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Hello, everyone! I've just returned from is New York City,where I bought new silks for my new line of spring scarves and shawls.  In the next few weeks I'll have some updates on my unique spring felt fashion creations!

I have been a busy felt maker and marketing maven lately.  Recently, I was featured on the Boston Neighborhood Network's program "It's All Abouts Arts" hosted by Glen Williams and Suzanne Schultz.  "It's All About Arts" has been on public television for thirteen years and is a respected source of information about the arts in Boston.  Over the next week I'll post more clips from the video interview.

Today, however, I wanted to highlight something that ended up on the cutting room floor.  My son and I made this video about making a blue circular shawl which I did not use in my video taped interview.  A circular shawl is made from circle pattern, so it has no sleeves and is more like a vest with a wide collar that drapes over your shoulders. It is the perfect lightweight covering for summer and spring, especially in summer, when restaurants will last that air conditioning.

I took the circle pattern from the December issue of Threads Magazine. My inspiration for the patterns of the wool was water. For this project I used beautiful hand panted silk chiffon from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The silk I used was very special because it had just a touch of glitter in it.  In the video, you'll see how I lay out the wool, and how I create the patterns that end up on the finished product.


I hope you enjoyed this and there will soon be other videos that I'll be putting up over the next week.  You can find all of my videos hosted on youtube.  Happy Felting!


 


What an an absolutely marvelous time I had yesterday.  I worked with Rachel Worrall, Carolyn Ross and her assistant Carmen at Wellesely College's greenhouse, producing photos of my seamless nuno felted creation, "Earth". I have always wanted to create something that evolved around the four elements, and though I paint and have made many paintings, which somtimes include one of the elements, as a series, I could never quite see my way to a complete narrative.

When I started imagining making seamless garments- envisioning the designs, colors and styles-that is when I found my narrative thread, (no pun intended). Fiber, wool, felt are all so elemental. I don't think it is a stretch to say that the four elements are involved in the creation of felt. There is the wool, from sheep who feed on and fertilize the earth. Water, a very necessary ingredient for creating firm solid felt. Air, well, anyone who has ever made felt, will tell you how much effort one exerts in the rolling and beating, stretching of the wool, all of which requires air. Lastly fire, in felt, hot water will speed the felting process along, and hot water, requires fire.

I am planning on creating four ensembles to represent the four elements. I started with "Earth" I used lots of different greens from my B. Felt palette, and some hot house flower colors. I think I was trying to escape, at least in my mind, the stark cold reality of winter in Boston.

 Next I will get to work on water. I just purchased some spectacular hand painted blue silk chiffon from Gorgeous Fabrics. I am imagining a little cocktail dress with lots of flirty ruffles. Oh well we will see,. I begin by drawing, but then something happens when I actually start manipulating the fabric, It talks to me, directs me to its form and colors. As artists we should always pay attention to those voices. I know that if I try to force an idea instead of just grabbing it by the tail and allowing it to pull me along, I am inevitably disappointed..

 

Felt Flowers Redoux

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Yes, another entry about felt flowers, I have two dozen made, but not quite finished yet. Last night, however I put three of them to use, creating a headpiece for Rachel to wear for today's photo shoot  with Carolyn Ross at Wellesley Colleges' greenhouses.
Hat making 1.jpgI was fooling around in my studio trying to attach the flowers to the felted green cording in the picture, (the cording was originally intended for the back of the Nuno felt dress) without much luck. Then inspiration struck, or maybe desperation since it was 5 PM and I knew I needed something by 8:30 AM today. Why not wrap the cord around an already existing headband? Of course, I didn't have one in my studio so it was off to CVS to buy my supplies and finish the felt headpiece at home. I also brought home, all my flowers, left over green cord from another project (has a little bit of glitz in it) pins, thread, sewing needles and glue.

I wrapped the felted cord tightly around the headband with  glue along the back. Than I took the odd piece of felt cord and attached it to the felt cord, already glued down on the headband. I attached it by stitching it down, in such a way, to make the cord undulate across the headband.

Then I went all out wrapping and stitching cord  and finallyHat making 2.jpg
I stitched the the felt flowers. I also had made some free, form felt leaves. the leaves were made from pre-felt. The felt leave were used judiciously on cords that hang from the headpiece and I also attached them on the end of the band.
 
I took this picture at 11:45 PM last night. I went to bed convinced that I had failed. I just couldn't tell if it was going to work. I tried it on and well, lets just say mother nature would be ban me from the garden.   
Hat finished.jpg Doubts, Doubts and more Doubts which are all part of the artists dilemma. I decided to ignore the left brain critic and brought the felted headpiece to the shoot anyway. What did I have to loose? It wouldn't be the first time something that I had made ended  up in the circular file.  BUT not this time, the shoot at the greenhouse went better than I could have hoped and I will post pictures and videos tomorrow. When I placed the felted headpiece on Rachel, it tied the whole Nuno felted jacket and Nuno felt dress together.  On Rachel, the headpiece comes alive and the scale is perfect. I love this picture of her. Thank you Rachel and Carolyn Ross for the beautiful photograph.

Rachel hat 2.jpg



Here are some images of Judit Pócs Felt Hats that I really like.  I clipped them from the tutor gallery. I find all of her work inspiring!









Handmade Wool Felt Hats for Winter

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I have been making all kinds of wonderful handmade wool felt hats this winter so I wanted you to take a look at my new work. Each hat is handcrafted from wool felt I make in my studio so they are a one of a kind work of art for your head.

Here is a picture of Oliver Poole wearing a grey felt hat that is long enough to cover his ears and funky felt dreads on the top.
grey hat worn by oliver.jpg
This is a short slide show of some of my other hats, take a look and give me your feedback. (BTW, the black rims on the hats are part of the hat forms, it is not the hat)


Today I read an interesting post on a beautiful blog called Clasheen By Nicola Brown.  She writes about incorporating hand dyed silk velvet into her work.  I really like to add new materials into my wool felt pieces.  Nuno felting is process of laminating wool and another fabric, silk, cotton wool. One of the ways of determining if a fabric can be used to nuno, is if the fabric is transparent or you can blow through it. This opens up a big wide world of fabric types, such as chiffon, silk or synthetic, gauze like fabric. It is also fun to laminate two different fabrics together with the wool in between acting as the "glue". Velvet can also be used, I especially like using "burn out silk velvet". That is velvet where the space around the pattern is usually a sheer fabric. Collaging, is also possible, incorporating into the felting process, other bits of not wool materials, such as Isoy fiber, cellulose fibers and silk roving. Wonderful effects can be achieved, there are so many possibilities to be creative. 

Here is an picture of how I incorporated velvet into a pair of Pulse Warmers or fingerless gloves that I posted last night on the blog.

The "Pulse Warmer" on my left hand show the affect of combining cut silk velvet and merino wool. I have done a lot of experiments using wool and velvet. I find the best way to insure a true marriage of the two materials is to "frame" the edges of the velvet with the wool. In the gauntlets, below the back, or palm side is all merino wall, wrapping around to trap the edges on the front of the gloves. During the finishing process of the gloves it was necessary to trim the cuff ad where the fingers extend, this released the edges of the velvet so it was necessary to finish the gloves with velvet ribbon trim. 

nuno-felted-Pulse-Warmers.jpg

I am really having fun creating these fashionable, very feminine wool felt "Pluse Warmers".  I get cold in New England, so I need these fingerless gloves or gauntlets to keep me warm.  I prefer, of course, to call them "Pulse Warmers", and I make them from Merino Wool to be soft and warm and the length of your forearm.  Here is a little slide show of some of my favorite designs.  Tell me what you think! Would you wear them???


Here is a slide show of my fall line of Felt Fashion Accessories from B. Felt.  Rachel Worrall does a wonderful job modeling the pieces. The one-of-a-kind handmade creations are for sale at Bead + Fiber in Boston's South End.  Naphtali Visser is the photographer who did the fashion shoot.  I really appreciate their help!

 

I entered a wool felt scarf into the Scarf and Shawl Auction.  Until November 15, the auction will be open to buyers who want to bid on fabulous wool scarves, shawls, workshops and books. 

The Surface Design Association has nearly 4000 members worldwide.  Each member creates textiles, paper, art, etc in his or her unique style.  Each scarf, shawl, DVD or book in this auction has been created by the artist for this auction.

 The Surface Design Association auction supports the Creative Promise Awards, conference scholarships, various SDA grants, and additional member benefits.  


My Winter Kelp Scarf is # 10 on the list of all items being sold.




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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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