Category Archives: FeltLOOM in Education

Innovation in New Zealand Part 2

The Textile and Design Lab, which is where the FeltLOOM is housed, also hosted two 1-day felting workshops in April that were taught by Lanette and Don and attended by staff, students. and experienced felters from the private sector. Participants were given an explanation of the machine’s capabilities and operating procedures before creating their own experimental pieces of felted materials.

Lanette teaching at AUT workshop.

Don and Lanette were especially interested in the technical textile work at AUT. Donna Cleveland, a doctoral student at AUT, had visited Don and Lanette in Kentucky in the fall of 2014, tried the machine with recycled, shredded fabric that she had brought, and discussed her experiments in electrical conductivity through fiber. She inspired the purchase of the FeltLOOM by AUT, hoping that the needles would not damage the wire they planned to embed in fabric. In the AUT lab Don and Lanette were able to see how Donna and a group of students, are working with various fibers and testing electrical conductivity through fabrics built on the FeltLOOM. Not only did the embedded knitted copper wire conduct electricity, but so did the stainless steel fibers, which were not woven. The soft, flexible stainless steel wire was so fine that the group was able to create the delicate ruffles shown here. Don said, “We had never seen that done before and were very impressed with the design aesthetics.”

This flowing material is embedded with stainless steel wires that are capable of conducting electricity

Donna Cleveland is shown here with one of her wire embedded textiles.

As full as their trip was, Lanette and Don were able to enjoy some time with FeltLOOM owners. Lanette is shown here with owner and alpaca breeder Faye Christie in Faye’s beautiful garden, which is extensive and inspired Lanette. “She’s a great gardener, and her garden just touched me because I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden….She had everything in there that she needed to live on.”

They also were able to spend several days with owners Christine and Ross Edwards, shown here. Besides being owners, the Edwards act as agents for FeltLOOM in New Zealand and can be reached through their website.

The entire trip was a delight. Not only did Don and Lanette help introduce the FeltLOOM to the public, they also saw that it was being used in new ways as a tool for the sustainable use of materials, and they experienced the open friendliness of the people of New Zealand. Lanette expressed that experience, “Everyplace we went people helped us. They were wonderful… and treated us like we were their friends.”

Innovation in New Zealand Part 1

“It was the trip of a lifetime!” says Lanette Freitag about the three weeks in April that she and Don Bowles, owners of FeltLOOM™ Inc., spent in New Zealand at the invitation of Auckland University (AUT). “AUT invited us to come be part of the GoGreen Expo with them and to showcase the FeltLOOM as a sustainable piece of equipment that would help reuse textiles, or develop textiles in a different way.”

Besides joining with AUT in introducing the FeltLOOM to the public, Lanette and Don met with owners, taught two 1-day felting workshops, and met with professors and students at two universities who are using the FeltLOOM for innovative textile projects.

Lanette and Don’s first stop in New Zealand was Massey University in Wellington, where textile professor Dr. Sandy Heffernan, who was responsible for purchasing the FeltLOOM at Massey, took them under her wing, showing them around and seeing that they had comfortable accommodations and had a sense of what there was to do in the city.

At Massey Don and Lanette also met two students who were receiving their masters degrees in textiles and had made use of the FeltLOOM’s unique capabilities in their masters projects. One student, Hannah Hutchinson, worked with an industry partner, Classic Sheepskins, to identify how to best utilize wool waste generated through the manufacturing process of sheepskin tanning. Her project was based on adding value to wool waste. She is pictured here with a one of the beautiful pieces she created on the FeltLOOM using wool that was too short or had other problems that made it unsuitable for traditional uses.

 A second student, Juran Kim used the FeltLOOM to explore the impact of designing a textile and garment without the use of seams, a tactic originally motivated by desire to reduce waste in garment production. Kim’s design-centric research contributes a new fashion aesthetic aligned to the “slow fashion” movement. She is shown here with a seamless garment of her creation, made possible through the use of the FeltLOOM.

After leaving Massey University Lanette and Don went on to AUT in Auckland where they joined the university in showcasing the FeltLOOM at the GoGreen Expo, which is New Zealand’s largest organic, sustainability green and healthy products & services expo.

Don at GoGreen Expo working with student Michele Peddie.

FeltLOOM Is Heading to the Auckland Textile & Design Lab

It is not every day that one gets invited to conduct a workshop internationally!  FeltLOOM® is bringing needle felting instruction and ‘Fellowship’ to New Zealand! FeltLOOM® has been in business since 2003, founded by Lanette Frietag and Don Bowles, who designed and created the first FeltLOOM®, a large-scale felting machine.

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Creative felting is brought to life with this innovative machine. Direct from LanMark Farm in the bluegrass country of Kentucky, home of the FeltLOOM® felting equipment; FeltLOOM® will team up with Auckland University of Technology (AUT)’s Textile and Design Lab (TDL) with two 1-day teaching workshops on how to use the FeltLOOM® needle-felting machine to create and design textiles, April 14th and 15th, 2015.

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand; New Zealand is comprised of 2 islands, Auckland can be found in New Zealand’s north island. The fertile lands of New Zealand were historically dominated by the export of wool, and today many textile and design factions drive the New Zealand fiber community. AUT’s Textile and Design Lab was established in 2000, and has reorganized itself and its identity a few times since before landing on its present identity as TDL.

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With Auckland being New Zealand’s largest city a trip for learning and exploring would be ideal!  Where else can you learn to create beautiful scarves and shawls, felt based textile products and fabric; and travel to middle-earth for a side excursion??

The workshops are an introductory learning level for beginners and will be comprised of such content as techniques, layers, patterns and textures.

Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the most fundamental FeltLOOM® functions; basic exposure to the procedure and workflow of needle felting technology, hands-on use of the FeltLOOM® tool in creation of original fabric, techniques like fiber to fiber and fiber to fabric, and the overall operations of the FeltLOOM®.
Making your own artwork, creating unique designs, envisioning one’s own fabric design, and learning how to actually create it using tried and true design approaches among other guidelines and techniques.

FeltLOOM also is adding on a visit Massey University in Wellington for the Master of Design Opening on April 9th.

So it is with extreme enthusiasm that we applaud FeltLOOM® for this international opportunity to teach and expand the fiber art community with their knowledge and their tool.

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

Creative Passion Realized

Arturo

Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, a fiber artist whose influential work with non-traditional materials is recognized internationally, is also a professor of art at the University of Kentucky. It is evident when talking to him that he not only inspires his students, but is also inspired by them. When discussing their use of the FeltLOOM he says, “It’s a highly functional and creative tool, and the students really do like it. And that’s what I like, when they get a passion for it. I’m very excited by them getting that passion for it.”

He explains that it was a student, Laverne Zabielski, who introduced him to the FeltLOOM and encouraged him to purchase it for the university art department. “Because of her encouragement and the way she works, we began working with silk and wool together, silk and alpaca, silk and merino wool, and there’s a variety of methods that we’ve used mainly because of Laverne’s own experimentation.”

A New Technology

wall hangin trees
Using this new technology Professor Sandoval and his students were on a shared path of discovery. “”We were learning as we were using it,” he says. He cites two examples, “We did discover is that there’s a lot of shrinkage that we didn’t anticipate. And so, especially when you’re starting to do art-to-wear clothing, you’re trying to make yardage, you really have to be aware of that.”

And at one point, in their enthusiasm, some students ran excessive material through that resulted in a surprise. “We saw some broken needles in their wool,” he says, and then cheerfully jokes, “That was s surprise, a little unintended mixed media.”

Creative Experimentation

christine Levitt Snake dress detail

Creative experimentation is clearly what truly excites this professor. Speaking again of Laverne Zabieslki, his student who also teaches non-credit night courses on the loom at the university’s Fine Arts Institute, he says, “She began to create on her own . . . new fabric and new patterns, new ways of running silk merino combinations. She’d bring those items into the classroom and that [made] a huge impression with the students.”

Professor Sandoval has chosen the work of another fiber art student, Christine Levitt, to be featured along with his in the fall show, Art Envoy, that opens at the Louisville Visual Art Association in Louisville, Kentucky on August 24 and runs through October 7. Ms. Levitt has created what he calls, some of the “most spectacular pieces to come out of my class.”

The university is only beginning its second year with the FeltLOOM. In the spring it is introduced to students as another technology for making 3-D fiber art, and in the fall, it is used by students who choose it for creating some types of art-to-wear material. If the first year is any indication of the future, we are in for some exciting, vibrant creations as Professor Sandoval and his students continue to experiment with their magic machine.

See many more amazing creations in the FeltLOOM Photo Album!