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Debbie Katz :: Workshop at Parrsboro Creative :: September 15 - 16, 2018

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Fibre artist, Debbie Katz lives and works on Pender Island, BC. She has been creating felted art for the past ten-years. Her work blurs the boundaries between art, fashion, and home décor in a colourful and sometimes humourous way. She sells her work at galleries in Victoria and Whistler as well as at Pender Island’s Farmers’ Market on. She was awarded a Juror’s Choice Award for her piece, Concealment, in the Sidney Final Arts Show.

Recently we talked to Debbie about her upcoming workshop in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and her teaching philosophy.

What is your favourite aspect of felting. What do you love about it?

I love the process involved in deconstructing an object; like a shell, a tree branch, a vessel, a hat seen from afar, and then reconstructing that object in felt. Turning a thought process into a tangible and, sometimes very successful felted piece, it is immensely rewarding. For me this is what moves felting-making from a interesting craft into an exciting art form. I also love the transition that occurs when working with ethereal wool roving or silk as it literally changes in my hands into a firm, functional fabric. And did I mention colour? I am wild for colour and creating vibrant powerful statements with colour in my pieces.

What do you hope your students will gain from my workshop?

One of the important thing that I hope they will learn on Day 1, when we make vessels, is that learning to use a plastic resist will then allow them to generalize this skill/technique of using resists to create any number of future projects; vessels, cozies, hats, purses,etc.

On Day 2, when we make nuno-felted scarves, I intend to teach the basic technique of binding fine wool fibre into woven silk to create a new fibre. Beyond that, the students will learn additional processes that may be applied to the surface structure using resist work, layering and pre-felts. In offering these different processes I hope that the students will realize a whole new set of design possibilities when nuno-felting.

What do you think surprises people when working with felt?

One surprise, that occurs is how suddenly, at a point usually near the end of the felting process, the felt suddenly becomes fibre; strong, sturdy and from that point on the piece will shrink dramatically if one is not careful! Another surprise is the non-static nature of feltmaking. The felt is always changing from one form to the next depending on the processes and techniques we use. And a third surprise is the sense of success and pleasure achieved by many beginning felt makers who may not have an extensive background in feltmaking and yet are able to create a beautiful garment or vessel using simple processes and materials and a sense of adventure and curiosity.

How long have you been felting? Who taught you?

I have been a felt-maker for ten years and began to follow the felting road after many years of knitting and enjoying other disciplines of fibre and collage. Felt-making, I soon found was entirely off the pattern book and appealed to my sense of adventure and creativity. A 3-hr workshop at Knotty by Nature in Victoria BC in 2008 was my first “teacher” and then I began to take workshops in and around the Southern Gulf Islands.

I have studied with Fiona Duthie, Laurie Steffler, Ulrieke Benner, Andrea Graham, Pam de Groot and the milliner, Tierre Joline. I attended the felt :: feutre canada Symposium on Salt Spring Island in 2013 and will also be attending the felt :: feutre canada Symposium in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia in October 2018. These symposiums are incredible learning experiences, meeting new teachers, going to evening lectures, new classmates. It’s like having a triple-shot espresso rather than a cappuccino.

In the past few years I have taken several on-line felting courses with Fiona Duthie and Pam de Groot. These have been fabulous experiences for me, allowing me to mix and mingle with fellow felt makers all over the world and at the same time receive very detailed and specific feedback on my work. And doing all of this work in my own home on my own time. Who could have imagined that such a hands-on process would work so brilliantly “in the cloud”?

Felting – Where Fine Craft Meets Art – Debbie Katz 

Where: Lab Studios and Gallery, 121 Main Street, Parrsboro, NS. Phone: 902-254-0617 Email: Date: September 15, 2018 10:00 am to September 16, 2018 4:00 pm Experience Level: Novice to Intermediate

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