Archives for posts with tag: Felt

It is the middle of winter.

Energy is a little low, “sigh…”

The weather is a little intimidating with all the snow and ice and icy cold mountains of slush.  It’s not just the ubiquitous boots, but the whole experience of walking down the street makes people scream, “Ugg!”

We see this and so, we thought we would make it a little easier to do something good for you!

All courses starting in February are half-price, even if they span into March.

Yup, half-price!  🙂  We knew this would add a little warmth to your winter!

Here is a list of what is going on in the next couple weeks.

Tammy Schmidt, CHT

A fleurbain mid-winter Cleanse

You may want to shed a few of the post-holiday pounds or you may want to improve your energy by eating better.  Find supportive and positive approaches to nourishing yourself and renewing for Spring.

Includes anti-inflammatory recipes, menus and plenty of helpful information.

Tammy Schmidt will be facilitating this support group. She is trained as a clinical herbal therapist. She also provides consultations and education on herbal remedies.

Monday February 6th – March 12th; 7:30pm – 9:00pm, $120 for the session.  Half price discount is $60, plus tax, for the six sessions.

Intro To Painting: Old masters Basics

In this eight-week course, students will learn about techniques used in both oil and acrylic painting. Students can choose to paint in oil or acrylics. Natasha will provide you with a list of supplies you will need, and advise on your choice of paints upon registration.

Instructor Natasha Henderson has taught art for several years, and has exhibited her paintings for over a decade. Her classes are supportive, fun, and informative. Please check out her website to see more of her work.

Play, colour theory, illusion… perspective, perception, and more will be covered in this class. The final day will be spent out of the studio, on a field trip to the Musee des Beaux Arts to look at, and talk about, painting. Great painting that will further inspire our hearts, minds, and souls… and art. We will learn by doing and making, and then revel in what we now know.

The class is held in Fleurbain, at 460 St Catherine Street West, Unit 917 H3B 1A7, close to McGill and Place des Arts metros, ts of nearby parking too. Class is scheduled for either Saturdays (February 11 to March 31) or Sundays (February 12 to April 1) 12-3pm. Cost is $320.  Half-price discount, the price is now $160, plus tax for 8 sessions! (If you join late in the session, class prices will be pro-rated.)

Four Weeks of Felt (aka “I ♥ Felt”)  

In I ♥ Felt, students will learn how to make felt in the wet-felting process.  Instructor Natasha Henderson is experienced in feltmaking, puppet-making, painting, and cartooning. Over the last several years, she has been inspired by seeing her students take felt-making to new levels.  This will be a fun, informative, and relaxed workshop.

We will make: *a flat project (the ever-popular scarf!)
* a simple form that can be crafted into a cell-phone case or small purse or other nifty little object
* a larger, more complex form using a resist technique (either a larger purse or a vase)
* jewelry, forms and decorative shapes

Classes will be held in Fleurbain Tuesday nights, February 14th to March 6th, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Cost of the four weeks of supplies and fun, is $160, plus tax. The half-price discount price which includes supplies and instruction is $80, plus tax.

Are you looking for affordable one-on-one instruction from a skilled painter?  Come explore your creative side at the Wednesday Night Drop-in Painting from 6:30pm-8:30pm, $35, plus tax, per drop-in.  For the month of February, Half-price discount is $17.50, plus tax. All supplies are included!

All classes are held in Fleurbain, 460 St Catherine West Unit #917. Please email us at fleurbain@gmail.com to register or for more information.
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One evening, Tuesday December 6, 6:30-8:30pm $50, everything included!

Felt is an amazing material. Real felt is made from wool or other animal fibres. It is compressed, agitated, boiled, and manipulated until it becomes a single piece of fabric. Felt was developed in every culture where herding animals were kept, and used not only for clothing but for housing and industrial purposes too.

In this workshop, students will learn about the technique of making felt fabric from loose wool roving. They will make their own elegant, warm, snugly, beautiful, handsome, thick, or thin scarf out of wool. All materials and instruction (and fun) will be provided!

Instructor Natasha Henderson is a visual artist, painter, crafter of wool scarves, puppets, and cat-toys. She loves making things by hand and teaching others how to do so, too. She has years of experience teaching workshops in painting, felt-making, and other crafts. Her work (including felt scarves) can be seen in various galleries and shops, as well as being available for purchase online.

Register online: nhen@videotron.ca
Check out Natasha’s scarves at http://HendersonArt.etsy.com/

Workshop is located in Fleurbain at 460 St Catherine West, Suite #917, H3B 1A7, Montreal.

ACRYLIC PAINTING LEVEL ONE: In this course, students with very little or no painting experience will learn about painting techniques, and practice these techniques through creative exercises. Students will not only learn and enjoy the process of painting, but will lose that fear of the blank canvas.

DATES: September 25-November 27 Sundays 9:30am-12pm (10 weeks) $250. Ask me for supplies list: nhen@videotron.ca (OR borrow communal paints/supplies for an additional $5 per session.) Located in Fleurbain, downtown Montreal on St Catherine Street.

ACRYLIC PAINTING LEVEL TWO: This course is suitable for students who have tried painting before, but have hit a wall with it. Or, perhaps they have found that they paint the same thing over and over again. We will expand our ideas of “what to paint” while inspiring one another and working on painting skills. We will talk about concepts in painting, and just generally have a great time.

DATES: September 25-November 27 Sundays 12:30-3pm (10 weeks) $250. Ask me for suggested supplies list. nhen@videotron.ca Located in Fleurbain, downtown Montreal on St Catherine Street.

PUPPET-MAKING WORKSHOP!!! Over two evenings, Wednesday the 26th of October and Wednesday the 2nd of November, from 6:30pm to 9pm each night.

In this two-evening workshop, students will learn the basics of creating wool felt from scratch in the wet-felting process, create their own hand-puppet template, and make a felt hand-puppet! Everything will be supplied, and cost for the two-evening workshop is only $60. Although puppets are for every one at every age, this course is for adults over 16 years old. Look out as this popular workshop will be repeated a few times over the autumn and winter, and kid-friendly courses too! Email me for more details: nhen@videotron.ca

FELT-MAKING PROJECTS: In this four-week course, students will learn how to make wet-felted objects and accessories for fall, for gifts, for fun. Scarves, beads, wallets and purses can all be made out of fluffy, loose felt from scratch and in these workshops we will do so!

DATES either Sept 20-Oct 11 OR Nov 8-Nov 29. 6:30-9pm. Cost $150 all materials supplied! Located in Fleurbain, downtown Montreal. Email me for more details nhen@videotron.ca

One of my early books.

BOOK ARTS: Yes! Learn the basics of book-binding, and make your own simple (or elaborate!) books. Sewing signatures, folding pages… make your own sketchbooks, poetry books, blank pages to fill or to give as gifts.

DATES: Saturdays from September 24 – November 12, 12-2:30pm. (eight weeks). $280 all basic materials supplied. Please email me for more details nhen@videotron.ca Held in Fleurbain, close to the McGill Metro in downtown Montreal.

PLEASE CONTACT ME at nhen@videotron.ca for registration, information, and payment. More workshops being announced soon!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

nesting bowls in felt are cozy, homey, and cute

Felt bowls are cute, no doubt about it. Little fuzzy display bowls that can fit into one another, that’s even cuter! I decided to make some nesting bowls today, and documented the process to share with you.

If you know how to make felt already, and are looking for a craft that will provide you with two or three hours of crafting and will be suitable for an Easter display or gift, look no further. If you haven’t made felt at all yet, I would advise you to first try making a piece or two of flat felt, to get an idea of how felting works.

some of the basic supplies

To start, I gathered my basic felting supplies. I used bubble wrap, soap, a kettle of water, loose wool (roving), scissors, and a measuring tape. You might also like to have a towel on hand, a bowl, and perhaps some paper and a pen.

a trick to cut your templates: fold them in half to ensure each side is even

I thought that I’d like to make three little nesting-bowls. I choose three colours of wool roving that coordinated well together. I decided to blend colours for two of the bowls, and wanted to add dashes of all the colours on all the bowls. I had intended to just make single-colour bowls, but I couldn’t help myself! Obviously, you can use whatever mix of colours you would like.

The basic procedure for making the bowls, no matter what size they are, is relatively simple. The challenge was to make bowls that would “fit into” one another… to account for sizing and so forth. I decided to make a simple bowl shape, then add 1 inch on every side for the next size up. I added about an inch or so to THAT one for the largest bowl. I cut all these templates out of bubble wrap. In retrospect, I’d have preferred to have made some smaller bowls, too. However, as I had saved my templates, I can make smaller ones at a later date.

three layers of roving, and the template on top

To begin any sort of resist felting, lay out three layers of wool roving at right angles to each other, so that they extend about 2 inches past the template-size. In this case, I made sure that the top of the bowl didn’t have this extension, because it would be left open in the end. If I’d wanted to make a more spherical object, I could have extended the top end too. I like to lay my template under my piece of bubble wrap as a guide for the first overlapping layers. However if you find that is too hard to see through the bubble wrap you are working on, you can trace the template shape onto a piece of paper and place this under the bubble wrap to guide you. Remember it is important to extend up to about 2 inches PAST the template-shape, in order to create a meshing of wool.

Once the first three layers of roving have been placed, gently spray some lukewarm water onto them. Be gentle, allowing the water to just fall onto the wool. Next, place your template on top of this. Make sure that the top aligns with the top of the wool. Remember there should be almost 2 inches of extra wool all around the rest of the shape. Take this extra wool and fold onto the template.

encased, with soap on it... ready for boiling water!

The final step before really felting is to lay three more layers of wool roving, at right angles to one another, on top of this. Try to fill the entire “template” area, even though much of it is covered around the edges. This will ensure that there are no holes or awkward seam parts to your bowl.

Spray the wooly work again, being gentle. Then drizzle  pure dish-soap overtop. Pour some boiling (or very hot) water on it, and then lay another piece of bubble wrap on top. Pat it (if it’s not too hot to do so!) and rub it. Pay special attention to rub the seam area… we really want the wool there to mesh quickly. After a minute or so of patting, flip the work over, and pat the other side.

pay special attention to the edges, to ensure the wool meshes

Try opening the bubble-wrap up to rub the wool directly. Within a minute or so of patting and rubbing, you should be able to gently lift the object. Pry open the top part, and gently rub the edges. If it’s fused, force it open. It’s ok at this point; you can do almost anything to this malleable mass.

this doesn't look much like a bowl... but it will!!

Lift the object, turn it in your hands. Rub the inside and outside of the seam area. If there are sparse patches or holes, try adding a little more wool roving on top. Put some more soap, a dash of water, and gently rub it in your hands. Work on the seam area, and rub the entire object.

Turn it inside out, and rub the inside on your bubble wrap. turn it back outside-out, and rub the whole object on the bubble wrap. Keep it open, don’t allow it to lay flat again.

After a few minutes, you can gently drop the object onto the table. Do this a few times, trying to hit a different part of the bowl each time. Start to hit it harder; and focus on any bumps or strange parts. It is almost magical, how the wool will tighten into felt as you do this. It will shrink quite a great deal, too! If you have a bathtub nearby, try hurling the wooly mass into it several times. Start more gentle, then hurl with all your might.

while hurling, rubbing, getting the bowl felted and fulled and shrunk. ten seconds later, the seam had disappeared. Like magic.

If the bowl is cold, pour some more boiling or hot water on it. Friction, compression, and heat all conspire to turn wool into felt. So, more heat can’t hurt!

Finally, when your bowl is looking like a bowl, set it. You can set it “rim-side-up” on a table, or you can stuff it with bubble wrap (like I’ve done in the examples) and turn upside down. Like a sweater that you lay flat to dry, wool felt will have a memory. It likes to maintain the shape that it is left to dry in.

after being felted, fulled, and rinsed, I formed my bowls by cramming bubblewrap into them, and leaving overnight on my table.

If you are in the Montreal area and would like to take a felt-making class, please be in contact with me. I will be teaching this technique (and more!) in workshops of varying lengths. Happy felting!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

what ever could this be...

As I mentioned the other week, I am in the midst of teaching a course on felt-making. To make the class interesting and varied, I’m including a range of options for forming loose wool into felt objects. This last week my students and I formed little “sushi rolls” out of wool.

wool, not rice nor seaweed

The beads that one makes in this technique end up looking like little spirals or, like I did in the sample, can look sort of like sushi. It is a technique that is fun and takes almost no skill, once you know what to do.

roll the "sushi" on and in the bubble-wrap

Lay out some wool roving on bubble-wrap. Lay a second layer on top, going at roughly a right angle. Maybe lay a third layer… then spray with warm water, put on a light drizzle of dish-soap, pour hot water over it, and roll up. Roll it inside the bubble wrap, back and forth. After a while roll it in between your hands, pressing as hard as you can. The wool will felt into a tube, which you can cut with scissors or a blade to get “sushi roll” styled beads. These could be used as decorations, as “mini sushi” or as earrings, beads in a necklace, as buttons…

little rolled bead (in progress) and a pinch of a "sushi"

While you’re at it, you can roll some little bits of wool up into little balls. Just keep your hands soapy, roll it around until it becomes a ball… about ten minutes is usually more than enough! You then have a round bead. Personally, I find that I am a little impatient with making round beads, however, they are cute and decorative. Every one that I’ve made, I’ve used for something!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

some of my earlier experiments

One of the benefits of teaching to fully engaged students is the challenges that they present to you. I am teaching a weekly course on felt-making; the first class for this new group was last week. All of the students were keen to learn, to do, to make. Outside of the enthusiasm that they brought to the class, they had all done research beforehand on the craft of wet-felt-making.

When we started the class, I gave them a brief run-down on how felting works, what the science is behind it, the basic stuff. Then we talked a little about what we would do over the next twelve weeks. Some of the students were very keen to try out some specific techniques; techniques that I’d seen others do but, admittedly, haven’t done myself. When the internet offers such a wide array of videos, blogs, and instruction manuals, it was a pre-educated group of crafting students who entered my classroom the other day!

a student in the beginning stages of making a hat

This presented a challenge and an opportunity for me to grow. While the class is on, I am “on”. I am engaged fully with the students, I guide and help and demonstrate. Sometimes I must step back and allow them to discover things on their own. During this work-time, they are concentrating and I am quietly watching what they do, or I am preparing for the next step. While this is happening, I think about what we will do in the future, what would serve my clients/students best.

Much of art-making and maintaining a practice in it is about editing. Editing specific works, editing time so that the media of choice fit into one’s life, and editing things that might not seem to fit together until they do. I have, classically, fancied myself to be a bit of a trail-blazer type whenever I’ve started something new. I would quickly learn all I could about it, see what appealed to me, then go off on my tangent to experiment with what I chose. This is normal, I think. However, when I have students who want to try out all the different things that one can do in a chosen medium, I need to be ready to teach them these things I’d seen, not tried, and had previously discarded from my own milieu of work. Because of this, over this weekend I performed some experiments with feltmaking.

there are many ways to make felt, and many potential things to teach

There is a funny thing about this situation. By prescribing myself time to experiment in things that I’d not really been personally interested in before, I have been actively pushed to make use of my new knowledge. An example: felted soap. I make and sell felted soap, now, because I needed a little something to fill in about an hour’s worth of class. Felted soap seemed interesting, sort of cool, and something easily portable for students to make and take home in one day. Now I sell my little bubbly creations in many shops around town, and on my Etsy page. Benefit!

fabric-enriched scarf - the successful experiment

A second example of a recent experiment is building fabric into the layers of wool. A student last week was keen to try this, so I agreed to teach it. I took some time to try it out, and last night I made a very beautiful scarf using this technique. A little back-story is due; as I’ve mentioned before, I once had a job in the fashion industry. While working in a sample-making room I saved scrap pieces of fabric. I prevented good, small bits of fabric from stuffing the landfill. I have many little squares of printed cotton, and I’d been trying to force myself to sew out patchwork bags and skirts out of them. I like sewing from time to time, but not sewing boring things like grid squares. Last night I took two of these squares, and ripped them into strips. I added the fabric into the scarf, and presto! It was a success. I will be making more of them, and adding another aspect to my scarf-making business!

I am looking forward to the next couple of experiments I’m planning… a large vase, and sushi jewelry in felt. Who knows what will be after that! I’ll certainly keep the dialogue open with my students, that’s for sure.

Natasha Henderson is a painter and fibre artist based in Montreal. She teaches art and felt to adults and kids. You can check out her Etsy page and personal website if you’d like to see some of her work.

Crafting something from basic materials is a rewarding activity for anyone. When you have made something “from scratch”, you develop a sense of intrinsic accomplishment and pride. In addition to the pure joys of making, there is the final physical object that you can use and display. Crafting and art-making is good for you, and can be used in a therapeutic manner.

A child makes a piece of felt.

When people make new things, they need to focus. When people learn new crafting skills they coordinate their minds, hands, and memory to work in synch. People with short attention spans, various levels of learning abilities, or who find it difficult to connect with the world can develop their focus and connections. I have seen this seemingly magic process in classrooms, where I have taught workshops in felt-making and sewing. Little children with major problems really do love learning, and hunger for the sense of accomplishment achieved when they learn a new skill and have something exciting to share with their parents after class. This sort of craft-therapy is useful to increase children’s engagement with the idea of learning. Focus is a skill that can be exercised like a muscle. The more a child uses the “focus muscle”, the better they are able to use this “muscle” in “sports” other than crafting… it really becomes one of their skill-sets.

A child shows off his weaving.

Crafting in a therapeutic manner also increases a person’s ability to connect with others, to adapt into the role of being a student (or a teacher, for that matter). Problem-solving as one navigates learning the new (yet often traditional) techniques of crafting creates team-building, forms human connections, and encourages storytelling. An example: A group of teenagers get together to learn how to knit. There are problems at first, some of the kids don’t want to be “Grannies”. One of the kids becomes a bit of a leader, saying “Well, I loved my Granny. She was cool.” The kids settle down, reminisce, share some stories, and help one another with their knitting. They have formed connections with their past and with one another, and are acting both as students and teachers as they learn their new (old) craft.

Very young children learn how to sew by hand.

Development of fine motor skills and hand/eye/mind coordination is another benefit to crafting and art-making. Obviously, if one takes a pencil or paintbrush in one’s hand and applies it to paper, there is a cause and effect. The artist is making something. The artist sees what happens when they move their hand a certain way. They try it again, a little bit differently this time, and see the changes. They register this change, and with practice the movements and effects become skills of which they are more in control.

Through art and craft therapy, people learn new skills, feel pride, and reconnect with traditions and a sense of history. They develop hand/eye/mind coordination and learn to focus. Crafters can work in teams or groups to teach others their skills. Crafting is social, fun, and a beneficial activity. As a person who has led several arts and crafts workshops with all sorts of people, I must say that the idea of a career as an Art Therapist is an exciting one!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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