A couple weeks back, I found myself wandering the Kitchener Market while on a break from The Summer Institute program at The Working Centre. Serendipity connected me with fibre artist Sarah Granskou who I previously only knew from a phone chat. Sarah is the current City of Kitchener artist in residence and she was busily felting a cave (yeah!) over a couple of days at the Market, along with her crew of helpers. The whole process of felting to the uninitiated like me seems equal parts making and magic. All these sources of fibre go in and sculptural things come out.
I was particularly delighted to meet Sarah as she’ll be joining us Sept 10 for Maker Expo at Kitchener City Hall (and BTW: volunteers wanted!). Felting, as Sarah practises it, is a first-principles undertaking. As I understand it, Sarah grows some of the plants that she later harvests to create the dyes to dye the fibres that get coaxed together into some form or figure.
This was the biggest felting project I’ve seen.
Click through for more pics…
Great colours. You take this stuff and…
put it through this rig that I believe is called a drum carder.
I believe this prepares the fibre for use. I saw volunteer Bill Bean turning the crank just as I was leaving.
There was a lot of hustle on this project. I gather there’s a bit of a balance as to how much water should be added to help mash the fibres together.
This helper was massaging the fibres with soap through some cheese cloth (I think), again to integrate the whole thing. The calculus of fibre art.
Likewise, there was some careful walking on this sandwich of bubblewrap, water, soap and fibre material.
Looking forward to seeing Sarah at Maker Expo and her other work in the Kitchener residency. We are all makers.
At King East and Eby, this is Kitchener.