Monday, January 3, 2011

Delayed August Report: Facebook & The Creative Felt Gathering

I know lots of people are down on Facebook.  And not "down" in in the Urban Dictionary sense (although I do know lots of people who are that kind of down on Facebook too).  I LIKE Facebook for all the connections it creates with feltmakers around the world (and for updates on my family).

I came to know Dutch felt artist Elis Vermeuelen initially through Pat Spark's Felter's List.  Elis made Felt United Day a reality, with the help of Cynthia Reynolds.  These two women took an idea that sprung from conversations on the list, and  put forth heroic efforts, using the internet as a tool to link felters in an annual day of celebration- October 2.  The Felt United web site explains: "Our goal is to connect feltmakers around the globe to raise awareness of FELT as both a craft and an artform".

This past August, I attended Elis's workshops at The Creative Felt Gathering, organized by Jone Rikowski at camp Dainava in Manchester, Michigan. I had spotted this event somewhere on Facebook, probably on Elis page.   I was so excited to find a chance to meet her in person, not to mention work with her.  Elis has a very elegant blog:  I encourage you to visit.  She has a wonderful capacity for expressing her struggles as an artist in a way that encourages you to join her in deep thought.  One of the things I most admire about Elis is that she takes the time to share her thoughts in word.  I sense that the process of expressing herself is a benefit to both reader and writer.  She also posts delightful potographs, tiny personal glimpses into her life in Holland.  I treasure these opportunities for connection.  These words and images transport me to new places and challenge me to new thoughts.

Elis fitting my version of an Elis Hat on the beautiful Rachel (her daughter)

Every morning at the Gathering was led by this awesome group: Chad, Jone & Elis

This is how Elis rolls: with power

Elis & Robin

Jone Rakoski was the spark that ignited the Gathering.  Knowing her is a real treat, she is unmatched in energy, spirit and FUN!  She has more up her sleeve for 2011 and even 2012.  So not only do you get to work with Elis, but Jone is also a very creative felt maker and fused glass artist.  Plus Chad Alice Hagen, one of my all time favorite felting heroes.  I love everything Chad teaches.  She has a way with color, design and intricately thought out instruction that is pretty bullet proof.  Combine those skills with her razor wit... well, I feel like I'm reviewing a restaurant after a fabulous meal.  Everyone who has ever felted with me knows how I feel about my felting heroes.

Theresa's 1st week felting!
my gift from Theresa: Freya of Bandicoon
The entire, colorful Creative Felt Gathering on closing day
Another highlight of the summer for me was talking my dear friend Theresa Loomis into attending the Creative Felt Gathering with me.  Theresa wasn't actually a felter, but she is a very talented jeweler (take a look here at her Etsy site), the sort of person who does everything A+.  (She's the only person I knew when we were teenagers who actually understood all the lyrics to the songs.  She knew it wasn't there's a bathroom on the right.)   I bugged her until I convinced her she'd do fine.  She had made felt beads in the '70s... and I know that people who have an aesthetic and technical leaning make wonderful feltmakers.  She gave in, and I was right, she did make wonderful felt.  She lives in Ohio so I flew there and she drove us.  It was very special.  Theresa raised my cat Freya, and was a breeder and exhibitor of black Maine Coon Cats for many years.  I was jealous of her felt work at the gathering, but shhhh....
I'm waiting for Theresa to draw around me for my pattern

With the amazing line up Jone's put together, there's bound to be more landmark events at Dainava.

1 comment:

  1. oh dear Robin, you are such a gift.
    Theresa left a note and asked me today if I had read your blog today which I had about the rhinebeck event.. so now is my 2nd visit today :)

    big kiss.


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