One of the BEST things about Fiber College is how it can be very hard to tell the teachers from the students as you wander through the campground. Between classes, during the early morning hours, and late into the evening, there is so much making going on…it’s lovely! I will never forget watching Kris Weyrick-Scott create an AMAZING wet and needle-felted owl onto the back of her felted shawl. Folks gathered around continually to watch her work and see the bird come to life.
This year, Kris will be teaching her “Vegetarian Sheepskin” on Friday, September 8th from 9 AM to 1 PM. This sheep-friendly method is used to make raw fleece look like a sheepskin…without the skin! How cool is that? Let’s check in with Kris and then you can sign up for her class here.
Fiber College chooses a new theme every year. For 2017 It’s Re-Use, Re-Design, Re-create. How do you incorporate any part of this theme into an important part of your life?
This is so relevant to my fundamental way of living life and the way I was brought up. My parents recycled before it was easy to do (or cool). In fact, my Father spearheaded the movement to incorporate a recycling center in my hometown. Socks were darned, clothes were passed down, dolls were made from clothes pins and rags, and Sunday dinner was “re-designed” into meals all week long. It was a “waste no/want not” mentality that I try to incorporate into my life still.
Aside from your class, what is your favorite thing about Fiber College?
There are so many aspects of Fiber College that I love; I’m not sure I could pick a favorite, but I hope participants take advantage of the free demonstrations going on all weekend. By going to the demos, I have been introduced to aspects of Fiber Art that I would never have tried before. My body of work has grown and expanded past the confines of felting. Largely due to my experiences at Fiber College, I now incorporate dyeing, paper work, spinning, weaving, and wire work in my pieces. Going to the demonstrations doesn’t cost anything, and you never know when something small is going to rock your world!
How and what have your re-used as an Artist?
I re-use, re-design, and re-create every day in my studio. I’m lucky because wool is easy to reuse. Inside of my life size Great Blue Heron, I have three discarded projects rolled up and used as a base in his body. Recently, I made samples of vegetarian sheepskin from 8 different breeds of sheep to see the difference between them. I had them hanging around my studio for a couple months before I started using them in ways I had never thought of before. One turned into a wise Winter Spirit, another is sporting a Triqueta, and yet a third is in its second incarnation—I felted the head of a Mongolian man into the surface, but he creeped me out, so over his face I felted a lion (This is now among my favorite works!).
What is the best piece of advice a Mentor ever gave you?
My Mother is a wonderful Wood Carver and my greatest mentor. She says that sometimes the wood speaks to her and she just has to “bring out” what is already there, that you can’t always force it to be what is doesn’t want to be. I find that there are times when I can give myself over to the wool and let it decide what it is going to become. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does…that’s when magic happens!
Tell us about a time that you developed an exciting idea for your fiber art; where did the idea come from?
I dream a lot of my works into being. I’m not alone in this; I know a lot of Artists that dream about a project. It’s exciting, but can be exhausting too. I have many sleepless nights where I plan out all the steps and stages of a work and just count the hours until I can get back onto my studio to make my dream come to life. Other than lacking sleep, it works quite well for me as an Artist because by the time I get into my studio, I have done it many times in my head and it usually goes quite smoothly. It’s rather an obsessive thing, where I can’t rest until I get it out of my head and into my hands.
If you could re-design your life as a Fiber Artist, what would it look like?
I’m in the process of re-designing my professional life…a slow, but sure, transition into being a full-time Fiber Artist/Instructor. In some ways I regret that I discovered the wonderful world of wool so late in my life (I was 49 when I first felted), but then again, when I had young children at home, they were my priority so I wouldn’t have had as much time available for my artwork and students. These days, my time is much more my own to do with as I like…and I like to stab wool to life!
What is the most important thing that you want potential students to know about you?
When I teach, I try to give my students as much information as they want or can take in, and I enjoy watching where they go with it. I keep in touch with many of the students that I’ve had at Fiber College. I love hearing from them, seeing what they have been working on, and answering questions that they may have. I find it exciting to be part of the process as they move from learning a skill to becoming Artists in their own right. I’m always just an email or phone call away.
Didn’t meeting Kris get you totally inspired? You definitely don’t want to miss a chance to learn from one of the very best artists in the felting world. Go sign up for Kris’ class here while there’s still room!