Updated: Nov 4, 2021
The Felters’ Fling is a biennial event, held in late summer on the beautiful grounds of Snow Farm, the New England Craft Program in Massachusetts. Felters’ Fling offers a unique venue, where 80 or more feltmakers gather from North America and abroad. There are twelve different workshops to choose from taught by the finest felt art instructors from around the world. Camaraderie and creativity flourish as ideas and knowledge are shared. The open space and tranquil setting of Snow Farm provides a supportive, encouraging environment where new friends are made and old friendships are renewed. This year several Canadians attended as both participants and instructors.
Linda Armstrong, Kim Tucker, and Chris Ferguson share their reflections on their Fling experiences with us here.
Kim Tucker wearing work by Beth Marx in the Fling fashion show
Linda Armstrong describing her class to the participants
Linda Armstrong and the other workshop participants in Pam de Groot’s class.
Being ‘flung’ into the FLING! A Canadian perspective and from one new to the felting world…
What to do when you have a PASSION for textural applications -RETIRE from teaching art, pack up your paint box and set off to discover a new world of fibre arts.
My exposure to this amazing world of felting has reached a climax this past week as I travelled for the first time to Snow Farm from Ontario, Canada as a ‘newbie’ to learn specifically about garment making. I’ve come away with SO MUCH more. My head is spinning with the many new ideas and techniques presented to me through the amazing collaboration of new and ‘seasoned’ artisans. With the aid of gifted instructors, in so many varied forms of felting making, the Felters’ Fling is a community of diverse creative thinkers who support the work of all participants-whether it is through the sharing of ideas, materials, resources, fashion shows and incredible felters’ work with nightly guest artisan lectures.
Fiona Duthie said it best, “This is a celebration in movement, alive with incredible positive motivation”.
My journey has just begun! You know you are in the right place when going braless and wearing Birkenstocks RULE.
Thank you for a rewarding week of personal exploration!
Kim Tucker in Chris Lines workshop.
After an eight hour drive the quaint town of Williamsburg, Massachusetts was a welcome sight. Our destination of Snow Farm lay on the outskirts of the village just beyond the tidy clapboard houses. Upon arriving, we were warmly greeted and shown our lovely cabins which would be home for the week. I liken the Felter’s Fling experience to a fantastic adult summer camp where we participated daily in our favourite activity and where a 4:00pm cocktail was welcome. A biennial event, Felter’s Fling is a gathering of like minded people, predominately women. We came from all walks of life and from different stages in life but we were unified by the desire to learn, to explore possibilities, experiment, and push the boundaries of the medium of felt in a supportive and nurturing environment.
A mecca of felting activity for eight days; studios were full of people working their craft, sometimes well into the night as classes neared completion. The instructors challenged participants to consider new concepts, apply new methods, experiment with new materials, consider design implications and the context in which our work would be engaged with; offering a new depth to the felt we were making. We were both beginner and experienced. I was surrounded by richly varied colours, designs and texture and I was both humbled and inspired by the creativity and skill of the students and instructors alike.
I normally work in a solitary studio environment so I found the experience of working within a group a uniquely pleasurable experience. In particular, hearing and telling our individual stories while working away, I realized that through this time honoured sharing there was a natural coming together and forging of connections. In a way, the richness of our life experiences are intricately intertwined and not dissimilar to the melding of fibres we were working with our hands. On completion of Felter’s Fling I’ll admit I was feeling a little winded but I was completely charmed by the adventure.
Chris Ferguson and Kim Tucker in Chris Lines workshop.
In the fall of 2015 I travelled from my home in Lakefield to take a felting workshop in Michigan. Throughout the workshop, there was lots of chatter about something called ‘Fling’. Many of the participants in the workshop had just been a couple of months earlier to ‘Felters’ Fling’ and had stressed that it was a ‘must do’ for those with a passion for felt making. I filed this away in the back of my mind in a place marked ‘maybe in the future’. This past winter I checked the Felter’s Fling website and marked the registration date on my calendar with a red circle. Summer isn’t the easiest time to get away for a week with my three kids off school but I was able to pull in the reinforcements at home to make it happen. With my minivan loaded down with two other Canadian felting friends, Kim Tucker and Linda Armstrong and all of our supplies for the week, wool and bubblewrap piled to the ceiling, we were off on our road trip to our first Felters’ Fling. Having never been to this part of the United States it was as picturesque as I had imagined. Quaint little towns with painted clapboard houses, rolling hills and valleys with red barns and beautiful views. Snow Farm is a lovely spot nestled in the hills and the perfect place to settle in for a week of creativity and community. We arrived just in time to catch the vendors market, mad hatter’s parade and welcome wine and cheese. Immediately we felt at home as first timers with a real spirit of openness and camaraderie in the air. Participants staying for the entire week either signed up for two three day or one six day workshop. I spent the first three days with Fiona Duthie taking her class ‘Felt Sculpture for Outdoor Installation’ where we learned about the properties of felt that make it an option for outdoor installation. We walked the property and discussed ideas and considerations for taking our felt into the outdoor environment and then worked together to create our own installations around the Snow Farm property. At the end of the first set of classes work was set out in the main hall for all to see and a designated participant was chosen to speak about their workshop. I really appreciated the opportunity to see the work of the other groups and added to my personal list of ‘workshops I would like to take’. Participants also brought work to contribute to an exhibition, beautifully set up by ‘Fling’ volunteers. It was wonderful to see the diversity in the work that people are doing and I walked away with plenty of creative inspiration. The day between workshops was a day of rest and an opportunity to explore the local area. I filled my van and we headed to New England Felting Supply which is only a 30 minute drive away and poked around the bustling town of North Hampton. After a full day exploring, we returned for dinner and the evening fashion show. My second workshop was with Chris Lines, ‘Pre-felt for Design’ where we worked through sketches keeping in mind elements of design and completed a wallhanging. One of the great things about the Snow Farm location was access to the studios into the evenings and many of us took advantage of this, felting into the wee hours to get work complete. I came away from my first Felters’ Fling feeling creatively recharged. It was a week of wonderful conversations, encouragement and plenty of laughs. It left me feeling grateful for this larger felt making community I have stumbled into. Definitely worth the drive across the border!
Kim Tucker and Chris Ferguson with some of the workshop participants with the installation from Fiona Duthie’s workshop.