These are my newest available workshops for all types of fiber artists. Hope they get your fiber juices started. (School residencies are listed after these adult classes.)
All day long classes start at $350, half day classes, $175, and lectures $200,
Weaving demonstrations $200, spinning $150
Introduction to Electronic Textiles
Bring your favorite textile bag – quilted, woven, embroidered, felted, or hand me down – and well light it up with LEDs using the latest advancements in electronic textiles. Using conductive yarns we’ll stitch a circuit together; no soldering, wires, or engineering degrees required. It’s even washable. You’ll get an introduction into this fascinating world of interactive garments and how to wade through the mountain of web information to find the supplies you’ll need.
Machine needle felting
Now that these new machines have gone mainstream, it is time to push their boundaries. Bring your embellisher needle-felting machine and discover the many new possibilities that arise when wool meets fabric with the help of five fast needles and a little water. Using simple techniques, you can add punch to your art quilts, make fabulous clothing and accessories, or create fantastic wall pieces all with textured surfaces perfect for embellishment with embroidery or beads.
Weaving for felt
Knitting for felting is all the rage these days, but now weavers can experience the fun of creating unique felted textiles from a woven base. We will weave at least two great looks using two entirely different felting processes all from one warp. Along the way you will learn a few loom weaving tricks, how to lay out wool fibers for felting, how to use decorative yarns and embellishments to their best advantage, and two wet felting processes.
See Handwoven Magazine article in May/June 2013 issue, page 54
Nuno Felting Workshops available for guilds:
Half day classes:
Bags, Bags, Bags
Use the differential shrinkage properties of wool and silk to create a uniquely textured textile the perfect weight for a handbag. We will cover patterned silk cloth with wool roving and laminate the wool to the silk. We will make a simple coordinating handle, learn a quick trick to reign in the resulting ruffles, and discuss how to stitch the whole thing together once the fabric dries. You’ll enjoy carrying the most unique bag around.
Shorter scarves and collars are the perfect thing at home on cold winter evenings, to upcycle an old shirt, or when you don’t want the bulk of a full size scarf. Loop scarves offer endless draping options. The addition of soft silk chiffon in the nuno felt process adds just that much more luxury. In this class we’ll look many ways merino fibers can gather the chiffon for a custom fit, then make your choice of style.
Nuno Felt: Run Around
Imagine all those beautiful nuno felt textures gracing your dinner table. Plus a decorative nuno felt table runner is a great way to use up all those silk scarves, lightweight handkerchiefs and skirts, and bits of handspun from your stash. Choose your colors for holiday use (watch out Martha Stewart!) or just go wild with color and texture. We’ll create a nuno felt collage fabric perfect for your table.
Nuno Felt: Bags, Bags, Bags #1 Classic bag with fold over flap
There are many ways to make bags, so I offer two different nuno felt resist options. In this class we’ll make a classic bag shape with fold over flap. You’ll laminate cloth to one side of the wool for a self-lined bag and create your own unique design on the outside. You will learn how to work with resists, a great start on 3D felting.
Nuno Felt: Bags, Bags, Bags #2 Pouch with extra pocket
In this class we’ll make a pouch with decorative edges and a pocket for a small electronic device. You’ll laminate cloth to one side of the wool for a self-lined bag and create your own unique design on the outside. You will learn how to work with resists, a great start on 3D felting.
Nuno Felt: It’s Curtains for You
The translucent light weight chiffon that is so easy to laminate to wool in the nuno felt process makes the perfect window accent. You can create a window panel or long valance. You’ll have your choice of curves and ruffles or more formal clean-cut options. Think whimsical windows.
Think texture, think shape, think color. Think scarves, pillows, pocketbooks and garments. Think your wildest dreams; just donÕt think inside the box. We will laminate wool fiber to all textures and weights of silk and cotton cloth in this wet felting class and send you home with finished pieces and samples for future projects. An embellisher machine will be available for you to try. This is a weekend long class.
Beginning Nuno Felting
Nuno Felting is the process of laminating wool to selected areas of a base cloth. In this beginner class we’ll master the process by making several small humanoids, animals, and ornaments. These smaller projects are a fun introduction to the process and give you the skills needed to make larger projects successfully. Merino fleece, base cloths, and decorative items will be provided.
Intermediate Nuno Felting
In this class you will make a lightweight drapeable wool and silk scarf. We will discuss appropriate materials and see samples of finished pieces. You will go home inspired by the limitless possibilities of this exciting process and what you can do next. Marino fleece, fabrics, and decorative items will be provided. Students are asked to bring a roll of bubble wrap 12 inches x 2 yards min., (make sure only one side is smooth), small amounts of fibers or yarns you’d like to try (optional), and rubber gloves.
Advanced Nuno Felting
Now that you know the basics of nuno felting, you can push the boundaries to make wild and funky textured scarves. Some of the new techniques we will try are: adding fringes, making puckered and sheered textures, shaping the fabric by changing the direction of the fibers, and alternating the side of the fabric that has added fibers. Marino fleece, fabrics and decorative items will be provided. Students are asked to bring a roll of bubble wrap 12 inches x 2 yards min., (make sure only one side is smooth), small amounts of fibers or yarns you’d like to try (optional), and rubber gloves.
Seamless Joins (full day only, advanced class)
Creating a seamless garment is a week long class. This advanced nuno felt class is an introduction to garment making. You will make a sample seam, learn alternate ways to lay out fibers and begin the initial shrinkage, and construct a pattern for a full sized vest to make after class.
Felted Bead Workshop
Felted beads can be a colorful and unique addition to any wardrobe, be used as buttons, or just sit in a bowl and look beautiful. In this class, we’ll make wet felted beads of several sizes and shapes and in many colors. We’ll embellish them with beads, yarns, and even tie-dye them. This is a fun and creative class.
Dyeing Outrageous Cloth
Using silk and cotton fabrics with cold water dyes, we will create bold designs that are perfect for enhancing nuno felt base cloth. These are quick and fun techniques that make textiles that can stand alone as beautiful pieces or be used as a base for laminated felt. Be careful: these techniques are addictive, you can’t do just one.
Nuno felt on outrageous cloth
Using the cloth dyed during the previous class we will delve into the exciting craft of nuno felting. This wet felting process offers an endless number of possibilities to create new textures and shapes by varying the base cloths and the manner in which the fibers are arranged. Once felted, the fleece acts like a color wash that adds depth to the finished look. We will use different fleeces, pre felts, rolags and try an embellisher machine to create exciting new textures that cry out for further embellishment.
Weaving classes available for guilds and conferences.
Plain Weave Revisited
Take a second look at plain weave and you’ll find it’s not so plain after all. Utilizing color and weave effects, differential shrinkage, novelty yarns, spaced warps, and a few other creative surprises, you’ll find there are a myriad of possibilities for this simple weave structure. Working as a round robin class with pre warped looms, you’ll go home with a sampler of possibilities for full sized projects.
If you can cut it with scissors, you can weave it. Coke bottles both plastic and aluminum, used tea bags, q-tips, parchment paper, coffee bags, all your old clothing: this class invented “think outside the box”. Join me for a fun time keeping things out of the global scrap heap a while longer.
In this class we will jump right into the basics of weaving without the need for complicated and expensive looms. Inkle looms are an easy way to make narrow bands in any size from bookmarks to guitar straps, belts, or even wrist distaffs. Colorful bands are simple and straightforward to warp, about as close to instant gratification as you can get with weaving. (This class can have an LED light added in the weaving process.)
The Woven Journal
Spend time exploring and rethinking your environment to create a small woven journal of your experiences. Capture the color and emotion of your day. After spending time with Geri, your view of your world, environment and your art will expand and will connect your daily life more closely to your weaving. This is an off loom class, open to all levels of experience.
1 or two days
Off Loom Weaving Projects
There are many wonderful off loom projects that use small amounts of yarns. We’ll begin by constructing a simple loom from inexpensive materials. While you’re weaving, we’ll look at a number of other simple looms and small projects. These projects are also suitable for use with children. We’ll discuss what ages are appropriate and a few hints on working in groups. All supplies, handouts, and materials for making the other sample looms you didn’t get time for in the class are provided.
1 or 2 days
Geri Forkner has been referred to as a folk artist. In 2005 she began a journey that started on a whim and has continued until this day. Because she has long been interested in repurposing things nobody wanted but were too good to throw away, she decided to make a small weaving of things that came into her life that day, every day for one week. Then maybe continue for one month, before long there were 365 small weavings. With no overall plan, the pieces, when viewed as a whole, didn’t seem to hold together as an “art work”. There was no intentional line to follow, no triangular forms for the eye to find, no color to walk the observer’s eye through the piece. Art 101 it was not. But the final piece held together with the rhythm of its 3” squares. The biggest surprise for Geri came when she exhibited the third year of her ongoing project. People were drawn into the strips finding everyday things they could relate to. Join Geri for the “Daily Weaving” story to find out her motivations, spin off projects, and an insight into her latest effort to deal with a lifetime’s accumulation of making one of everything.
Geri Forkner is a multi media fiber artist based in East Tennessee. As well as constantly honing her skills as a weaver and felter, she has spent many years exploring ways to save materials from the global scrapheap. She enjoys using the traditional fiber processes in unique ways to express ideas about life. Her newest passion is the new world of wearable technology. In this presentation Geri will take you on a tour of East Tennessee, South East Asian countries she has visited, art work inspired by these locations, and just enough e-textiles to raise your curiosity.
In November, 2015, Geri Forkner went on a 2 week journey to Peru that focused on the weaving villages in the Peruvian highlands. Along with visiting 5 weaving communities and interacting with all the weavers, she also visited some of the greatest archaeological sites of the Incan Empire. The tour benefited the weaving communities affiliated with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco begun by Nilda Challanaupa 20 years ago. Her goal was to revitalize the traditional techniques and materials of weaving that dated back to pre-Columbian times. This slide presentation will take viewers to the five weaving villages and give an insight into ancient Incan culture that is behind the traditional weaving. Textiles representative of the techniques, yarns dyed with local natural dyes, and tools will be available to view first hand.
Geri Forkner has traveled to countries in South East Asia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru in search of traditional fiber processes. Forgo jet lag and join her on a whirlwind tour to see traditional weaving, spinning and dyeing along with the countryside that influences the artists. Textiles from each country will be available to view first hand.
Fiber Art Residency
Learning about fiber art is a perfect way to take a cultural trip around the world. Looms ranging from the simplest pile of sticks to the most modern computer assisted machines are all in use today. Starting right here in Appalachia and continuing around the globe the history, future, and culture of weaving has enough stories to fascinate everyone. There are endless curriculum tie-ins to social studies, math, science, and art. Students will learn about how their clothes are made by spinning, dying, and weaving yarns; create a group project on a floor loom utilizing items brought in from home; weave an individual off loom project and write a story about it.
Students will understand how clothes are made by spinning, weaving, and dyeing yarns; compare and contrast different fibers; try on clothes from other countries; participate in group activities related to the fiber arts; and write stories about their projects.
Students will learn that clothes are made in many different countries from different fibers. They will understand the dyeing, weaving, and spinning processes. They will learn hand-weaving skills, appreciate the clothing and customs of different cultures, and learn how to write a color story.
Electrical Craft for Classroom, Art, and Science Teachers
Using easy to come by supplies, such as salt clay and aluminum foil, we will construct LED circuits cleverly disguised as craft projects. The vast and complicated world of electronics will be simplified with Internet resources in plain English. There are no engineering or soldering skills required for the workshop; however, for those of you with programming skills, the new world of electronic textiles will amaze you with its possibilities. Appropriate for First through High School.
Teach simple electrical circuits to children as young as first grade. Use conductive and non-conductive clays in combination to light up LEDs. You can teach sculpture and electricity all at the same time. Perfect for STEAM education.
Light Up Sculptures
In this hands-on class we’ll make action sculptures using inexpensive and accessible materials then light them up with LEDs. No soldering needed. We’ll learn a simple electrical circuit easy enough for all levels of students.
Add electricity to art and craft paper projects you are already doing in your classroom. Using copper foil tape, create a simple electrical circuit to light up a greeting card or picture with LEDs. No soldering or engineering experience required.
Intro to e-Textiles for middle and high school
Clothing meets Electricity
If you are more interested in clothing than robots, this STEAM class will introduce you to the new world of electronic textiles. In this hands-on class, you will stitch an LED into a textile using conductive thread. You will be introduced to what’s possible in this rapidly expanding industry and learn a basic electric circuit all without needing an engineering degree. However, you might inspire some students in that direction. Interested in programming? We will also discuss what is possible with arduino, lily pad, and raspberry pi and see working examples.
Half Day Classes
Chemical Dyes Made Easy
Natural dyes have been used for centuries in every culture and on every continent. The colors range from bright to subtle and can last for hundreds of years when applied properly. In this workshop you will learn how to dye wool yarns beautiful colors using natural and chemical dyes that are foods and food safe. These are hands on projects that work in the classroom for all grade levels using a minimum of readily available inexpensive equipment. There will be plenty of curriculum tie-ins and maybe a snack or two as well.
Weavings made on simple hand held looms are the starting point for story telling in this hands on workshop. We’ll tell a color story then weave and write our own individual stories. In the process we will learn about traditional story cloths from cultures around the world, learn several weave structures, discuss alternate age appropriate weaving projects, and be amazed by some little known historical facts that will work as curriculum tie ins for multiple disciplines.
Electrical Craft for Classroom, Art, and Science Teachers
Using easy to come by supplies, such as salt clay and aluminum foil, we will craft LED circuits cleverly disguised as craft projects. The vast and complicated world of electronics will be simplified with Internet resources in plain English. There are no engineering or soldering skills required for the workshop; however, for those of you with programming skills, the new world of electronic textiles will amaze you with its possibilities. Appropriate for First through High School.
Common Core Standards:ELA
Speaking and Listening: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
State Standards Art:
Standard 1.0 Media, Techniques, and Processes Students will understand and apply media, techniques, and processes.
Embedded Technology and Engineering
Arts-Based Service Learning
For centuries families and communities gathered together to make their clothing and household linens by preparing fibers, spinning and dyeing yarns, and weaving or knitting fabrics. Today, the process of making clothing is fragmented – fibers may be grown in India, spun in Guatemala, dyed in the United States and assembled in Vietnam. In the process, we have lost not only the ability to make our own clothing, but also the cultural integrity that goes along with producing a unique, identifying garment from beginning to end. Teaching fiber arts raises an awareness of the issues of globalization, restores an element of cultural pride, and begins a conversation about local- and self-sufficiency. Community-wide, site specific, fiber arts projects have far reaching impacts both on the students that participate and the community that is the recipient.