Monday, October 31, 2011

Furry trends in couture and feltmaking

It seems that furry looks have never been that much in fashion as this Fall. I’ve already talked about this trend last year, mentioning collection of Chanel. But it seems that the furry trend reached its peak just this Fall – when you look at the styles showed in so many fashion magazines, when you look at what many shops have to offer this Fall – there’s so much of furry looks. And when you look at the runway for this Fall, for example Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, you see very soft furry collections. Just one idea keeps turning on my mind when looking at it – she could have that much successfully used felt from alpaca rather than fur and would have got very similar looks, just more eco-friendly and cruelty free. And that’s why I feel even more proud for Josephus Thimister, who let this furry trend appear on the runway using the craft of felt making (my felt pieces for Josephus Thimister Fall/Winter 2011-2012 collection could be seen here).

DSC_8435-my nuno felt coat with alpaca fleece


DSC_8313- alpaca fleece in nuno felt

Thursday, October 27, 2011


There were couple of books on feltmaking published recently that included images of my felt pieces as well.

One was a very big project I would say - “500 Felt Objects” published by Lark Books.

500 Felt Objects cover image[1]


First it strikes you with the versatility of what the felt can be – it is really an enormous collection of various felt pieces in different forms – from tiny crafts to art objects. Endless applications and the most diverse techniques that one ever dreamt of fulfilling or would be so much surprised to discover in this book.


320517_245473488825123_150765468295926_705221_4453473_n  My "Wild Pigeon" in "500 Felt Objects"



298901_245473445491794_150765468295926_705219_285484_n  My "Iris Wattii" in "500 Felt Objects"



The other thing that strikes you is when you think that all of these works were collected for review in the very beginning of 2010, i.e. almost 2 years ago, and then you think what big path all those feltmakers have already travelled in their creative expressions since that time and how astonishing it must be to see all of their works at this moment.

It’s a beautiful gallery book for people who are interested in felt as a textile medium. The idea of the book was great though there are still some weaker points in its materialization I believe. The idea, design, format, and publishing claim for a solid and solemn publication, though some photos do surprise you in the lack of simplest quality and higher class of presentation of the object. And I am not speaking of the tastes here as they differ so much individually. The other thing that might surprise a person who has a better knowledge of feltmakers’ world already is the criteria the curator chose some photos of a particular author to be published. Some of them don’t really reveal the spirit of the author at all (e.g. the only yellow carpet by Claudy Jongstra and purses of Agostina Zwilling). This makes you doubt if there was enough of time for the publishers to really examine the submitted images and review the authors or maybe a little drop of energy and enthusiasm in bringing the idea to life.

Despite these two little things I felt like mentioning, it is really the book what its title says it to be – 500 Felt Objects. Creative Explorations of a Remarkable Material. A material to be discovered and explored. And get inspired! And a quite true reflection of the felt making world in present times.


The second book I was going to mention is written by a Russian author Ксения Шинковская - "Войлок" (“Felt”) – a little encyclopedia of many various techniques used in feltmaking. A very eclectic and informative book that included several images of my felt pieces that you can see on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Becoming a character

I like to intimate the stories with my felt and the way I take photos with it. And I liked the idea of someone else continuing these stories from my photos when Lyse whom I met on Etsy asked me if she could use some of my photos for her creative works in her Imaginary World – ImagineStudio.
That’s how me with my felts became a character – Girl with the Golden Earing
EtsyThe girl with the golden ear-ringpsd
Homage to Claudel
 EtsyHomage to Camille Claudel

The Wave
the wave4Vilte(1)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

taught by vilte

Well…many of you asked for it. It took me quite a lot of time, but…here it is – taught by vilte



Some of my students from various countries have talked a lot how great it would be to see a set of images from various workshops held in different countries and compare what people make. I decided it would be even more interesting to see how people apply my techniques later in their own designs, that’s why I have included some of the images of felt designs by my students using the techniques taught by me. I want to thank everyone who emailed me letters with warmest wishes and words, and the links to their websites, and the photos. It takes me quite a long time to reply to everyone, so please be patient…But know, I appreciate your words and always answer you in my mind. There’s a connection, remember? :)

Enjoy my new tumblr site devoted just for the workshops I give – taught by vilte (I am sorry for not listing every workshop I gave there, but I don’t have any photos from some of them).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What’s in the color?

Just the other day reading the book I found a more “tangible” and scientific explanation of how the colors influence us.

"Clearly, there is more to colour than meets the eye as even blind people can literally ‘feel’ different colours with their fingertips.

Colour is not just part of the object we see in the distance, it's a light wave coming right at us. Colour is simply energy. Energy influencing our feelings, our well being, and demanding a response.” A.Wright

If color is energy, probably there’s much more encoded in this energy from the plants and therefore we have such different experiences when facing a live color from the plant rather than a “dead” synthetic color.




Dyed with St. John’s wort.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


There is something in the colors from the plants that keep you so attracted to them. It gives you comfort. It stimulates your senses that sometimes you just want to soak in that color. It might be a little scrap piece of silk, but you look at it and can’t stop – it’s like something that is encoded in that color from a plant speaks to your subconsciousness while your consciousness subsides. And you don’t have to understand anything at all, you just have to feel it.

It never happens with artificial colors. Even when you look at the color you adore, it’s different. You love it, but it’s just not the same… It lacks that feeling…

I believe it’s my third Summer when I do a lot of dyeing with plants. I can’t call myself a professional dyer who does a lot of studies and makes detailed records (if I would go that deep into dyeing, I would have to stop felting. One man can not live the lifetimes of many, no matter how you want it…) But just when I did my first samples with plants, I felt THAT. There is something that won’t let you go back too. You even don’t notice, but all artificially dyed materials little by little start to step back of your creative life and you find yourself surrounded just with what you call natural and true.




It’s my first Summer though when I collect quite a lot of dye stuff from my own land myself or use vegetable waste and medicinal herbs that have expired (I always had lots of these as this is almost the only medicine I take for more than 15 years).




St. John’s wort, sage, tansy – all growing in our fields, around us. I really love the sources that are available here… And I’ve been using them as medicinal herbs for so many years already. Strange that I didn’t think about colors before. Dyeing opens your eyes to the world. It teaches you to notice things, to cherish the world we are living in, to connect and to feel. It heals you.




And then the color meets the fiber to make a perfect duo. And makes you want to soak in it, to touch it, wander with your eyes in it, get lost and feel safe at the same time.





Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Net. Connections

Meeting people, getting into mysterious situations of coincidences, especially during my recent travels with my workshop program, always deepened that feeling of the NET, the connections in our lives. There have been so many situations when I meet people who are somehow related to the people I already knew, no matter where on Earth they lived, or me myself, when I meet people I never knew in this life but got a feeling we just parted yesterday and met again, that I really stopped to wonder. I can even say I am really looking forward to every single meeting of “my people” that is yet to come. I don’t ask why I do meet those people, I am not really trying to remember what could have connected us in lives before this one, I just accept and respect every meeting. No matter what it brings – is it me or someone else paying the debts from the past lifetimes, it’s that feeling of connections in humanity, in life, the net around us and in us – it’s like closing your eyes and putting your finger on your wrist to feel the pulse of one LIFE for all that doesn’t start and doesn’t end with birth and death.

This net, the connections have been my theme lately in life, and my focus in my new felt pieces – fragile, yet strong, flowing without a start and the end – every fiber entangled with one another, embracing each other in knots that never get undone, building connections, the net…

Music by  Joe Hisaishi









“Meetings are not flowers. They do not fade and die without any traces, stepping into shadows.  … you have to open your mind and heart and to understand people not only as personally closely related, but as the companions to the truth. And then all meetings will be blessed.”   (C.Antarova “Two Lives”)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Whatever is your art or craft media, you will always turn to photography as the means to reflect your work to the world or even create a continuation of the thought of your work. That’s why I always considered it to be a very important aspect in one’s artistic life.

Not all of us of course have a professional photographer, professional equipment and studio, not to mention a few super models at hand to always present one’s work in the best manner. At least I don’t – just an improvised environment in an apartment, a tripod and remote control in my own hands and the same face all the time of which I really get bored and wished I had a couple of best friends – models nearby from time to time.  Anyway, on the other hand it’s sometimes the easiest option when you do everything by yourself. It’s just the maker who can really express what he meant with his work (or a real soul mate photographer who feels and sees the world the way you do and knows every corner of your soul, thus – your work too… But tell me how often do you meet such?  But… I am still dreaming of the photo shoots with some photographers I feel close to my soul and to have women I adore as my models… It’s nice to imagine).

I always regret when I don’t have enough time to picture all the work I do as I consider it to be a final act of my creation that materializes the image living in my mind. Or I’d better say – a final act that requires my own input as the very final act is the reaction of observers that the piece stimulates…





wedding dress (wool & silk)



DSC_5538   wool, silk & flax, eco dyed with vegetable plant dyes

Thursday, June 2, 2011

“Poetry of fibres” in FUN


Today I found a German felt magazine “FUN” waiting for me in the mailbox. And on page 12 you can find my interview on my workshop I held at Italian Felt Academy this March.


You will read most of what I wrote about my workshops before on my blog and see the dresses and samples participants made during my course under my guidance in Verona. The dress that was made there got even on the back cover of the magazine.


Magazine “FUN”
My next workshop at Italian Felt Academy will be held this October.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why do you do it?

Almost in every workshop I give I get this question. Why do you do it or don’t you feel sorry you are giving your techniques to the world for anyone to use and get more rivals? No, I don’t. No, I don’t – for the creative and growing spirits who are just getting a stimulus, an inspiration for their own work and who are going to develop their own signature with time. And the others – I don’t think about them, because if they only follow and not create themselves, thus I will always be at least one step ahead, so why bother? No, I don’t, because I just have 2 arms and a small place for felting – no studio, no staff, no felting machines, and no plans to conquer the world just by myself.

But what I really care about is that the students who come to my workshops would be open minded and have the right motivation to work more and concentrate on the concept of the workshop and not the techniques, it is the process that is important, I am not just teaching how to do it, I am talking how to think about it, I am encouraging the students to feel it. If someone comes and asks just to look at the way I apply some techniques in felting, I am saying – no, I don’t teach like that. If you are not interested to actually live it through, feel it, experience and listen to what I have to say, don’t come to my workshop.

Of course I don’t like it when people you teach later on try to hide that they were taught by me and present the techniques as an invention of their own. I don’t like when people don’t give credits. I don’t like when people become dependant and don’t want to continue on their own – when they take the same principles, inspirations, goals, approach, even ideas they heard me discussing with someone else and don’t think of anything on their own.

For a long time I was just a self taught felter, but that’s how I developed my signature in felting, later my first and only teacher was Claudy Jongstra who literally set me free from my own brakes. And since then I happily and always give credit to her teaching and recommend her workshops. And I think that’s the way it should be.

There are hundreds of feltmakers with really excellent felting skills, but there are so little who reveal their uniqueness in their felting. My workshops focus more on the latter. I believe a key to uniqueness can be discovered in encouraging creativity, in adding a feeling to the process, in developing a communication with the materials and a piece. I often call my fiber work – poetry of fibers. That’s what I expect from my students. It might be blank verses – a stream of subconsciousness, very intuitive poetry of fibers, a haiku or a poetry with complicated rhyme scheme, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a different approach to the felting process, not just a demonstration of perfect felting skills.




New techniques that I am teaching during the workshop is just the language that we are going to use for the particular subject of the workshop, it’s not the focus. I believe that creativity training and ability to connect with yourself (thus developing your own unique signature) is the most essential of all.

I have just returned from my workshop in UK with which I was really happy and enjoyed a really creative company of English feltmakers (as well as some who came from the Netherlands and Canada, and of Russian origin too). And I also had such well known students as Sheila Smith, Liz Clay, Lizzie Houghton, Chrissie Day, who have long ago developed their own signatures and taught others and I am sure they just came to try to speak “in my language” and will tell their own in felt if they do like it. It’s that other approach that I was talking about – when people don’t really need the techniques “step 1, step 2, step 3- bye bye”, they just learn your language to speak their own stories.



Photos – kimono coat – an example of wild fibers and manipulation to be taught in my workshop in the Netherlands

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Workshop updates

Happy to announce 2 more workshops in the Netherlands this September (you can find updated info on workshop’s page) in the beautiful studio of Truus in beautiful Friesland.

Info Vilte sept

Info Vilte kimono coat eng. photo (c) and the piece made for  Josephus Thimister AW 2011 collection, Paris Fashion week

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

People and wisdom

One aspect of travelling that I appreciate and adore now is meeting people. When I was younger I was so much taken by places I got to visit, the surroundings that people always went to the second plan. Now it’s the other way around. If I had ever developed a talent of a writer I would now have hundreds of characters and their stories to put into ink and paper.

image Piet Mondriaan – Passie Bloem. One of my students Bertken gave me a postcard with P.Mondriaan painting “Witte rozen” and told me the story about Piet and how she wanted to give me another postcard - “Passie Bloem”, but couldn’t find it. Touched by the attention of my student I just had to find that painting myself.


Besides all the enriching and inspiring communication I get from the people I meet during my trips, I also sometimes hear the special words of wisdom they share.

When I was having dinner with my colleague friend Eveline van der Pas (into whom I just bumped into on my stay in the Netherlands without knowing where exactly she lived) her young daughter musician said that we always admire someone who’s potential we have ourselves, just haven’t developed it yet. And I found it so true and encouraging in everyone’s way of creativity.

On a short visit to Elis Vermeulen and discussing all the impressions from my workshop life and travelling, she said that you always have to get back to yourself and understand what it is that YOU want after hearing what others say you should/could do. And that’s exactly what I am doing now. I am getting back to myself and what I myself want out of my felt.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the making. What is felt II

We choose a lot of things spontaneously in our lives, only later realizing the meanings of the processes. I had been a dancer for 10 years in my life and I quit dancing as I started my psychology studies. I always longed for dance and just recently realized that perhaps felt in some way has become a compensation for dancing . It’s not me who is dancing now but my hands make the wool and other fibers dance, move, entangle, interlock. If one could film this process with a macro camera, we would see a dance of these migrating fibers. Even my finished pieces have movement encoded in them, they are flowing, organic, and never static.

It’s my quote from the article that was written about me and my work in Dutch magazine about felt VILT Kontakt


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


When I came back from the Netherlands I found a CD waiting for me in the post. Agostina’s (Italian Felt Academy) husband Gosta Zwilling was taking photos during the workshop and sent them to me as well. It was really interesting to see these photos after some time has passed after the workshop in Italy ended. There is always something you see and realize in the moment it is happening, and always something else that comes to your perception when the time passes.


I pay a lot of attention to working on samples during my workshops. And here are some of the samples the participants made in Italy. Their concept for the workshop was combining archaic spirit of the woman using raw fleece with modern, subtle femininity using tactile surfaces from various fabrics.







The workshop in the Netherlands was taking place in a perfect studio of Truus Huijbregts. It is always more inspiring to work in the surroundings like these and create a healthy environment for creativity in a relaxed way without the stress  that is no good at all during such workshops.



The students made lot’s of beautiful and promising samples, as well as dresses, but I didn’t take any more descent photos to be posted. One of the reasons is that after the workshop the dresses are still quite wet and the process of working with textures is not finally finished, thus I never get to see them in a full beauty, but knowing the technique and what it gives, I always know, what the students will discover when they go home with their dresses and finish them 100%.
Workshop in Belgium gave me an opportunity to meet one Lithuanian woman living in Belgium and also making felt. We had quite a lot of conversations about creativity and felt making during the workshop and the time after as Sigita accompanied me on the trips to Antwerpen where we also visited MOMU – Mode Museum with an exhibition on knitwear in fashion “Unravel”.  And I felt really happy when she sent me a photo of a dress she made straight after returning from my workshop, inspired by what we did and talked during the workshop and the knitting exhibition we saw. When I see something like that, I understand that my student got the point (which is not always easy, especially for people who are used to working just inside the box), and that my teaching is not just a mere play of techniques, it makes people create using the language I teach. And that is my goal as a teacher.

P.S. You can always check my schedule of workshops on my blog which should be updated soon with more workshops in Autumn, 2011.

Meeting and teaching

When I started something like a workshop tour in Europe this March (which started in Italy at Italian Felt Academy), I never imagined what it would bring to myself. Except of the joy or elation that one feels when the students are capable of opening up, setting themselves free and letting the creativity flow; and when the students are advanced and you don’t have to explain ordinary technical things too much, then something special starts in the class, which I could call a play of higher substances.

After returning from a very special trip to the Netherlands and then Belgium, I’ve been thinking a lot of how much this traveling has given to me. Special people, meetings, lot’s of conversations, places, mysterious coincidences, deja-vu, all the feelings that help you to understand where and why you are and where you are going or why you are doing the things that you do.



 a card that one of my students gave to me after the workshop: “a whole new world has opened up”. I could say the same about me…

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In the making: what is felt. I





…the process of felting is like a witch craft. Wool, silk, flax, all the natural fibers and water and you get a whole that puts a spell on the observer. Archaic codes that we recognize in our collective subconsiousness…
….vėlimo procesas – lyg kerėjimai. Vilna, šilkas, linas, visi natūralūs pluoštai ir vanduo – sukuriama visuma, kuri užburia stebintįjį. Archajiški kodai, atpažįstami mūsų kolektyvinėje pasąmonėje…


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