Felt Encounters celebrates the history of the Pacific Felt Factory by featuring artists who represent a resurgence of felt works as fine art. Industrial felt is the material of choice for these artists. A wide range of multi-disciplinary approaches merge traditional felt-making crafts and fine art in this unique exhibit. Heritage wool, horse hair, boar hair, as well as other resources are combined with innovative technology such as a water-jet cutter.
Drawings from 15th century Italy owe much of their unique beauty to the felts used by quattrocento papermakers. Made of coarse wool, these felts embossed a unique landscape of texture onto the paper surface. Artists such as Michelangelo utilized the textures to great advantage in their works on paper. The process used to create the beautiful paper of Michelangelo’s day has been lost … until now.
Donald Farnsworth and assistant Heather Pratt use a blend of animal hair to create papermaking felts similar in texture to those used at the height of the Renaissance. Great progress has been made in recreating the richly variegated surface of quattrocento paper and in making this paper available to the artists of today.
Artists from around the Bay Area are represented in the exhibition:
Irene Carvajal’s work Pressed was inspired by domestic workers in the USA that come from the Philippines or Latin America. With the use of domestic tools such as the iron Carvajal recreates on felt traditional clothes patterns from those cultures.
Jenne Giles is a mixed-media artist who contributes work that ranges across felt techniques; including wet-felting, dyeing, needle felting, sculpture and fiber collage. Of the three pieces in the show, one explores felt and its relationship to painting and the other two to clay sculpture.
Donald Farnsworth is the founder of Magnolia Editions. His recreation of quattrocento papermaking techniques is featured in the exhibit.
Pantea Karimi is a screen-printer who explores representations of scientific manuscripts. For Felt Encounters, Karimi created an installation of screen-printed pennants based on manuscripts produced at the dawn of the 20th century. The patterns in the installation are based on the mathematical Khayyam-Pascal Triangle.
Jonathon Keats developed a quantum version of roulette in which all players win. The work is a subtle nod to Yoko Ono’s conceptual piece Play it by Trust, a white chess set (1966) and to Duchamp’s Monte Carlo Bond (1924). The felt for Keats's Quantum Roulette was industrially fabricated in the middle of last century, most likely at the Pacific Felt Factory.
Kristina Larsen of CloudEar uses remnants left over from the creation of laser-cut felt parts used in commercial products. In Parallax Scrap Tapestry brightly colored synthetic felt, originally made from plastic bottles, has been compacted into a new sculptural textile using the traditional technique of needle felting.
Sebastian Martin and Kristina Larsen of CloudEar collaborated to create Fog Bank, an abstract sculpture. A 5-axis waterjet machine was used to cut industrial felt whose shapes evoke the ever-present and predictable phenomenon of San Francisco fog.
Latifa Medjdoub’s IDolls series of limited edition prints on felt engages questions of identity at the intersection of technology and craftsmanship. The images incorporate a novel combination of techniques from several disciplines, including printing, painting, sculpture and photography. The images reinterpret the enduring image of the doll, playfully evoking our multi-faceted, overlapping identities in modern society.
Ealish Wilson’s installation, Felt Cocoon, is constructed of block printed and smocked eco felt and dyed zip ties. Eco felt is made from recycled plastic bottles. Her work investigates pattern and its transformation through surface manipulation. The strength and softness of felt is ideal for architectural smocking. The surface texture was altered with print techniques before the material was physically manipulated.
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7th, 6-9pm
Walk with Artists: 7:30
Location: Pacific Felt Factory • 2830 20th Street, San Francisco
Exhibit Dates: November 7 to December 6
Direct inquiries to Hanna Regev, curator, 415.425.1295
Pacific Felt Factory Art Complex