Be amazed by the intricacy of felt making at a localexhibition at the Old Fire Station, Kiama over the June Long Weekend.

More than 20 local artists will showcase theirskills at the Illawarra Feltmakers Exhibitionon June 8-13by creating an art form that symbolises this years theme, ‘reflections.’

Secretary Melinda Binkins said the exhibition will be unique with a number of original artworks.

“All the members try and come up with something that is a reflection to them, whichcan be interpreted in a number of ways,” she said.“Everyone finds the challengeimportant, but what it means is you are going to get a diverse range of items from clothing to sculptures.”

Members will travel from as far as Newcastle to participate in the 5thannual exhibition to demonstrate the artistry of felt making.

Ms Binkins said a number of demonstrations will occur throughout the display.

“We will be showing people what you can do with wool as a lot of people don’t understand that felt is made from it,” she said.“Many people haven’t seen an exhibition in felt makingso this will show them the benefits of the felt intricacy, which was the first fabric created by man.”

Despite the rainfall over the past week, Illawarra Feltmakers treasurer Eleanor Bash is optimistic it won’t cloud the exhibition.

“Hopefully the rain will hold off but if it doesn’t, that’s ok because we have the warmth at the exhibition!” she said.“People will be pleasantly surprised if it’s a cold day to come in and see the brightness of colours and the array of things that have been done.”

The exhibition is set to be filled with an array of colours in the shape of handbags,hats,dresses, jackets andgloves.As itis a malleable material, Ms Bash said it can be moulded into anything.

“We take it from the raw fleece and by a combination of friction, water and soap turn it into a 3D object,” she said.“On the whole it is made usingone piece, which canshaped to create a number of things. Some have even done lamp shades.

“This generally surprises people who tend to think ‘felting – how boring’ but it’s as far from that as you could imagine.”

For people interested in taking up the art form, Ms Bash said they will be able to learn.“Anybody whois interested in knowing what the technique is behind felting can expect someone to be there lending a hand during the exhibition.’’

For members of the Illawarra Feltmakers, the benefits are countless.

“Feltingis quite therapeutic,” said Ms Bash.

“In the process there is quite a bit of repetitive work and I use it as an opportunityto listen to classical music,so I find itrestful.

FELT TIME: The Illawarra Feltmakers treasurer Eleanor Brash, president Anita Larkin and librarian Barbara Wyles with some felt hats, clothing and accessories. Illawarra Feltmakers’ annual show runs from June 8-13 in Kiama.

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