I think of Chad Alice Hagen as a redheaded whirlwind. Best to get a lot of sleep before one of her workshops ~ you will definitely need the stamina. And you probably won't be dozing during demos, won't be nipping out for *whatevers* because you will have stood in front of a table like this with your mind a bit blown and like most of us in her workshops, chomping at the bit to learn just HOW Chad makes these merino felt(ed) beauties.
"Resist Dyeing and Book Making" was held on our little island last summer. Chad traveled all the way from her Asheville, NC digs to teach for three glorious days. She only brought a few things with her ;>}
Day one was about learning to resist dye the merino wool pre-felts using a huge assortment of binding, pinching, clamping, clipping and banding objects. Our dye station was set up outside, the perfect spot for three of these:
While the Dye Master (Chad, in the yellow apron) kept the dye pots cooking, the sorters were kept busy. Each bucket held all the bundles from one student which had to be separated between successive dye baths. This is when the anticipation really started to build ~ waiting to unwrap our precious bundles was grueling!
By the second day, our felts (laid to dry on tables overnight) were ready for some serious scrutiny which included a whole lot of oooohing and aaaaahing and, "Can I have that one?" I think I actually told someone that one of her pieces was going to disappear off her table overnight, HA! The goal was to pick two pieces to embellish for book covers. Chad made the rounds, offering her own share of ooohs & aaahs & "oops, that one fell in my pocket"...
Then came the hard part (for me anyway)...the bookbinding. I don't think I have hands built for the task so I fumbled, grew a tad peeved with myself and decided in the end that stitching and beading were softer alternatives. Book making is best left to stronger hands. Sometimes it is just as important to know what we shouldn't be doing as it is to know what we should, right?
Here's a group view below of the covers for our coptic books, embellished with stitching and beadwork and ready to be filled with pages. That stunning black & blue one (2nd row on the right) belongs to my good friend Robin A., who came over from a neighboring island to join us for the workshop. She wrote a wonderful post on her blog Beadlust, about this workshop. If you aren't already familiar with Robin's extraordinary beadwork, leave a few moments to peruse the rest of her blog, too - it will not disappoint!
Although I didn't complete my coptic book, I did finish my little wrap journal. The binding on the spine was quite easy to get the hang of and I adore Chad's version of the bone and leather closure.
For Chad's own tales of her time out west, don't miss her post about it over on News from Studio A & B. I think she liked it here. She is threatening to come back.
In the meantime, check out Chad's Flickr photos of her FeltBooks and be prepared to drool.