Monday, 25 March 2013

Felt Making - An Ancient Art with Melanie Bermingham

For our March meeting, Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild welcomed Melanie Bermingham to speak about the history of felt making. She brought loads of fabulous samples of felt with her, both her own creations and pieces she has picked up on her extensive travels through countries that have a long history of making felt.

Hats
Melanie brought a range of hats and hair pieces, many based on her extensive research into the felt making practices of several ancient civilisations. She spoke about these people, really bringing the items to life with her tales of how they were worn and what they could have meant to the wearer.

Mongolian Mat

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Melanie has travelled extensively in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and other felt making regions, and has collected some lovely contemporary examples of felt making from these countries, which she shared with us. Mongolian felt making is characterised by white felt with patterned stitching.

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Felts produced in Kyrgyzstan are often more coloured, like these white on brown appliques, which use both the positive and negative to make a pair of pieces.

Vessels

As well as her extensive research into felt making, Melanie is an accomplished felt maker in her own right, and brought many of her beautiful felted items to show us, including these lovely vessels...

A hat

...hats...

A scarf

Scarves

...and scarves.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. Melanie runs a number of interesting looking courses at her studio, The Felt Studio @Ridware Arts, which is not too far away, about 9 miles north of Lichfield - see thefeltstudio.moonfruit.com for details.

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