Craft Cubed Presents: Rhiannon Thomas | Secret Forest & needle felting workshop
Rhiannon Thomas has been inspired by traditional craft techniques not found in online videos - but rather dug from the depths of the craft community and discovered through networks of grassroots organisations.
Rhiannon is graciously sharing these skills and you can book into her workshop as part of the Craft Cubed Festival.
Ahead of it’s launch we were able to to speak with Rhiannon to learn more about what inspires her practice, and to gain some insights into her passion for the craft community .
What’s the significance of the handmade to you?
When I was younger, I was looking for a new craft form that was inexpensive. My family kept sheep so there was plenty of wool. There was a drought and we lived off tank water so wet felting wasn't a fit. It wasn't till I was introduced to needle felting by my Aunty that the ideas started clicking. I began a journey that involved talking to crafters and collecting information. The kind of information I was looking for wasn't on the internet. There is a world of information not on the internet but in older crafter’s heads. I learnt how to clean and process the wool, dye the colours I needed, wool sizing and needle grades. I began experimenting trying to work out the most efficient ways to do my slow craft. The result was my large scale felting work. You can find some of those pieces at Abbotsford Covent, Good Shepherd Chapel Gallery. It's open until the 14th of July
How would you describe your craft community?
I do work with Gallery Sunshine Everywhere, whose focus is on community art and bringing people together. It's been really nice helping and collaborating on some amazing projects with them. Most of my friends work in some kind of creative field and often ask each other for advice or feedback. I think it's important to connect, share skills and knowledge. I really want to share some of my knowledge with people, which is why I'm doing a Needle Felting Workshop as part of the Craft Cubed Festival
What is your earliest craft memory?
Painting with mum. Mum used to do artworks on canvas when I was very young. I remember she set up a child sized easel for me while she worked on hers.
What is your philosophy or motto when it comes to creativity?
'It's always worse before it gets better' which refers to my large scale felting work just before the character comes through, it looks like a fluffy mess!
Where do you go in Melbourne for inspiration?
I go to the Royal Arcade and watch the giants Gog and Magog ring the bells
What are you reading OR listening to at the moment?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
How would you describe your studio or making environment?
I am surrounded by great colourful piles of wool, plastic frog figurines, old craft manuals and books
How does "good" craft make you feel?
When I finish one of my felted artworks, they feel like a real character looking back. When I find the good craft, it makes a nice sound in my head and I feel content.
What is your dream craft collaboration - if history and geography and money was no barrier?
I want to work on the original Dark Crystal movie. It's seemed like an excited production behind the scenes. Organic chaos with many artists and puppets. I love it
What other Craft Cubed events are you excited about?
Isobel Knowles and Cat Rabbit's See You in the Soup. I love photo stories with hand crafted miniatures and this is right up my alley. Birds in little outfits exploring Melbourne- yes I'm excited