshop! Yes, despite my best intentions, this was going to be an epic piece! For the first two days I was laying out and felting first one length of fabric 2m long, and then another! Note earwarmers, scarf and leather jacket worn throughout the process - we were in an absolutely freezing science lab!!
Crinkled texture of nuno felt on merino jersey
Jenelle being fitted by Tatiana
Felt made, it was time to cut our pattern pieces after a consultation with the pattern master. Tatiana was most generous and brought along her own patterns for those who wished to use them, and Jenelle chose one of

these. For me, this was also the time to change from pure white to colour - you know I couldn't last with it!! Many thanks to Lara Downs for the emergency colours!! Next was handstitching all our seams, front and back. Not quite as invisibly as Tatiana's. At all!! An epic night was put in at the Common Room by most of our class, stitching until nearly midnight. Della wore her headlamp, something I have admittedly yearned for in the past!
Della shines her light
Tatiana channels the memory of her dress pattern for me!

Rosa's mushies!
The 'Bicycle Seat' (Jenelle)
The 'Lobster' (Svenja)
From there, it was time to start the shibori process of tying in objects, also know as 'Beady McBead' in crayzeh Bunneh language! This resulted in some pretty wild looking bundles. One of my favourites was Rosa's, who had used a beautiful soft mauve patterned cashmere jersey. The textured little mushrooms she ended up with were DIVINE!! I do hope I one day get to see the entire end result. At this stage, I was still stitching the seams of my dress, although cheered by the addition of my lovely rose coloured veil from the op-shop across the road. Love a good veil, I do, and I do plan on getting married in the near future....... just practicing for now though!

This was my oth
er look around town, which did get me a few looks, but my wordy it was warm! That's two pairs of leggings there, folks! But perhaps it was more the headgear...
Kermit bubbles!!

Jenelles' deliciously white bubbles turned dirty looking from the beads, much to her devastation, (slight tanty, but so well managed - well done, Bunneh!!) so we opted to dye them some beautiful shades of greens. They looked great, just not with the white coat, so will be turning black in the very near future. Lesson learned for all there. The beads were light because we were travelling, but they had their downside.
This was about as far as we were going to get in our efforts, as time was running out. Before we knew it, it was the final evening, and we had to clean up the classrooms and organise our works for exhibition. It's so wonderful to be able to see the (mostly) completed pieces everyone has been slaving over. First though, was our dinner, where we sat in our classes and had quite a festive time! Here's a pic of most of the ladies from Tatiana's workshop. Here also is Tatiana, Maggie and Della in the line; we weren't sure what was being discussed but it looked very interesting, Della!!

Jenelle, Rosa, Svenja, Della, Maggie, Carol, Tatiana and Nancy

Jenelle with both ears on but having trouble listening - trying out the earwarmers I had on all week - if I ignored anyone, this might demonstrate why!!

Bronwyn Hunter's work from another workshop
Our table had many unfinished works, (thank goodness for Carol's coat from last year, (at left) but it still looked amazing and inspiring. It's kind of nice to see all the many stages of completing such amazing works!

Maggie Hollins admiring the teapots

Well organised, girls!

It was also wonderful to catch up with the lovely Phyliss Hoffman, whose workshops on felted jackets began this whole SvenJen adventure tradition, several years ago at Grampians Textures. Here she is with fellow felting tutor Igora Opala.

Once again, we have had an action packed 'holiday' of hilarity (too much hard work to be called a holiday!). Our thanks to Tatiana for being a wonderful tutor - I hope we see you again in the future. Thanks to Glenys Mann for providing us all with this unique chance to attend The Winter Felt School!! Till next time!!
Svenja, Jenelle the sleepy Bunneh, and Tatiana!


  1. How utterly amazing!!! I LOVED reading through your Winter Felt School days! What a beautiful and creative tribe. Xx

    1. Thanks, it WAS great fun and we had a ball, and met indeed a wonderful tribe!

  2. Lovely workshop and your work is always stunning, thanks for sharing. I've been following your blog for a while now and noticed you added some 'workshop' tabs. I'd love to attend a workshop by you - are you running any in Brissie anytime soon? thanks! Hazel