The What and how of Felt Stained Glass
Motivation for the technique – The felt stained glass technique is founded in the contrasting forces in nature: from chaos to structure and from destruction to mending. The world was becoming broken and chaos was shadowing all aspects of our lives. As humanity we are not new to this experience, but as a generation, we needed re-assurance that it will pass and that all aspects of healing are meaningful.
How to make felt stained glass- a fabric handmade from wool fibers. The handmade felt pieces are cut into shapes in a puzzle-like manner and are put together to represent something new. The borders where the puzzle pieces come together are embellished with needle felting or embroidery. The process of putting together the broken/cut structure in a puzzle like fitting transcends to art imitating attempt to make sense of the puzzle which the unknown brings. The finished work elevates the piece both as in terms of colour and as a texture experience that pushes the boundaries of the medium to a new understanding. Allowing both complexity of expression, but also enriching the learning experience through felting.
The teaching method –Classes that took place through 2020 and 2021 were delivered online in live Zoom classes. 2021 saw the addition of on-demand video tutorials for those cases when attending a live class was not possible. Transitioning to teach online was easy for Niki, as her MA was in E-learning. Sometimes the perfect storm, or in this case a pandemic, is the only place where all your resilient bits come together. The technique has been shown to be Internet proof and all classes in the first year were done online using Multiview during the classes. Teaching online has the benefit that it enabled us to scale the reach of the project. In a conventional classroom it would be challenging to work with students with mixed abilities and mixed experience. While felting online, it is much simpler to inspire interest and boost confidence, through the combination of live zoom classes and the video tutorials which could be watched on demand.