For the past few years, I have visited the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on the first weekend in May.
And for the past few years, I have entered the Competition building and admired the winning designs of Margo Duke. The vest on the right won First Place last year...
I loved how she used all types of fibers, threads, ribbons, embroidery and beads to create new textures and textiles. They were amazing.
When I looked into it, it turns out she lives right here in Maryland, has a blog, a website, an Etsy shop...AND, she was offering a class in Alexandria, VA at Artistic Artifacts: Gown Fragments of Downton Abbey.
So I traveled the one hour to Alexandria last Saturday and now I'm in big trouble!
It was way too much fun and I have just scratched the surface of what is possible with this technique.
We built our fragments on water soluble fabric and felted all the fibers using the embellisher.
Being the neophyte felter that I am, I had never used an embellisher machine...I even asked where you thread it.
Thank goodness I was sitting next to my friend Elizabeth Woodford who is a pro and a teacher herself. I needed it! But oh BOY, that machine could get very addictive!
It was a bit like crazy quilting to me in that you can use all types of materials.
Margo brought dozens and dozens of examples to inspire like the ones below...
The trunk show alone was worth the price of admission, setting my brain on fire with all the possibilities! Smokin'!
I can't say enough about how wonderful my opportunity was to study with Margo...the only problem was that I could have spent a whole week working with her. I feel like I had barely gotten started before it was time to leave...
Here's my pile of silk cones, wool threads, roving and fabrics...and what I did with them during class. I was trying to make a gown fragment but I may have been getting too literal because I actually made a full gown...albeit miniature.
But...OH the colors!
Here is Elizabeth with her fragment ready to be wet-felted. Isn't it beautiful?
I can't wait to take another class...Margo is going to be teaching a fascinator class like the one she's wearing in this picture at the Midwest Felting Symposium in July...
I can't wait to take that one! You can see more on her blog here.
Plus...she is modeling one of her newest creations, a butterfly shrug...Here's the back...
She's just a walking bundle of inspiration, let me tell you.
Overall, I learned enough to know that I wanted to explore more.
Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to investigate Artistic Artifacts, the amazing store that was hosting the class...chock full of EVERYTHING a fiber artist could ever desire. And host to an Altered Minds textile group that meets once a month.
They also offer lots more classes...including ones by Elizabeth herself who will start a crazy quilt class in the next week or so and is planning to teach her beaded cuff in the future. Go here to check the teaching calendar if you live in the area.
Now, I'm off to finish up that January block...
Have a day full of joy and inspiration!