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Andrea Noeske Porada – The El Bolson project
Today, I’m going to tell you about a really nice project. A project that is unfolding within a stunning, mellow little village. The kind of project that warms your heart.. The kind that DHG loves!
We found out about this project, thanks to Andrea Noeske Porada, an exceptional fiber artist and a close friend of ours, here at DHG. She got in touch with us, just before the summer last year, to ask if we would be interested in becoming a part of this amazing initiative. Having been invited by Julia Rossi Andrea went to Argentina in 2017, El Bolson to be precise. A small village located in the Rio Negro area. Here, the quantity of wool is huge and the locals are always looking for new techniques and ways to use it. Local organisations even organize training courses about it, with the aim of bringing the community together and creating new job opportunities.
Felting is one of the most requested techniques. Therefore Andrea ended up teaching her felting techniques to one of these groups. She told me it was a once in a lifetime experience, both for the place and the friendliness and hospitality of the people. The course focused on the washing process, carding and felting, this method was then used to go on to make items or accessories to sell, such as hats or slippers.
I’ll pass you over to Andrea now, who has answered some questions I asked her about her experience, where she also mentions DHG.
DHG: what is it like teaching in the countryside rather than in a big city?
PORADA: when I am travelling for teaching I love to learn something about the daily life in this specific area. In general it is more relaxing to teach in the countryside. There are not so many things to discover besides the teaching job, no museums, no shopping areas…. So I am very often fully concentrate on myself, have time to go for a walk or to read a book. Sometimes when I stay for a longer period, I can use someones studio – than I am able to work on small projects and ideas without any distraction. Teaching in a big city, especially a foreign city, is always exciting. Finding out where you are, how to get from here to there, which train, subway, bus… To decide what else to visit… To go to a restaurant with students or hosts. In general there are not so many contemplative moments left. Of course this is a very general statement and as well it depends a lot on the time period I am staying in a special area. As longer I stay at one specific place I get more and more the feeling for what it is like to live there. Then it might turn out to be a bit less or too exciting.
D: felt seems to be a great way to get people together. Could we say it’s like a possible social redemption?
P: it is incredible to see how the felt brings people together and how people working with felt are worldwide connected. I can only talk about artistic working individuals. But I have the feeling that artist working with fibers and the material of felt have a special personality which is very open minded.
D: are there any other projects on the cards for this wonderful group of Argentinian women?
P: after my workshop this group of woman decided to get together in regular intervals as a felting group. We will see if this idea endure all the year round. I could imagine to go back and teach there again. I am open for each of Julia Rossi´s ideas.
D: would you mind explaining how DHG and El Bolson met?
P: as I just had finished the experiments with the DHG extra fine merino prefelt for a tutorial. I had used very simple elements which reminded me on the traditional South American designs. I thought this could be a good topic for this workshop of woman from whom I did not know how experimented they are with felting. As we needed rotary cutters for cutting out the elements I asked Prym to support this workshop and asked DHG for the material. I wanted these woman to work with this wonderful colored material which will guarantee a wonderful result. Of course I told them how to make their own prefelt by using their regional wool from their own sheep – this was a very important point for the organizer CEA.