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The first issue of Textile Forum magazine in the year 1982
was already devoted to the subject of Felt
The first issue of our magazine, published in 1982, was devoted to “Faserstrukturen – Filz (Fibre Structures – Felt)”, a theme we complemented with a contribution on hand papermaking. At the time, our figurehead was French artist Claudie Hunzinger, who lived on a farm in the Vosges mountains with her husband and two children. To reach her home, situated on a hill far from urban centres, we had to trudge through thick snow in the winter of 1981.
There were obvious parallels to that visit when in January 2010, some 29 years later, we trudged through another snowy landscape, Frisia in the northern Netherlands, to visit Claudy Jongstra. This was an encounter of the same kind! We wrote in our very first Editorial: “This magazine issue deals with fibre structures, using felt and paper as examples. Rediscovery of old fibre processing techniques manifestly re-establishes the relationship between animal and plant resources and objects for everyday use, and can inspire people to experience the material world in new ways.”
The climate was changing even then. There was an eco movement even then. The only thing that didn’t exist at the time was climate conferences one could cause to fail...
At the time, our theme divided our editorial team. A serious master weaver left us because she believed that felt and paper were not textile themes suitable for launching a magazine on textile culture.
People in Germany have a tendency to sleep through new trends. No later than the mid 1970s, felt began to feature in museum exhibitions and contributions to Fiberarts magazine in the USA. In 1979, the London Crafts Council enabled an exhibition and publication entitled, “The Art of the Felt Maker” by Mary E. Burkett. As early as the 1960s, the overly sensitive German artist Joseph Beuys had already discovered felt as a symbol of warmth and life energy for his art, as we explained in Textilforum 1/82 at the time.
By now felt has found wide-spread support in art, the crafts and design all over the world, and has experienced a boom otherwise only seen in knitting, patchwork/quilting and silk painting. In Britain, the felters’ community has been shaped by the International Feltmakers’ Association since 1984, one of its media being Felt Matters magazine. A very lively felters’ network was established in Germany in 2005 and has launched a highly instructive magazine, entitled FUN, which now operates independently. We are just not in a position to provide exhaustive information on events in that field to the felting community.
In this issue, we pay homage to a scheme that is remarkable for our day and age, which is not exactly characterised by intensive international cooperation in Europe – an exhibition project undertaken by three European felters’ associations. Such initiatives are now rare as enthusiasm for the idea of a united Europe, sparked by political change in 1989/90, has waned noticeably since then, although our magazine has been an advocate for it ever since.
Thus, this issue does not explore a trendy theme; on the one hand, we pay homage to felters of merit from the early days, such as Mari und István in Hungary, and on the other hand, we draw attention to a project in Soltau, Lüneburger Heide, that has not quite got off the ground yet, but that we would still like to bring to the notice of an international public. Beatrijs Sterk / Dietmar Laue Note: Felt is in the air! The winter issue of the US American Surface Design magazine also is focusing on the theme of felt! (http://www.surfacedesign.org)
SOME HANDFELTERS GROUPS WORLD International Feltmakers Association/UK, http://www.feltmakers.com (postal address for membership subscribers only) EUROPA Filznetzwerk e.V./D, www.filznetzwerk.de (in German only) Filteforeningen Grima/DK, www.grima.dk (in Danish only) Filtti/Finnish Felt Association/FIN, www.filtti.fi Norske Filtmakere/Norwegian Feltmakers/N, http://www.norskefiltmakere.no (no distinct postal address indicated) Vilt Kontakt Groep/NL, http://www. viltkontaktgroep.nl (in Dutch only, no distrinct postal address) Reunione die Feltrai Italiani Feltrosa/I, http://www.evabasile.it/felt/feltrosa.html (in Italian only) Feltmakers Ireland, http://feltmakersireland.com (postal address for membership subscription only) USA Northeast Feltmakers Guild/New England, http://www.northeastfeltmakersguild.org (no postal address indicated) AUSTRALIA Canberra Region Feltmakers, www.crfelters.org.au FeltWEST Inc., http://www.feltwest.org.au (postal address for membership subscription only)
DATES OF INTEREST TO FELTERS 1-5 Apr. 2010 The Canberra Region Feltmakers at the Australian National Folk Festival http:// crfelters.org.au/crf-at-the-national-folk-festival 24-25 Apr. 2010 Final FILZ (FELT) exhibition, Ballenberg, Switzerland (http://www. ballenbergkurse.ch) 1-6 May 2010 Festival des Arts de la Laine (Wool Art Festival) and exhibition, “Laines d’Europe” by ATELIER, the international wool network (http://pagesperso-orange.fr/atelier.laine), Bergerie Nationale de Rambouillet, France (http://www.bergerie-nationale.educagri.fr), 10th International Merino Wool Conference 1 June 2010 Registration deadline for “Fibre & Fleece Fashion & Exhibition”, Opotiki, New Zealand, 9th to 11th July 2010 (http://www.fibreandfleece.co.nz) 7 May -7 July Beginning of the travelling exhibition, “The Climate is Changing” at the 2010 Prato Textile Museum, Italy (http://www. museodeltessuto.it), in conjunction with the Feltrosa Feltmakers’ Meeting + IFA Conference 15 – 18 July 2010 15th Feltmakers’ Meeting of Filznetzwerk Deutschland, Hattingen/Ruhr, Germany (http://www.filznetzwerk.de) 28 July -1 Aug.20th anniversary of Grima, the Danish felters’ association, Silkeborg 2010 (http://www.grima.dk) 29 – 31 Oct.2010 11 èmes Journées Nationales de la laine (National Wool Days), Felletin, France (http://www.histoiresdelaine.fr) 24 – 30 Apr. 2011 International Symposium and Exhibition on Natural Dyes (ISEND 2011), La Rochelle, France (http://www.isend2011.com) 2011(Sept.?) 11th Southern Hemiphere Feltmakers Convergence, Bunbury, Western Australia (www.feltmakersconvergence.blogspot.com)