Sunday, 3 August 2014

Patricia Greaves asks 'Why felt'?

The reason why I really enjoy working in wool is because it lends itself to the simple hand processes to make new fabrics surfaces and things. I have a background in painting, in sewing, in pottery, in knitting, in twisting up bits of coloured papers, in taking photographs but it is the teasing out, the fluffing up, the stretching or pulling, and the caressing into soft flat doughnutty pads that is so quick and instinctive. That this can be simply shaped with a little water (and soap) into a soft  pad of 'fabric' is a marvel, and then my mind goes to what can I do with lots of these!
We learn through touch, and through play and exploration; we can pause and dwell and take small pockets of time to think of ideas to take our art or craft further. It may be into the realm of the useful, to thinking of covering our body, or our neck, our head or our arms: like playing dressing up when we were little; thinking what would happen if we just put that bit there, or attached that different coloured dangly bit there? Or it might be into the the search for the fantastic, the evolutionary, the 'moody' wall hanging or gargantuan (lightweight!) sculptural form.

 My work isn't always 'big' (though the work that goes into exhibitions usually is!) sometimes it is small, a little patch of combined wools, tatters of silk or cotton fabric and may be  even the odd stitch or needle felted detailing creeps in when the dried fabric calls out for more attention or a dramatic full 'stop'.

Currently I'm looking at photos I've taken with my iPad, deliberately swirling and merging the image to extend my ideas. I've got an App that tells the camera to take panoramic images and these can be captured as arcs and circular forms. Ideas are springing up in my mind. I intend to get my cotton fabrics out, lay down the fibres and any remainder or spare  prefelts I have lying around, and 'do' some felting. I don't know what it will look like at this moment, all I know is it will not look like the photographic image, but it will start from there, the fibres won't 'go crazy' on their own, I will have some control, but I am prepared to let a little risk in, and see what happens.

On the summer course I'll aim to encourage new ideas, but I'm also well aware there are some of us who need to know where they are going, and need to have an end product. Between us we can work through ideas and plans, and I'm quite good at thinking of solutions especially if some one's 'wheels are starting to fall off', because they've started an adventure and are worried about the path along which they are travelling! 
My paths always lead to the seashore or the hills, so be prepared for some wide  panoramas.

Patricia's website is if you wish to see more examples of her work.