our craftmakers . handknits . wool felting
Vera Alexanderova . felting designer
Before moving to Sydney I lived in Moscow where I graduated from University with the degree of fashion designer.
For twelve years I practiced felt clothes design. I derive ideas for my works from the millieu of nature. I am interested in attributing an element of theatre to the images I create which include overcoats, jackets, waistcoats, hats scarves, and palantines.
Pam de Groot . fibre and textile artist
A life-long passion for arts and crafts has allowed me to touch on many and varied fields of expertise.
In 1989 I completed a studio ceramics course and worked as a successful studio potter for many years. I now work predominantly with wool and silk combining methods of felting, machine embroidery and dyeing to create artworks, garments and accessories. My latest works include techniques of nuno felting, shibori dyeing, felt laminating and the making of unique design and sculptural hats.
I have always been drawn to using natural and organic materials. The colours and forms of nature are a constant inspiration. In working with wool I have come to marvel at the diversity of this material. It can be soft and flimsy or hard and resilient, made flat or formed into any shape imaginable. I feel privileged to work in this field.
Liz Gemmell . knitting, felting, shibori
I’ve always had a deep interest in garment making and design. I like to experiment with unusual but simple garment structure, something that is unique but very wearable.
Wearable art is very much my passion. The crafts that I employ are knitting, felting and shibori. Knitting and felting allow me to create the fabric with its surface design and at the same time create the garment pieces.
Often I like to hand stitch the garments as the final touch to a handmade fabric. Recently I have been using machine embroidery to assemble cut out shapes of felt which will often be reversible. This allows me to make a variety of garments and shawls.
Shibori is the Japanese art of dye resist and has a long tradition. It can be a very meticulous craft that can reproduce patterns exactly but I do enjoy contriving variations into the fabric. Thermoplastics comes under this craft as well with the use of polyester fabrics. Shibori techniques will give the polyester a permanent 3D texture and colour patterns in the same process.
Sylvia Langtree . spinning and weaving
I have been spinning for over seventeen years as a hobby. My garments have been sold to tourists from Alaska, China, and the United States, in fact to tourists from all around the world.
I enjoy working with the natural colours of fleece, as well as dyeing yarn.
I learned to spin with Sutherland Shire Spinners and Weavers, and have enjoyed many of their workshops. I completed a one year course at Gymea TAFE and have attended several workshops on various aspects of weaving.
Grace Levis . nuno felting and costume jewellery
I create ceramic jewellery and artistic textiles which capture the distinctive themes and breathtaking colours of Australia.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, I arrived in Sydney in 1990 and since then, have been developing my very own unique jewellery and wearable art.
My textile range features highly elaborate shawls which are made using a combination of ancient and modern techniques to fuse silks, wool, gauze and netting. Each shawl is a unique creation of colour, texture and theme. They can be worn or draped over a lounge or displayed as a wall hanging.
My jewellery collection includes handmade necklaces, pendants and earrings in magnificent lustres, reflecting oceanic greens and blues, sun drenched earthy reds and purples as well as glowing gold from Australian mines. I am continuously researching and experimenting to ensure that my creative output is always original and inspiring.
Helen MacRitchie . felted and embellished textiles
My attention to detail I guess comes from a background of scientific research, a career of creative thinking which digressed more than slightly many years ago from formulation development into fibre decoration.
I have a particular love of felting a free-machine lacework, techniques not normally associated together, which I strive to blend in my work to give intricacy and delicacy to a piece. I create embroidered and embellished textile art, often taking the form of individually designed bags, wearable art and wall pieces. I have 3 year Certificate I Design and Embroidery through City and Guilds, London, UK, and am currently completing a 3 year Diploma in the same subject. I have attended numerous workshops and textile forums to complement this training and enhance my work.
Brigitte Sieber . handknitting and spinning
Colour work is of particular appeal to me and I am constantly striving for new and innovative ways of combining colour and texture.
In my work I use mostly natural fibres and yarns, but I don't shy away from using contemporary materials and techniques. I learned to crochet early in life, later becoming interested in hand knitting, spinning, designing and dyeing. These techniques have become an essential part of my work.
Recently I have become interested in other finishing methods, i.e. fulling my hand knit pieces. My bags are all individual designs so no two are alike. They are first hand knitted then felted. A very labour intensive process, but it is a wonderful way of creating something beautiful and useful at the same time. I have participated in various group exhibitions, competitions and have won numerous awards for my work. Being asked to supply a number of crocheted berets for the movie 'Australia' was a lovely surprise and interesting challenge.
Jude Skeers . designer handknitter
I am a self taught textile artist who works exclusively with hand knitting.
I have been knitting since my youth and have had several major exhibitions of my knitted webs, trees and other sculptures. I have exhibited my work over a 20-year period in galleries all over Australia. I have also worked as an Installation Artist and teach workshops. In the last few years, I have developed a range of wearable pieces using my specially designed circular needles known as the 'Broome Beanie Needle'. In more recent times I have designed a number of garments for which I have written the patterns. These garments have included Moebius knitting.
My hand knitted, one-off garments have evolved from my artistic knitting. I enjoy incorporating a variety of yarns and stitches into my designs.
Helen McGavin Smith . designer knitter
My main interest is in combining texture and colour in hand-knitted garments.
My inspiration is the coastal scenery in the area to the north of Sydney. My garments reflect the forms of the flora, the rock formations, the rich blues in the ocean views and the myriad of vibrant greens in the surrounding National Park. I am interested in spinning and creating exciting soft yarns in alpaca, blends of silk, and delicate angora. I also enjoy blends of wool and mohair with their wonderful sheen and tactile qualities. All my garments (jumpers, cardigans, jackets, hats, wraps and ensembles) are individually designed. These creations are the result of many years of experience in producing handspun yarn, designed for specific purposes. Some garments are knitted from commercial yarn, combining cotton with silk.
My main interest at present, is in designing coordinated pieces. I am also interested in developing garments based on the concept of versatility
Helen Thomas . handspun, handwoven garments, hats and scarves
As my family matured and my free time increased, I was introduced to spinning and weaving by my local craft group.
Spinning and weaving soon became a consuming passion. Living on the fringe of The Royal National Park, and surrounded by the colour and texture of the native flora, I am inspired to create and design unusual and delightful garments. I love using natural fibres such as merino wool, alpaca, mohair, camel and silk and experimenting with vegetable and commercial dyes to produce unusual and exciting colours for my garments. I am still happily spinning, weaving and felting but am also currently interested in patchwork and quilting and making heirloom quilts for my family
I have been spinning since 1973. I have attended many workshops over the years in various aspects of spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting a patchwork.
Grace Whitehouse . spinning and knitting
I enjoy spinning and knitting as a challenging hobby. I learned to spin at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Harrington Street and learned knitting at my mother's knee.I am always working on new styles, such as longer lines in jackets and sweaters.