CEL Masthead Winter 18

Rapt in Felt Exhibition: Endless Possibilities

Molly McLaughlin

“The Canberra Region Feltmakers, which organises the Rapt in Felt Exhibition, also runs felting workshops throughout the year”

According to local artist Nina Pham, Canberra is the perfect place for felt.

“In Canberra we live in a climate where we can wear wool all year round,” she laughs. “One of my pieces was inspired by the bright autumn colours we have here, I think we’re really lucky that we can be inspired by our landscape.”

Nina is one of almost 40 artists who will have her works displayed in the annual Rapt in Felt fashion parade and exhibition. She has also created a bolero (pictured above) inspired by her travels to Sweden in search of the Northern Lights.


“I didn’t actually see the Northern Lights because it was cloudy!” she explains. “But we had a great time and I was inspired by the landscape and the idea of the Northern Lights. It’s a great way to bring back a memory or an experience and put it into something quite tangible.”

Nina was encouraged to learn to felt after attending the Rapt in Felt Exhibition several years ago, and quickly became immersed in the craft due to its versatility. She began working on easy-to-learn projects like scarves and worked her way up to larger pieces.

“I thought it was amazing,” she says. “The creativity and the colour and materials lends itself to experimenting and exploring. It’s like painting with fibres and textures.”

The Canberra Region Feltmakers, which organises the Rapt in Felt Exhibition, also runs felting workshops throughout the year. Nina believes that the strong felting community in Canberra is one of the reasons she has been able to enjoy felting.


“We’ve got a lot of people who live on farms and know about wool here and a lot of passionate feltmakers who are very experienced,” she says. “So there’s always something to learn from them. We’re really lucky to have a local group that supports us.”

Felting is a unique craft because the artist physically creates the fabric, and then turns it into a larger work of their choosing. Nina has spent hours arranging her materials and creating all kinds of things from felt, but she says she still has a lot to learn.

“There’s no wrong or right because there’s no pattern you’re following,” she says. “I have a little craft group and whenever they ask me what I’m up to I have to say ‘I don’t really know yet, it’s evolving.’ You can make jewellery, bags jackets, skirts, cushions, rugs… there are endless possibilities!”

the essentials

What: Rapt in Felt 2016: Canberra Region Feltmakers Annual Exhibition and Bazaar
When: 1-11 June, 10am-4pm weekdays, 10am-2pm Saturdays. Grand opening 5.30pm Tuesday May 31, Fashion Parade 11am Saturday June 4.
Where: The Q Performing Arts Centre, rear of 253 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan
Web: crfelters.org.au/events/rapt-in-felt-exhibition


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author