Jennifer Bencharsky, Newberg, Oregon USA - Our Artist & Teacher-in-Residence
Jennifer first encountered felting while traveling in New Zealand in 2006 and fell in love with the medium.
When she returned to the U.S. she began a quest to find teachers in the techniques, but did not have much success and initially taught herself by watching Russian YouTube videos with the sound off and emulating what she saw. She later found a string of teachers and collaborators from around the world who have helped her validate and enhance her techniques and style. She has won awards for both her fine art pieces and wearable art clothing.
In her previous career, she conducted business education and seminars for hundreds and even thousands of people at once at individual events spanning over twenty years.
Patti Barker, San Juan Island, Washington, USA - Guest Artist/Teacher
Patti Barker is an award-winning felt wear designer, teacher and author. She earned a BA degree in Studio Art with a concentration in fiber from Western Washington University. All of her designs are produced with felted seams (no sewing). The fabric and garment are created simultaneously, using wet felting techniques. What makes her work unique is that she dyes most all of the elements in her work, and spins complimentary art yarns to use as embellishment. Patti lives in the San Juan Islands with her husband Rex, their dog Buddy and a parrot, Baby Huey. To see more of her work, visit pattibarker.com
"From the very beginning of my nuno felt experience, the process of transforming wisps of wool and silk into felted cloth with a little soapy water, has struck me as magical. It's that magical process, with its playful nature and subtle shifts, that leads to experimentation. My designs are come from many hours of saying "what happens if..." As a result, they express fun and whimsy, yet are functional. If a person feels a bit more playful or beautiful while adorned with my work, then I have succeeded."
All of Patti's designs are produced with felted seams (no sewing). The fabric and the garment are created simultaneously, using wet felting techniques. What makes them unique is her hand-dying of elements used. She also hand-spins her embellishing art yarns and totally enjoys the playfulness they bring to the process.
Nancy Balesteros, Perth, Australia - Guest Artist/Teacher
Artist Director and Founder of Treetops Colour Harmonies
Nancy Ballesteros has passionately worked with fabric all her life, she spent most of her childhood sewing and painting and was introduced to spinning, felting and dyeing while at the University studying Veterinary Medicine.
These elements quickly took over her life’s passion and I 1987 she hatched a fiber business called Treetops Colour Harmonies where she created color palettes on wool, silk fibers and fabrics.
After moving to Australia in 1990 she immersed herself in the science of wool, attended a technical Wool Classing course, and is continually studying about the science of felting. She has now been designing colors for textiles for over 20 years. Since 2014 he has taught in Australia, Europe, and the USA; mostly concentrating on unraveling the mysteries of working with silk and superfine Merino wool. Nancy was instrumental in developing the technique of Silk “paper”. She has written about felting in numerous publications and participated in many workshops and master classes. www.treetopscolours.au www.facebook.com/treetopscolours.