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Felted Forms In Sculpture

Anita Larkin
  • Term: Summer School Week One 2018
  • Start Date: 8 Jan 2018
  • End Date: 12 Jan 2018
  • Time: Mon-Fri, 9:30AM - 4:30PM
  • Number of Classes: 5
  • Teacher: Anita Larkin
  • Level: All Levels
  • Age: All Ages
  • Early Fee: $689.00
  • Early Alumni Fee: $655.00
  • Early Concession Fee: $655.00
  • Location: The National Art School
  • Availability: Available

Handmade felt is a wonderful, malleable medium that can form complex shapes, creating an eloquent and intriguing avenue for contemporary sculpture. Learn the fundamental felting techniques, constructing seamless three-dimensional forms using resist patterns, modelling solid felted shapes, and making felt around wire. Anita Larkin discusses the use of felt as a metaphor in artwork, considering its properties of insulation, its primal natural origins, its history as a protective shelter, its absorption of sound and moisture, and its tactile qualities as points of investigation in a sculpture. She shows examples of felted wool sculptural objects from the 5th century BC through to those of modern artists such as Joseph Beuys and Marion Borgelt. Drawing and collage exercises will also be used throughout the course to develop ideas for sculptural forms.

Anita Larkin

Sculptor Anita Larkin has been working in the mediums of hand-made felt, bronze and collected objects since 1993. Represented by Defiance Gallery, Sydney, she has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts. Anita’s textile sculptures have been shown in the Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW, the Museo del Tessuto,Italy, the Blake Prize, the International World Textile Art Biennial of Contemporary Art, Sculptural Felt International and the 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial. She has taught felt-making and sculpture for 20 years. Visit her website at

Important note: Students need to be aware that felting can be quite a physical activity. Bring a drink, snacks and wear comfortable shoes.

Felting equipment

  • Either a piece of grip mat (this is sold to stop rugs sliding on the floor) or a matchstick blind (cords etc removed) approx. 80cm x 80cm wide or whatever you have close to that measurement.
  • A synthetic/terylene net about 50cm x 50cm or similar
  • A cake of soap (olive soap is good)
  • A felting pear, or something (a bottle) to impart the water onto the wool
  • A 10 litre plastic bucket, or large plastic container
  • About 30 plastic clothes pegs (ones that open with a wide jaw not push on ones)
  • A towel
  • Plastic apron
  • A fulling board if you have one (this is corrugated like a washboard)
  • Any fulling tools you use (I find a citrus reamer useful)
  • Unspun Wool Fibre that has been washed and carded during its processing – 1.5 kilo in total. Colours are entirely up to you. We will be using some coarser wool around 29 micron (eg corriedale, finn, gotland, crossbreed, or strong merino or similar sheep) you may also use a finer fibre of around 22 micron (e.g. merino).
  • Some odd and ends, yarns, for felt surface design if you fancy this.
  • Scissors to cut the felt, scissors to cut plastic, a waterproof permanent marker, a dressmakers measuring tape, and long needle (such as an upholstery or doll makers needle) and some strong thread/yarn (linen thread or similar). 1 pair of long nose pliers that will cut and bend tie wire 1mm thick. I pair of flat nosed pliers.
  • Foam underlay 2mm thick (the stuff that goes under floating floorboards as insulation) (about 2m x 2m)
  • A piece of bubble-wrap about 1.5m x 1.5 m
  • About 5 x A2 size sheets of paper and pen/pencils for drawing, collage and working out ideas, paper scissors, sticky tape