Finnish artist Karoliina Arvilommi came to White Earth to teach the August 10-13 workshop in the Art of hand felting. Karoliina shared the techniques and methods she has developed as a full time feltmaker with a 17 year history in the artform. “We can safely say that whatever design ideas a student has, we can translate it into felt, be it highly defined, geometric patterns, (Celtic knotwork) to impressionistic ‘painted’ images. Color blending and line control is our speciality.”
This intensive four day workshop involved seven White Earth women learning the hands-on 30 step process. “Felting is one of the oldest material making processes in the world. It can be both beautiful and functional. Karoliina and Rod were great teachers and totally engaging. What fun!” said participant Judy Fairbanks.
All participants created marvelous rugs and wall hangings. The teaching also included lessons in natural wool dying. “When I think of the felting workshop “Awe’ pops in my mind. The instructors were awesome as was their knowledge, skill, dedication and talent in teaching us a new process. Thanks!” said Ann Lavoy.
“Boozhoo! Chi-miigwech miinawaa. Ningii-gichi-minwendam, gii-tazhiikamaan maanishtaanish odiinisizan. Ninitaawitoonan mazinakizonan. Nizaagi’aag Anishinaabeg Gaawaabaabiganikaagong idash Madoodoowikwe, Karoliina dash Zhaaganaashiwini Roddy. Nitaa-gekinoo’amaagejig. Greetings! Big thank you again. I was very happy when I worked with sheep hairs (wool). I know how to make pictures. I love them Native people in White Earth and Finnish woman Karoliina, and Englishman Roddy. They are skillful teachers.” added Shelly Ceglar.
For the past 17 years Karoliina has been a full-time, independent felt maker and artist. Her first design using felt is the ryijy and felt hat.”I started out as an independent weaver in 1985 and after 5 or 6 years I “discovered” felt. Felting allowed the freedom of form and colour that I was looking for in my hats. Felt is such a flexible medium to work with, created by “feel” rather than calculation.” (www.villivilla.org)