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					                                                                          Our creative teacher                 Find her at                                                                                                                                             teach your passion
                                                                          this month is                        www.heartandsoulaustralia.com   “I enjoy encouraging others to explore




        teacher
                                                                          Wendy Bailye                         www.flickr.com/photos/          their individual creativity,” says Wendy
                                                                                                               xena-feltwoman                  Bailye. “I am convinced that we are all
                                                                          Her specialty                        Mobile: 0409643220              incredibly artistic and creative, we just
                                                                          Felt art                             Email: bailye@ozemail.com.au    need to believe that we are - and have
                                                                                                                                               a teacher who believes in our ability!”
                                                                          Where she teaches
           profile                                                        Brisbane’s Textile Art Festival,
                                                                          the Craft & Quilt Fairs in Sydney,
                                                                                                                                               Wendy’s passion for felting took flight
                                                                                                                                               around 16 years ago when a girlfriend
                                                                          Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide                                        showed her how to make a piece of
                                                                          plus her home studio and more.                                       felt at home. “We both had small
                                                                                                                                               children at the time so I made a hat
                                                                                                                                               for my son and a small flat piece and
                                                                                                                                               that was it. I was off.”

No patterns, no rules and it’s useful –                                                                                                        Since then Wendy, already a qualified
just three of the many things that felting                                                                                                     Home Economics and Special Needs
authority, Wendy Bailye, says make her                                                                                                         teacher, has taken classes, read
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Above: Wendy Bailye says felting is so
                                                                                                                                               books and played and played with felt,
artistic medium so ideal. As the guest                                                                                                                                                                                                                        much fun, “sometimes it seems like too
                                                                                                                                               along the way becoming an exhibiting                                                                           much fun”. Left: ‘Tree of Life’.
artist of the Craft & Quilt Fairs this year                                                                                                    artist and a respected teacher. Her
in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and                                                                                                             fascination and love of felting has
Adelaide, visitors will see a special                                                                                                          never waned and her position as an           “When I start up a lot of people have              Wendy takes tufts of pure wool, hand
display of Wendy’s creations. For those                                                                                                        official artist of the Craft & Quilt Fairs   never seen a piece of felt being made              dyed in a myriad of rainbow colours,
attending the Textile Art Festival (29 – 31                                                                                                    simply allows her to spread the felting      before,” she says. “I am mostly using              and works them into pieces ranging
May at Brisbane Exhibition Centre, South                                                                                                       message further.                             silk fabric and wool. We live in the               from wearable arts and decorator items
                                                                                                                                                                                            tropics so I make a lightweight felt. It’s a       to large framed felt artworks. The work
Bank) there is the opportunity to study
                                                                                                                                               “Felt making is an ancient textile art       great way to use recycled materials too.”          is embellished with hand dyed pure
with Wendy. And for those who can’t                                                                                                            with a long and fascinating history. It is                                                      silk, mohair and exotic threads.
make it, just turn the page … Wendy has                                                                                                        also a fabulous contemporary art form        Living 30 minutes North West of
produced a special project just for us.                                                                                                        that has many practical and modern           Brisbane, Wendy has the luxury of                  Her felted artwork has been purchased
                                                                                                                                               applications,” she explains. “Whilst it      living on 15 acres of beautiful land so            by private buyers in Australia and
                                                                                                                                               is quite simple to learn, mastering the      she finds inspiration in abundance at              abroad and rests in private collections
                                                                                                                                               medium can become an all consuming           her front door. She also does a lot of             in Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Sydney
                                                                                                                                               passion … I am continuously refining         surfing on the internet where she says             and Melbourne.
                                                                                                                                               my skills and learning from many other       she is constantly amazed by the work
                                                                                                                                               talented fibre artists who so generously     people do.                                         A great part of the appeal of felting
                                                                                                                                               share their wealth of knowledge with                                                            for Wendy, besides the creative
                                                                                                                                               me … Each year there are specialist          From her home studio Wendy also                    expression, is the form’s social
                                                                                                                                               felting courses in Australia and             runs classes where, amidst her family              and collaborative essence. “For
                                                                                                                                               overseas which I try and attend. It is       orchards, vegetable garden and chook               instance, she says, “once a week, I
                                                                                                                                               very much a craft that is passed on          sheds, students – never more than                  am collaborating with another textile
                                                                                                                                               from person to person and this element       eight at a time – can be inspired.                 artist – a quilter and fabric dyer – who
                                                                                                                                               of felt making is one of its joys.”                                                             comes to my studio. We explore each
                                                                                                                                                                                            “It’s never boring,” says Wendy. “ It’s            other’s techniques and sometimes we
                                                                                                                                               Now working on her felt art full time,       so much fun, sometimes it seems like               jump up and down together because
                                                                                                                                               Wendy first began selling her work           too much fun. Everything I do is a one-            we’ve discovered something new or
                                                                                                                                               and passing on her techniques when           off and that is what I enjoy. Even my              we’re having such a good time.
                                                                                                                                               her family had an organic food store         classes are the same. You never know
                                                                                                                                               and gift shop. “I just started running       what is going to happen. Everyone                  “I am an active textile practitioner,”
                                                                                                                                               workshops from the store,” says              brings something different to class,               says Wendy. “Always studying and
                                                                                                                                               Wendy. Now, while they no longer have        from adults to seven-year-old boys.                honing my craft. I love to learn from
                                                                                                                                               the shop, Wendy’s felt work continues,       So many people come in saying that                 others and also enjoy opportunities to
                                                                                                                                               stronger than ever. She has refined her      they’re not creative. At the end of my             mentor others in the textiles field.”
                                                                                                                                               methods more and more so that there          class you’ll know you’re creative and
                                                                                                                                               is “the least mess possible” and so          there’s no drawing required and no                 Useful links:
                                                                                                                                               she finds herself doing demonstrations       patterns. With felting you’re basically            www.craftfair.com.au and
                                                                                                                                               and teaching classes everywhere from         painting and drawing with wool. It’s               www.textileart.com.au or call
     This page: The beautiful and diverse work of Queensland’s Wendy Bailye.
                                                                                                                                               exhibition centres and galleries to hen’s    almost impossible to make a mistake.”              (02) 9452 7575.
                                                                                                                                               nights and baby showers.


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                                                                                                                                                                             teach your passion



                   dm felt &
     teacher hanric ade wer ties                    materials
                fab flo
                                                    • fabric*
                                                    • two 50cm x 50cm pieces of
        profile                                       bubble wrap (1cm bubbles)
                                                    • one 50cm x 50cm piece of nylon
                                                      tulle netting
                                                    • cotton knitting yarn scraps for
                                                      stamens (yellow or colour of
                                                      choice)
                                                    • carded merino wool tops                                                                 1                                                 2A
                                                      (rovings) in colours of choice
              Make these beautiful, simple felt       – 1.2m long roving for tie &
                                                      approx 25g for flowers (colours
              flower ties to adorn special gifts,
                                                      of choice). This will be enough for
              hair and hats. They are easy to         at least 4 flowers!
              make & a delight to give. Wendy       • plastic container for water
              Bailye, contemporary felt maker,      • bar of soap
              has created this original flower      • old supermarket grocery bag
              design for you.                       • old towel

                                                    *Finely cut up fabrics scraps (1cm
                                                    bits or smaller) – silk georgette,
                                                    cotton voile or cotton muslin. Silk                                                    2B                                                   2C
                                                    fabric gives a lovely shine. You could
                                                    cut up an old silk or voile shirt. I
                                                    love to use recycled garments such
                                                    as colourful old voile sarongs – who
                                                    hasn’t got a tragic too bright sarong
                                                    decorated with fishes lying in the
                                                    bottom drawer!! Recycle fabrics
                                                    if you can. The fabric needs to be
                                                    100% natural and it should be able
                                                    to be blown through i.e. you can feel
                                                    your breath going through the fabric
                                                    weave to the other side.                                                                  3                                                       4

                                                    step 1 - preparation                          can see the bubble wrap through the                step 4 – wetting
                                                    Place the bubble wrap bubble side up          petals) add another fine petal shaped              Dip your old grocery bag into the soapy
                                                    on a flat surface. Place warm water in a      wool layer on top. Twist each end of               water and apply the very wet soapy bag
                                                    container and swish your bar of soap in it    the petal (like waxing a moustache!!)              to the net covered flower once only.
                                                    till water is a little frothy. Remove soap.   Until you have a nice petal shape.                 Pat gently until the wool is very flat and
                                                                                                  Pull out both sides of each petal half             wet right through. If the wool roving is
                                                    step 2 – the flower                           way down so the petal is wider in the              still puffy add more water using plastic
                                                    Draw a 20cm diameter circle on a              middle otherwise the petals will be too            bag. Don’t rub! Remove excess water
                                                    piece of paper using a dark marker            thin when felted. Place all the wool               by covering the net covered flower with
                                                    (use a plate as a guide). Place it under      petals on the top of the bubble wrap               a dry old towel. Pat lightly on top of the
                                                    the bubble wrap, bubble side facing up.       using the circle template as a guide               towel with flat of hands once only. If you
                                                    Felt flowers shrink by about 40% - 50%        radiating from the centre. The flower              remove too much water it won’t felt.
                                                    if correctly hardened . Your finished         petals should overlap slightly at the              Remove towel. Carefully remove netting.
                                                    flower will be about 10cm in diameter.        centre point.
                                                    Cut 5 x 8cm long lengths of cotton yarn                                                          step 5 – felting
                                                    for stamens and put aside. Pull out 14        step 3 – decoration                                Roll up the flat flower tightly in the
                                                    x 8cm lengths of wool top (rovings).          Cut your fabric scraps into tiny pieces            bubble wrap. Put an old towel on table
                                                    Pull on the last 1cm of the roving to         and sprinkle on top of the wool petals             with rolled up bubble wrap on top.
                                                    get a nice layer- not too thick. Place        . When you are happy with the design,              Roll back and forwards for 40 rolls.
                                                    two layers of petals one on top of the        cover the flower with the piece of netting.        Unroll and carefully straighten up the
                                                    other. If it seems too thin (i.e. you                                                            flower stretching it back carefully into


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                                           5                                        6A                                           6B                                          7A                                                7B                                                   9A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             10




                                         6C                                         6D                                            6E                                         9B                                             10A                                                   10B

     a circular shape and pulling out the         a knot around the stamens. Pull knot       and forwards briskly until it is hard (at   step 8 – rinsing & drying                    firm up and form a skin. Then begin                still wet. Stitch multiple flowers on your
     petal centres so they are not too thin.      tight. Dip the stamens and knot briefly    least 5 minutes). Now with the flower       Rinse your flower until the water runs       to sprinkle a little soapy water on the            tie to make a hat band. Or make a little
     Smooth out creases. Roll the bubble          in the soapy water. The stem section       still in between your palms rub the         clear. Roll out the excess water in an old   roving and keep rolling it gently. Do              loop with the flower stem and it can be
     wrap from each of the remaining three        can stay dry until later. Pass the wool    flower petal section very vigorously        dry towel. Reshape and leave to dry in       this until the whole length is firming             a sliding flower! Make a necklace or
     sides for 40 rolls (160 rolls altogether).   knot through the hole in the flower from   until it starts to shrink. After 20 rubs    the shape you wish it to be and voila! A     up. This is a slow process. If you try to          lariat… or you could attach two flowers
     The wool should now have adhered to          the outside of the flower to the centre.   open out the petals so they are not         beautiful, original flower creation!         do it too quickly you will get creases             – one on each end of the tie. The
     the fabrics and have started to harden       Make sure the knot is sticking through     felting together and stretch and shape                                                   in your tie. Continue until the wool is            possibilities are endless. You can vary
     and shrink.                                  the flower at least 1cm.                   them a little. Pay special attention        step 9 – the tie                             completely wet and the felt is starting            the size of the flower by varying the size
                                                                                             to the middle part of the petal and         Carefully pull out a long length of roving   to harden. This will take about half an            of the circle you cut and adjusting the
     step 6 – attaching stamens                   step 7 – fulling (shrinking &              stretch it wider so the petals are not      about 1cm wide and 1.2m long. If it          hour of rolling! Stretch your tie as it            lengths of roving accordingly. You can
     & stem                                       shaping)                                   too skinny. Repeat the rubbing and          breaks you can join it by laying the         hardens and then roll it between your              also change the shape and number of
     Cut a 1cm slit in the centre of the          Gather the petals carefully around         shaping process at least four times         ends over each other and rolling them        palms until it is really hard.                     petals for a creative flower experiment!
     flower. Pull out a long 10cm length of       the stamens and the knot .Carefully        until you are happy with the shape          on the bubble wrap to rejoin the fibres.                                                        I would hope that every flower you make
     roving in a stem colour. Hold the wool       place the flower on the palm of one        and the petals are hard and able to         For a thicker tie make the roving 2cm        step 10 – finishing                                is different and you can experience the
     roving in two hands and tear a long          hand sideways. Rub the other hand          hold their shape. You can add a little      wide. Remember it will shrink by up to       The next step is attaching the flower              joy of how each flower has a life and
     length about 1cm in diameter from the        backwards and forwards over the            extra soapy water along the way if the      50%. Place the length of roving on the       to the tie. You can attach this in                 style of its very own.
     side of the roving. It should separate       knotted section only for five minutes      flower becomes dry. Don’t use too           bubble wrap and begin rolling it gently      many ways. Just stitch the flower with
     off easily. Lay this on the table top        or until the flower petals and knot        much soap or the flower becomes a           backwards and forwards with the palms        sturdy cotton to the tie wherever you
     and find the half way mark. Lay the          have stuck together at the base of         slippery unmanageable mess. If this         of your hands (no water). Do this the        would like. I use dental floss (clean of
     stamens across the wool roving at their      the flower. Wet the stem section and       happens just rinse in clear water and       length of the roving, moving it sideways     course!!) It makes a very sturdy waxed
     halfway point and tie the wool roving in     roll it between your palms backwards       keep going!                                 along the bubble wrap as you go. It will     thread and can be sewn if the felt is


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