Since being asked to join the International Feltmakers Association Committee, I have attended a number of meetings to find out more about how this organisation is run (entirely by volunteers) and what my role as Communications Officer entails. The highlight of my felting year so far has to be this year's AGM and Conference held in the stunning location of Landskrona, Sweden.
The Conference was organised by our International Officer, Carin Madsen Kollberg, in collaboration with Asa Stentoft of Hemslöjden i Skane, an organisation promoting handicraft in the region.
The days were full of excitement, ranging from workshops to talks to excursions to fine dining. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Swedish people, the friendliness of the other delegates from around the world, the beauty of the region and the fabulous spring weather.
I attended a workshop with Yvonne Habbe on sculptural objects, using a technique I had heard of but not used before. She also gave a fascinating talk about the large-scale project she worked on whilst contemplating the life of a nomad.
I had plenty of opportunity to walk around the town of Landskrona, with a tour and also with other delegates. An elegant, calm town, it was a real pleasure to visit.
Not only is there fine architecture in Landskrona but a tremendous interest in gardening, with lovely allotments (each with its own summer house), parks and avenues.
A couple of trips into the countryside gave me a small taste of the region...some of us even stayed on a couple of days after the conference to visit the island of Ven, where the Swedish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, had his observatory.
All in all, it was a very successful conference. Personally, it gave me the opportunity to visit a beautiful country, meet people who share my interests, make new friends, and appreciate just how much work goes on behind the scenes to organise a brilliant conference. Thank you to everyone involved. I loved it!
After months of planning, I went out to Latvia at the end of May to help Jo and Ian get ready for our first Latvia Alpaca Adventure. I stayed in their flat in the village of Ergli and went to the farm every day. Workshops were to take place in the greenhouse and, thanks to a long winter, there was a fair amount to do. Rather more than I had anticipated, in fact.
So many wonderful things happened during the week, some planned, some not. Here are some of my selected highlights.
The felt workshops were led by Ieva Prane in her studio and me in Ergli, in the local High School, and on the Griezetes alpaca farm. Jo Storie introduced us to some interesting embroidery techniques to apply to our felt. Another day spent in the peaceful sunshine on the farm.
Latvian culture and countryside...
The contrast between Riga, the Latvian capital, and the countryside around Ergli and the farm is incredible. We sampled local moonshine, sang with the Ergli choir, tasted gorgeous goats' cheese (not to mention meeting the goats themselves) and painted porcelain.
The sun shone throughout the week, the atmosphere was serene and the Latvian hospitality was wonderful. A lovely Latvian adventure indeed.
Alpaca Scarf Workshop - in pictures
Photographs by Ian Storie
The next Alpaca Adventure in Latvia takes place in June 2018. If you'd like to know more, get in touch.
Catch up with our hosts, Griezītes Alpakas and their amazing alpaca farm on Facebook.
If you follow my blog, you will know that Susan and I go way back. We have holidayed together countless times and, most recently, made several trips in pursuit of exceptional feltmaking experiences. A couple of years ago, Susan gave me a copy of Catherine O'Leary's book, From felt to fabric. Imagine my delight when I saw that, not only was Catherine to be teaching a 3-day workshop on Bodywraps this summer, but that it would take us back to the Netherlands...this time to Atelier Fiberfusing, run by feltmaker, Dorie van Dijk. The location for our felting sojourn on the banks of the River Amstel could not have been bettered, despite the heatwave of the first couple of days and the ever-hungry mosquitoes at our accommodation.