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Second round of voting and then the floors.

 

Some of you may know that I am competing in a contest to win the spot on the cover of the magazine The Craft Report" it is an industry magazine devoted to all business concerning art and craft shows and it is distributed throughout the USA. The voting is being conducted through Facebook in elimination rounds and I won in my "heat" with (drum roll) 491 LIKES!!!!! The next round of elimination voting is tomorrow. for 24 hours the polls are open and if I win, I will go on to be one of the four finalists competing for the cover. This whole experience has given me a little insight into what it takes to get elected. It is not enough to have friends, you have to have friends who vote and who are willing to help you win by sharing your message with their friends. The sharing is key. Not all friends will vote, but by sharing you can get other peoples' friends to vote and hopefully create a tsunami, a ground swell of support to push you to the top. I have been humbled and I am grateful for all the support I have received thus far and I hope you will continue to support me by going to the link www.facebook.com/CraftsReport. Tomorrow Friday, June 29,  after 11 am and "Liking" and "Sharing".  Look for my image, of my lovely aMonica Red Micro Coa.jpgssistant Monica in the Red Micro Coat. 

This is a seamless nuno felted, coat, hat and gauntlets. I used vintage silks and silk chiffon. The collar is a piece of lace from the lingerie designer Damaris Evans.



LOWELL LOFT UPDATE

In a recent conversation with daughter, who lives in Montana, I was discussing the trials and tribulations of loft living, my daughter chastised me, "Mom, ( be sure to draw the syllable out when repeating) you were supposed to experiment with the bohemian life style when you were young, brilliant and energetic" To which I responded, "I know, now I am doing it when I am old, bordering senility, and exhausted" Yes, there is a reason for youth.  Despite the constant feeling of living in the midst of a yard sale, I am making progress and making felt.   The image on the left is two new shawls drying on top of my new felting table, complete with a gutter to drain excess water. The table was created by Andrew Courtney of Red Hammer Builders. I love it and it is working very well.


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Upon moving into our new loft it became apparent quickly that something had to be done to the floors. They are in deplorable condition and an endless source of rusty dust! It gets on and into everything. Though we were assured that the floors were sealed, it seems that washing and vacuuming accomplishes nothing. SO we begin the saga of "How do you refinish concrete floors?" Not cheaply it seems.

 

After many meetings, and back forth e-mails between tenants, the consensus, was scrub with a wire brush, till your back and arms ache, add water, wet-vac, and then paint or stain using an acrylic product. You then stand back and watch patches detach themselves, because you didn't get up all the grit. The good news is that the peeling paint lifts the grit and the subsequent touch up holds up nicely.

 

I decided to use a pale gray, to brighten up the space, as the only light source is from the windows at the front of the space. I love the color, it is called Arctic white and it is a Behr product. Our space is very large a little of 1600 sq ft. and because we have to move all our stuff around to accomplish the herculean task, we broke it up into thirds. Of course, most people would have logically started with the area that was furthest from the door and go forward from there, but remember I am bordering on senility, so naturally we started with the third that is closest to the door, the kitchen area.


A weekend of scrubbing, two coats of paint and suddenly I realized that this gorgeous light color was a dirt and stain magnet. Rather than totally repaint I thought I would try my hand at a little decorative painting.Kitchen floor.jpg I got the idea from my good friend Andrea Garr who owns a delightful store in the south end of Boston, Bead + Fiber. This look is accomplished by taking a painting roller and wrapping duct tape at intermittent intervals. I am rather pleased with the result, but I am going to confine the technique to just the kitchen area as I will be putting out area rugs in most other areas, with the exception of my studio, where I work with water, I will leave the floor as is.

 

Thank you to all who read this blog and thank you to all who vote tomorrow.

Happy Felting.



Nuno Felt Dress Inspired by Water

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for water dress front.jpgIsn't Rachel fetching in my latest nuno felt dress in my series of garments inspired by "The Elements".  The first dress I titled "Earth" and that dress gave me fits.  I thought I had measured correctly, but I did not take into account the shrinkage of the fabric, which was rayon. Plus I let the dress dry without blocking or placing a form inside. I saved the dress, rather successfully I think, by slicing the back up and turning the back into a corset style back. So, I put those lessons learned  into my next dress.

I started with the idea of water and waves gently lapping the shore. I wanted the dress to be fluttery and express the colors of the ocean. I chose silk chiffon, and silk organza in shades of deep ocean blue, sparkling island turquoise, storm gray with touches of white. I designed the dress with a gored skirt, the gore is in the front and back with a dropped waist. I then added v-neck front and v-neck back which means I did not have to deal with buttons, zippers or fastners. Rachel just steps into the dress.water dress back.jpg


The dress fits Rachel pefectly. I achieved this by using a duct tape dummy to dry the dress on. If you ever have to make something fit perfectly start with a duct tape dummy. I learned how to make a duct tape dummie by following these instructions.

This dress "Water" and the other dress "Earth" are going to be in the 2nd annual Wearable Art Show st the Bead + Fiber Gallery in Boston Ma. I organized this show and it takes place during the SOWA artwalk, May 15 & May 16 at 2pm. If you are in the area please come, and pray for nice weather as the event takes place outdoors.

Happy Felting 
Felt is one of  oldest non-woven textiles. It is incredibly durable. It can be light weight and gossamer or as thick as saddle leather. It is 20 degrees fahrenheit in Boston today and as I sit in the store Bead + Fiber and watch the people scurry to their next warm destination, I think, they would be so much more comfortable if they were bundled up in felt. Among my many jobs to survive as an artist, I am the curator for a very unique gallery in Boston, MA, Bead + Fiber.   Teddy_Bear_Skull_Ursulus_lenis.jpg
It is unique in that it sells the materials for bead and fiber artists, conducts classes and workshops in bead and fiber techniques and about every six weeks I change the windows and the gallery space  with a new show. Presently, the show I have up now, "Handle With Care' is a group show of artists who use the handbags as as a means of expression,

The owner of the gallery and a bead artist, Andrea Garr is off visiting her girls in Colorado and then off to Tuscon for the biggest, baddest bead show in the US. SO I am gallery sitting for her today, and since it is so bloody freezing here in Boston, no one is coming into the store, I have decided to spend the day surfing the web looking for felt artists.

This image on the left is not an anthropological find. It is the phenomenal art of Stephanie Metz. Her art is an example of what a humble craft, can become in the hands of an artist. Stephanie creates her sculptures, by needle felting, yes, just one poke at a time, this sculpture is from "The Teddy Natural History" series .  Her work is elegant, well executed and frightening. Her work makes me question the innocence of toys, evolutionary science, genetic engineering and parenthood. I love going back to her site repeatedly to see what has evolved out of her very fertile imagination. Super_Suckler_Pig_Extra_Teats_Angle.jpg

On the right is " Super Suckler" from the series "Overbred Animals"  . This series addresses genetic engineering for our betterment, bigger chicken breasts, more milk and the unintended consequences of these quests.

Her latest work is titled " Pelts "  in her statement, she talks about the overwhelming feelings of becoming a parent and the all encompassing  instinctual urges we all have to protect and care  for our young. She goes on to say that after you strip away all our fancy gadgets, abilities, we are just mammals and the thing that all mammals have is hair. This image is titled "Pink Checkered Dress" it is felted wool over a found childs' dress. Stephanie lives in San Francisco. I hope to somday meet her and see her work in person, to let her know how deeply her work has affected me.Pink_Checkered_Dress.jpg

Life As An Itinerant Felt Maker

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New year, new felting classes. I teach felting at three different locations and I am forever packing and unpacking my car. I am always in fear of having forgotten something, and inevitably I do. Yesterday I taught at a felt hat class  Bead + Fiber,   to two delightful sisters. Maureen and Martha.  So what did I forget? My glass washboard. I love my glass washboard for making 3-d objects. After you have rolled and "fulled" the wool to a certain point, the washboard makes the "fulling" process go so quickly. Lucky for me, these two women were such good rollers and fullers that the washboard was unnecessary. What! You haven't tried a glass washboard? If you work on 3-d felt, it should be in your tool stash, you can buy one at Columbus washboard company. They are the last washboard manufacturing company in the USA http://www.columbuswashboard.com/martha hat class.jpg This is Martha laying out her hat and in the background you can see Maureen working on her hat.
maureen hat class.jpgHere is Maureen laying out her hat.

If you live in the Worcester area, I will be teaching a 6 week felting course starting on February 24th at the Worcester Art Museum, www.worcesterart.org/Education/Tomorrow night they will having an adult ed open house. from 5:30 - 7:30 come by and say hello. I will be doing a felting demonstration and would love to see you there. There will be free eats and drinks. 

I also have a few classes coming up at the Boston Center for Adult Educationhttp://bcae.org/  On January 23rd I will be teaching a Nuno shawl class and then on Jan 31st I will be teaching Embellished felted, beads, baubles, lariats and flowers.

There is still room in all the classes and if you register and let me know by e-mail your name will be entered to win a fabulous scarf kit, a $60. value. 

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Wool roving for felting or spinning is now available at the B. Felt Boutique. I sell Super Fine  100% Merino Wool in my own personal palette of over 70 vibrant colors.  At my B. Felt Boutique you can  find wonderful handmade felt creations: wool scarves, nuno felted shawls, unique hats, felted jewelry, handbags, and other fashion accessories.  In fact I just sold a pair of polka dot felt slippers with a rose on top that will be a fun Christmas present!

Of course, in real life, I sell my work  and provide felting instruction at Bead + Fiber, Andrea Garr's boutique in SoWa, a section of Boston Massachusetts.  Please visit the store at 460 Harrison Ave in Boston. 

For those of you would like to learn to felt, I give classes each week.  You can sign up for a class at Bead and Fiber.
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The Latest Felt Fashions from B. Felt

Here is a short video showing the development of many of my original designs for felt scarves, shawls, jewelry, hats, handbags and slippers.  All are soft, snugly, fun to wear and each one is unique!

I teach all these techniques in workshops and classes at Bead + Fiber, Boston Center for Adult Education and the Worcester Art Museum.  Learning to felt is great fun and you can create a beautiful garment in one three hour session.  Enjoy the slide show and I hope to see you at a class.

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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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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.

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:

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

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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:

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

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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.

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