She was bookin'...


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.


  1. sounds like a whirlwind
    [i could never hope to keep up]
    things were a bit slower around here this week
    congratulations on attaining the milestone...

  2. very exciting, no wonder it took you so long to write it up, you were still digesting it :)
    i love that last pic, i could wear that one. did she say when she might be coming down under here? k.

  3. I wanna.....I wanna....I wannnnnaaaa....take that class!!! Whine...... I loved the wee books when I saw Robin's post and even more now. I know that Toronto doesn't compare with the San Juan Islands, but we are right on one huge lake (Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes).

    Thanks for posting!

  4. those felt covers are sooo neat! i love your little journal christi. i always wonder how those little books are made, from the covers to the binding. guess someday i'll have to take one of these classes. but i'm a little wary since you said it was for those with strong hands. my carpal tunnel gets in the way of so many things i want to do. for now, though, i'll just ooooh and aaaaah over your things.

  5. I did see the post on Robin's blog. These all turned out so beautiful, I wish I could have attended. Yours is lovely and I'll bet even lovelier to hold and use. What a treasure.

  6. Goodness, what fun! What marvellous little treasures.

  7. I created books for five years - never anything as lovely as these felted books. It is hard work!! Your wrapped book is lovely and I'll bet if you gave us a peak at the unfinished book we would all 'oh' and 'ah'!! :-)

  8. WOW! Just plain WoW. I am so inspired. Everything dang thing is so beautiful. Wish I could have been there.

    ;~) Debi

  9. Swooooon!!

    That first pic just sent my head spinning. Your book turned out great ! I'd love to take a workshop like that one day. Thanks for sharing the day!

  10. this looks like an incredible learning environment...and what beautiful results.

    your book is beautiful christi.


  11. Aaaaah Christi! I'm SOOOOO jealous of you!!! You actually did a workshop with Chad Alice Hagen!!!
    I found her by accident some months ago and was totally smitten by her work. And then I discovered that she had been in Holland (and I didn't know :-(((( !)
    Just too bad, will have to wait for the next opportunity ...sigh ...

  12. iNdi@ ~ like becoming a dervish for a few days...
    Thank you, would not have made it to the milestone if not for comrades in cloth! And now slower sounds good.

    Kaite ~ this one was for you ;>}

    Anne Marie ~ Chad travels A LOT...perhaps you can catch her somewhere? Seeing her books in person would be worth the trip itself...jewels, every one. Come out for next summer's workshop - it's looking like a go!

    Lisa ~ the odd thing is that beading on this felt is like stitching through b.u.t.t.e.r. Was the waxed linen for binding the coptic books that sunk me boat. But my appreciation for that kind of handiwork has grown immensely. We shall focus on what we CAN do, yes?!

    Thank you, Jan :>]

    K ~ waaaay loads of fun & Chad is HILARIOUS tah boot. There were moments when we'd all be working away, heads bent over work tables, and she'd say something from across the room and the whole lot of us would be in a fit of laughter. Good medicine!

    Penny ~ I never knew how hard...
    What have you done with your books?

    Debi from PNW ~ Come join in next summer!!

    Susan ~ This would be just your cup o'tea, I think seeing as you are your own special kind of whirling dervish! And beading on this felt is scrumptious :>]]

    Many thanks, T, it was...

    Els ~ so happy you stopped by! Yes, you are fortunate I think because Chad does travel to Holland. Catch her if you can - you will have big time FUN. And then you must post about it, ok?!

  13. Nice to be reminded so vividly of this fabulous 3-day whirlwind class and see Chad's books/felts again!!! Makes me want to put down my quilting and pick up the felt/beads again! Thanks for showing your pics!