Too Much Inspiration!



sisters, last day

Wow!  This summer sped by.  Initially, I had nothing special planned for this summer.  I was feeling a let down after saying goodbye to my sister Polly (returning to Australia) last fall.  2010 was SO full of special felty experiences, and I had nothing special to organize.  Boy, did that change…  I’ll try to summarize highlights in order.

In mid January, I received a lovely email from Liz Clay asking if I would be interested in sponsoring her Elemental Rhythms workshop in August.  I said yes, I was thrilled!  We had met at the Felter’s Fling in 2009, and I was awed by her work and happy smile (even at the crack of dawn, when I was stumbling to the shower).  Liz is an accomplished woman in many arenas.  She created monumental patterned felt yardage on commission for Stella McCartney, and intricately detailed felt as embellishment for Givenchy– both published in Vogue.  She teaches frequently at West Dean College in the UK (a place I lusted after in the ’70s to study embroidery) and abroad.  Liz has dedicated herself to the International Feltmaker’s Association as volunteer chair, and is working closely with Mary E. Burkett, author of the out of print The Art of the Felt Maker, to ensure Mary’s primary research documents are preserved.  For more on the workshop, scroll down.

As summer rolled closer, I planned a one day course in July, Interpreting the Landscape in Nuno Collage at Wiawaka Holiday House on Lake George, one of my favorite summer places on earth.  I invited my felting friend Sherry Horn to join me there, before her private workshop at my studio in Complex Collage.

I decided to stay  the night prior to the workshop, to meet other women who might be interested in joining in.  Workshops are free to guests at Wiawaka, but there is so much to do (like float in the lake) that in past years I’ve had very small classes.  Not this time! With Sherry’s enthusiasm at breakfast, we convinced our table mates to abandon their hiking plans and learn to felt.  I had 13 new students!  Every one was really into it and we had a great time.  It was impossible to miss, surrounded by all that beauty.

My Wiawaka Felting Students at the House of Trix

Sherry laying out her Complex Collage Bag in my studio

The following week, we (meaning my husband Harry, while I pointed) hung my first solo show, organized by Art in The Public Eye (APE) at the Orange Cat Cafe in town.  Harry got out of work early to help me, and we arrived to hang my work, as scheduled.  Unfortunately, there was a mix up and there was still a show on view.  Thanks to understanding parties, we returned a few days later and carried on.  It is an interesting venue.  The cafe has a corner where they sell recycled clothing and jewelery.  What was formerly the scone case is now filled with the latter.  My show shares the same corner.  At first I was panicked about hanging my felt work next to old sweaters, but in the end decided it was humorous if nothing else, and we managed to group my things apart from the “shop”.  The opening reception was part of the Third Thursday Art Walk, organized by APE, on the last day of the workshop I was hosting with Liz Clay.  Lucky for me, Harry came to my rescue (oh how I love him) and picked up the wine and cheese, cups, napkins and met me at the opening.  We left Liz at the house to rest and faced throngs of visitors.  Well, a few people showed up and we had a nice little chat with each of them while we shared a glass of wine on the settee.  It was actually quite relaxed and fun- the visitors that came did so because they were truly interested in my work.  Bless them.

a student’s photo with felt samples

Meanwhile, Liz and I had a fabulous week together, once we recovered from our trip to pick her up at JFK.  I was grateful yet again to Harry, who drove round trip to the City in the pouring rain.

Liz examines her student’s work  outside Luckystone Studio in the Shirt Factory, Glens Falls, NY
Drying Pleated Felt Samples in the studio window

Liz Clay’s Elemental Rhythyms Worskhop was very enthusiastically received after people saw the work from this workshop at the Fling in 2009.  We focused on learning a variety of felting techniques, sampling with an array of materials. Then we employed this knowledge to capture the essence of a photograph, interpreting it in felt and juxtaposing the photo and felt in a window matted mount.  Working on a small scale like this was perfect for me- not a physical struggle in sight!  Everyone took off in a different direction, and the samples and finished works were beautiful.  Liz’s students will find her totally dedicated and encouraging.

poor image of my finished piece, a boulder at Wiawaka

Following Liz’s workshop, we both drove to the Felter’s Fling at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, Mass.  More about this later.  I’ll just tantalize with a few images from the week, you might begin to get the idea of what I mean by too much inspiration!

I have to get to the studio to work on pieces for the Functional Art Show I’ve been invited to participate in on Columbus Day weekend at Maria Wulf’s Pig Barn Gallery at Bedlam Farm in Salem, NY.  Some of you may be familiar with the books of her partner, Jon Katz.  Maria makes fabulous stitched vignettes of interiors and other inspirations she calls pot holders, and lovely graphic quilts.  Please check out her work on her gallery page, Full Moon Fiber Art.

I am SO excited about this event, please visit and stay tuned!!!

This entry was posted in Bedlam Farm, Jon Katz, Liz Clay, Luckystone Feltworks, Luckystone Studio, Maria Wulf, Nuno Felt, Wiawaka. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Too Much Inspiration!

  1. Pink Knitter says:

    Wonderful blog post. Though I spent a good amount of time with you in August, I feel like I still didn't have enough time with you:-). I really enjoyed the night we spent at Wiawaka & your workshop the following day. I love the piece that I made I've been experimenting with the technique. It really allows for "painting/drawing" with fiber.

    The collage class was great too! I wish I had a chance to see your works displayed at the Cafe, but your show went up after I returned home.

    Thanks to you & Harry & the furry ones … I really enjoyed my time in Glens Falls!

  2. ally says:

    Looks like you've had a wonderful summer! I will be getting in contact with you this fall about felting.. I have a couple ideas and wanted to inquire about logistics. xo Al

  3. Dawn Edwards says:

    Good morning Robin,

    Great post…The summer really did zip right by, didn't it, and I'm sure especially for you with all that you wound up having on your plate. Wonderful images…I love the "boulder at Wiawaka" piece Robin…It's amazing!

    I certainly wish that our wonderful Snow Farm breakfasts were awaiting me, but alas it's back to a cold bowl of cereal. I sure do miss you, but so glad that we were able to connect again this summer. You're a gem! Thanks so much for your friendship Robin.

    Big hugs,

  4. Clasheen says:

    Brilliant post Robin, sounds like a fantastic summer!!! Hope to see you sometime soon, maybe I might get over to your side of the world early in 2011! X Nicola

  5. Fiona says:

    What a fabuolous month, Robin! Exciting, inspiring, Exhilerating, and maybe a little exhausting! Your show looks beautiful…I wish I could see it in person. I'm guessing the red walls,serve as a perfect backdrop, highlighting the beatuiful colors you use in your work.