July 2021 Feltworks
Tyra and Ruth, both members of Leek Guild, gave a Zoom talk about their exhibition which, after three years of planning, was due to run for eight weeks. Sadly, when the 2020 Lockdown struck, their work was on display for only eight hours! They won’t be mounting another exhibition because of the work involved, but they did sell a lot of pieces even in a short time.
Ruth, a retired textile teacher, has a fascination with wool fibres and aims to inspire others through her mainly 3D felted pieces.
Tyra has been an artist all her life. She designed museum exhibitions for 25 years and produces 2D felt artworks inspired by animal and plant cells under the microscope.
Planning began with the following questions- What? Why? Who with? When? Where?
Project Management would be the next stage, including a Gantt Chart- a detailed schedule of works on Excel including every job and when it had to be done.
Marketing included photography of their work, designing adverts and a Press Release, whilst Events included the Preview, Meet the Artists, Private Groups and Workshops.
Other things taken into account were Pricing, Labelling, Set up, Stewarding and Artists’ Statements.
The Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek, has a well-lit gallery which would be stewarded, so Tyra and Ruth
submitted photos and went before the Exhibition Committee, who approved their application. They set out a contract setting out what they would expect and they joined the Artists’ Network
( https://www.artistsnetwork.com/ ) so they could insure their work for a reasonable price.
Ruth is an expert at felting, producing a wide range of items from large felted fleece rugs to beads and crazy birds with driftwood heads. We saw scarves made using a delicate technique, Nuno felting onto fabrics such as chiffon or muslin. Ruth pointed out that no sheep were harmed in the making of the rugs!
Tyra concentrates on large, wall mounted artworks, sometimes making use of pre-felting, but she also makes smaller items such as table mats.
We looked at intriguing items, including neck ornaments made from Hotchpotch Yarn (pull apart a selection of fibres, mix them, pull apart several times and spin for a chunky textured yarn which needs to be fiercely washed) and core-spun LEDs!
For the making of the large felt works, Ruth and Tyra went to Felt in the Factory, a fully equipped, dedicated felt making studio near Ross on Wye, where you can make as much mess as you like!
The exhibition looked stunning, and it was very sad that Lockdown brought it to an abrupt halt.
Have a look at their photos on the following link-
We had a fascinating talk and looked at some lovely and varied pieces whilst gaining a good insight into the complications of organising an exhibition.
Pic: Bill Fox
Text: Liz Carrington
Pics: Ruth, Tyra and friends