July 07, 2014
Creative artists of all ages gathered to explore the magic of feltmaking with visual and fibre artist Kiki van der Heiden.
First, Kiki invited participants to gather closely and listen to The Rainbow Rock story by Fiona Duthie. Using a beautifully felted woodland scene, Kiki told an enchanting story about a gnome who lives deep inside a forest alongside his special friends — a bear, an eagle, a raven and a deer.
The gentle gnome, who carries a special "rainbow rock" sees a crying boy who has lost all of his happiness. To help the young man, the gnome takes him for a walk in the forest to see all the animals and then decides to share his "special" rock with him. Breaking the rock in half, the gnome reveals the most striking mix of magical colours! This makes the boy very happy again. He thanks the gnome and heads to the village with a big smile.
Inspired by The Rainbow Rock story, the spirit of sharing, and the beautiful colours radiating from the gnome's special rock, participants were ready for some felting fun and eager to make their own rainbow treasure!
Following Kiki's step-by-step instructions, children of all ages began the feltmaking process. First, Kiki gave each participant a tuft of brightly colored merino wool from Australia and New Zealand. She explained the wool making process and that there are several types of sheep.
Next, encouraging everyone to form a ball with their fingers, participants worked with brightly coloured wool and kept building up their rocks with layers upon layers of wool.
Once they formed a rock shape, they placed it into a small nylon bag and began compacting, rolling and packing it tightly using their arm strength and warm soapy water. Repeating this wet felting technique, participants achieved their desired rock forms and were ready for the most exciting part…
To reveal their rainbows and unique colour combinations formed by the layers of wool inside each rock, Kiki carefully slit each rock in half to reveal some amazing and magical swirls of colored wool! Each participant left the workshop with a big smile and with a truly one of a kind treasure to keep or share.
A tremendous thanks to Kiki for inspiring creativity, patience and sharing!
You can read the full story of The Rainbow Rock by Fiona Duthie online here. To purchase some wool or Merino roving, Kiki recommends the wool supplier dreamspinfibres.ca or visiting Maiwa Supplies on Granville Island in Vancouver.
We hope to see you at our next workshops: Story Fabrics with Ewa Sniatycka. Join us at ArtStarts on Saturdays in Vancouver on Saturday, July 26 and at ArtStarts at River Market in New Westminster on Sunday, July 27. Read more details here.
While at the ArtStarts Gallery, also be sure to check out the current exhibitions of young people's artwork: Timescapes: Local Connections and Natural Indicators of Time and This is Our Arctic.
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