Recently I added a beautiful vibrant pink felted scarf by Anne Willsford to my winter wardrobe.
Its fabulous, it keeps me warm and adds a splash of colour to my outfit (admittedly I wear all black when wearing this scarf because its such a feature) and it always gets many flattering comments.
|My very beautiful FibreStudioDesign scarf|
I love it so much I thought I would share it with you. I was very lucky to get an interview with Anne. Here's what she had to say.........
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All my ideas come from my obsession with textiles, particularly feltmaking. When I see a person wearing an interesting scarf, woven jacket or printed fabric I immediately start thinking how it can be transformed into wool felt. It might be the colour scheme, the unusual cut of the garment or the woven/ knitted fabric structure that might inspire me most.
Forms and structures in contemporary architecture and design also inspire my textile work. One particular designer I admire is the furniture designer Patricia Urquiola who shows a strong textile aesthetic in her designs, and sometimes uses commercial wool felt. I also love the form, functionality and simplicity of 1960s Scandinavian design and the inventiveness of contemporary Japanese textiles.
|Hand dyed superfine merino scarf|
I am endlessly inspired by the qualities of handmade felt – how it can be gossamer-like for cobweb felt scarves, or soft and drapable for dresses and scarves, or it can be tough and hard-wearing for iPad sleeves, bags, footwear and carpets – its all in the choice of the right wool fibre and felting technique.
|Smartphone Sleeves - how cool are these!!|
It’s exciting to incorporate other loose fibres like silk, mohair, flax and rayon with our fine Australian merino wool to make felt that has a livelier surface texture that catches the light.
Using the nunofelt technique, where sheer fabrics (usually silk) and fine wool fibres are layered together, the fabric becomes ruched and lovely surface effects are created, while still being very lightweight to wear. Being very drapable, nunofelt is very suited to making scarves, wraps, vests and dresses.
Your products are all handmade…what’s the best thing about seeing your various forms of art through from the conceptual stage to finished product?
I love the challenge of making wool felt products all year round, not just for winter. During the warmer months I make lightweight nuno scarves and wraps, and also focus more on exploring vessel forms and other felt products like Smartphone and notebook sleeves. Felting is such an adaptable medium, and I like playing with ideas of translucency and opaqueness, grid forms, subtle tonal variations, colour combinations, texture, and light and shade effects.
I develop my ideas by making sketches and exploring techniques, materials and colour combinations. My training as a designer kicks in and I usually make scale drawings of the work, calculating the size it will be both before and after felting. Each felt work is designed with the end use in mind. I then carefully calculate the shrinkage rate and appropriate weight for the finished work, which depends on how drapable it needs to be. Once these parameters are set I let the process take over.
One of the challenging parts of creating a new felt work is choosing the techniques, materials and colours to work with, then going through the process of gradually building the multi-layers of fibres – the first stage of making the felt.
|Example of fibres being laid out before the felting process begins|
However, in the end, no matter how exact my calculations are, during the wet felting process the fibres seem to have a mind of their own. The final product is unpredictable. This transformation fascinates me, and the results are sometimes a surprise. The really best part is seeing the look on the face of the person who decides they just have to have it.
What’s your favourite piece from your range?
My signature spiral scarves create an unusual sculptural form that can be draped in various ways to suit the wearer. These scarves are handmade using a technique I first developed as an exhibition piece for the Curves exhibition held at Craft ACT in 2004.
Although making my spiral scarves can be quite time consuming, I love making them as they offer so many possibilities. I can create a totally unique felt piece by either combining similar or contrasting coloured merino wool fibres, or adding silk fibre or fabric accents, or using some of my hand-carded fibre combinations for a range of effects.
Where can we find your work?
I currently have a selection of my work at the Craft ACT Shop and a casual stall at the Old Bus Depot Markets every couple of weeks where I display a range of felt vessels and wearables. I go to designer markets in Canberra and in the future I hope to sell online. I am also interested in discussing ideas with people about ideas for creating special felt work.
You can also find me online at www.facebook.com/FibreStudioDesign
I have a broad price range with my vessels ranging from $22, narrow scarves for $85 and larger scarves, spiral scarves and wraps from $95 to around $300.
Anything else you'd like to mention?
I value working with quality materials that are locally sourced where possible. I take great care and pride in creating unique felt work to a high standard, to create timeless wearable felt.
If you like Anne's beautiful felt works you can also follow her blog Fibre Reflections and she has a fabulous collection of images for inspiration on pininterest.
Happy viewing x