January 2009 Archives

Trip to New Hampshire

Today I took a trip up to New Hampshire to deliver some earrings to the Three Graces Gallery in Portsmouth.  The earrings are going to be part of their Teeny Tiny Art Show IV.  I've been part of the show for the last few years, and the gallery owner was nice enough to allow me to show my new felt work.  Here's some of the earrings that I am showing:
Sushi on Fire Earrings.jpg
B+W Dangly Sputiks.jpg

If you're up in New Hampshire, please come visit the Three Graces Gallery at 105 Market St.  I can say for certain you won't be disappointed.  Besides my work, my friend Lisa Costanzo is also showing her beautiful small paintings:


After I finish moving art across the border, I'm coming back to prepare for my scarf class tomorrow. I made the plaid scarf as an example for this class, as well a black and white Polka Dot scarf, and also a scarf that I call "Bubbling Over":

Scarf small version.jpg

I'll put up the information about the class after tomorrow, and I look forward to showing you the ease of using Felbi Batts.

My Etsy Store is Up!

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This is group shot of all my pretty earrings.  They really are the most feminine earrings: light, flirty and sparkly.

I have listed 50 items on my Etsy store mostly wool, but some jewelry and some of my small needle felted animals. This is a real nerve racking proposition.  I think my stuff is priced right and and I stand behind my work, so I guess it is just a matter of time.

I love making felt, and I love all things felt. In todays Boston Globe there is a great article about felt.  These women from a company called Filzfelt import beautiful felt from Germany. This is industrial felt, not the stuff for clothing but good for furniture and handbags and computer bags. They really do beautiful work, very different from mine.

Off to my day job as a Trolley Driver for the next few days.  I'll be posting up a few more reviews of books soon.  And I'll have pictures of my most recent class on how to make felted embellished jewelry just like this.

A Busy Day in the Studio

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Felted flowers group shot.jpg
Ian and I had a very productive day in the studio. He took photos of the rest of the wool and also all my kits, jewelry and needle felted animals.The above photo is of all my felted flowers, plus look closely and you can see my needle tabby enjoying the flowers. 

 I worked on three scarves using Felbi pre-felt. I love experimenting and I learn so much when I take the time to do so. I am going  teach a class next week that uses the Felbi pre-felt and really wanted to know what can be done and what are the problems. Only one of the scarves did not turn out the way I wanted to, but I know why, and I'll repair the scarf by using my new needle felting machine.

I hope they are dry tomorrow especially the one with protuberances. I tied little marbles into different parts of the scarf so that it would have a very interesting texture.  My son did a good bit of this work, and it'll be fun to see how it turns out.

Andrea stopped by and we discussed the next show for Bead + Fiber. It is going be an African themed show tentatively titled "Into Africa". We are working with the Hamill Gallery. It is going to be a tight deadline, but we'll keep it together for you.

My Favorite Felt Books

Uniquely Felt
Uniquely Felt is one of my favorite felting books especially for beginners.  I got to take felt making classes with Christine a few years back while she was just finishing this book. It is truly a tour-de-force. If you have never made felt before, this is the book for you. Her directions are clear concise and even humorous. She goes over the basics in great detail and offers a number of simple, but not simplistic projects. Even if you have experience felt making, this book is a good addition to your library. For those of you who are advanced you will find her entries on shrinkage, wool types and the more complicated and sophisticated projects a welcome find. The only minor quibble I have with the book is that there is no section on jewelry.   You can purchase this book and others in my books section.

For Jewelry, you will have to go to Carol Cypher's book, Hand Felted Jewelry and beads. Carol's book has clear instructions on how to create jewelry and some very interesting projects.  The basics for making the jewelry components and the instructions for embellishing the jewelry is the reason I reach for her book. I would say this book is for intermediate felt makers, but there are plenty of pictures for the beginner, and interesting techniques for the advanced felter.
Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads: 25 Artful Designs

As always, if you have any questions about these books or other felt queries, feel free to drop me a line, either through comments or through the contact section of my page.  Also, you can purchase both these books through my amazon store.

Light Box and New Scarf

I've finally created the lightbox, and am going to be putting up new pictures of my work, as well as start placing new items on my etsy store including Wool, and Pre-Felt Batts.

The lightbox was a little more difficult than I expected, but once we got it up, we got some good pictures with it.  I think they'll come out better next time, but my son and I are still working.

Here's one of the pictures of the wool


Also, I'm working on a new scarf for one of the classes that I'm going to teach.  I'm creating a sample for them made out of Felbi Wool Batts from FIbreFusion.   Here are some pictures of the pattern that I'm working on:

image_laying_out_plaid scarf.jpg


I'll post some images up here after the class of the finished scarf and how the class went.

Review of How We Felt

Today, I'm going to start a semi-regular feature detailing felting books, and looking in-depth at some of the artists involved in the books.  One of the books that I've been using recently is "How we Felt: Designs and Techniques by Contemporary Felt Artists" by Carol Huber Cypher.  It is a collection of different felting instructions from felt artists around the world, showing off their unique felting "recipes".


This book is a very advanced manual from which one can create beautiful work.  This book is not for the newcomer but rather the confident felt artist.  There are fewer pictures of how to do the basic elements of felting, and the instructions include a number of specific felting language.  

In the book, you can find some of the work of Lisa Klakulak.  Her item is a beautiful "Brick House" handbag.  The piece involves creating a handbag using the ball method.  On her website, strongfelt.com, you can see more examples of her impressive work.


Besides handbags, she creates totes, gauntlets (fingerless gloves), scarves and other items.  As she says, her work is meant to contrast between the softness of the medium and the safety that handbags and clothing convey.  She works with felt as her base and often sews on other pieces of felt or buttons.

Lisa Klakulak_picnik.jpg

That's all for today.  I'm off to build a light box so that I can take pictures of some of the new work I've been doing.  I got the idea from Craftershock, and here's the link to their instructions. Take a look at them as the pictures they've taken with it look amazing.

The Politics of Beads

Today at Bead and Fiber, I put up our new show "The Politics of Beads".  The artist is Scott Schuldt, a bead artist who creates scenes that capture his feelings on war, television and the natural world.  He is up at Bead + Fiber from now until February 20th.  Here is an example of one of his beautiful and intense scenes, called Intelligent design #1:


He also creates beaded backpacks that are able, he says, to withstand practically anything:


To go along with the theme of politics and craft art, I've created a window installation using my piece "Happiness is a Warm Gun" in the window at Bead and Fiber.  Everything in the piece is needle felted.  They were first created for a show called Gun Play at the Fort Point gallery.  Waste not, want not:


Here is a close up of the bullets and the gun:


I've thought of doing more of this type of large work, but as anyone who has done large felted work can tell you, it's very intense and difficult.  For now, I'll stick to the smaller items, like these earrings that I'm creating today.

As always, you can find and purchase my work at Bead + Fiber in Boston, and, soon, online in my Etsy store.

Introduction to 3D Felt

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I teach classes on felting at a store called Bead and Fiber in Boston's South End. In my most recent class, I introduced my students to 3-D felting. I made several pairs of slippers as an examples for my students to show the possibilities of what they could make with felt. People are always astounded that you can make seamless3-D objects from wool. To demonstrate I made one par of slippers that was entirely whimsical, and while I enjoy them, my kids told me that they're a little unpractical. Take a look and judge for yourself:

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The class went well, and fortunately all the students came out with felted slippers!  These are the final products of my students:

Class Slippers.jpg

When you are in Boston, visit Bead and Fiber at 460 Harrison Ave.  Please sign up for a class on the website.  I'm happy to answer any questions that people might have over email:  barbip (at) yahoo.com.

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