Recently in Felt Category



I want to share with you some clips from the interview I did with Glenn Williams on the Boston Neighborhood Network show: "It's All About Arts".

This video highlights my model, Rachel Worrell wearing the blue circular shawl, which I showed the making of in a previous post, and an iridescent blue shawl. I don't work with blue often, as its a color that I excites me. I am trying to overcome my blue aversion. I think these pieces are stunning and fun. Rachel looks especially beautiful in blue.  Fortunately the video features the camera work captures the details of the iridescent shawl.

It was so much fun to do the interview and I had a lot of help. A big thank you to Rachel Worrell, model and friend, Michelle Poor, our make up artist, everybody at BNN, and my husband Chip, who attempted to solve an insolvable technical problem and did it with charm. I couldn't have done this without their help. Yea team!

As I mentioned in the interview, I am going to leap into dye.  Well this weekend, I did, in a very intense introduction to dye at Pro Chemical & Dye.  I did it all with the help of a marvelous teacher, Vicki Jensen.  My head is still spinning from all of the information. I am not exactly sure what I will be dye, probably wool or silk, but I do know that it is in my future. Later this year, I'm going to take another class on dyeing and felting, a master class, this time, called The Depth  and Breadth of Color Design in Feltmaking.  This class will be with the amazing artist, Jorie Johnson, and will also be held at Pro Chemical & Dye. This is a five day workshop and promises to be very exciting, to quote the catalog: "This class will encourage, even the most timid of dyers/felters to enjoy the ease in overlapping skills in both the fields of feltmaking and dyeing." 

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this video as much as I did making it. Next week, there'll be another video about the interview, this time featuring a necklace that I've done. Tomorrow, I'm going back to the studio to work on a new dress inspired by Edith Wharton's home The Mount. I will write more about this project, because it's very exciting new venture for me, and it ties in to the efforts of Rachel Worrell and others to help preserve her home and legacy.

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

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.

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      What a dreary day in Boston, rain, rain and more rain, but at least you don't have to shovel rain. It was  perfect day to be felting in my studio. I worked on finishing the felt flowers that my model Rachel will wear in her hair for the photo shoot on Wednesday. I am still uncertain as to whether I should bead the flowers. Here is my dilemma, on the left is the felt flower in all its glorious "feltedness"


 On the right, is the felt flower I beaded as a gift for my    flower with beads.jpg
ex-assistant Oa. I think the beads make it look spectacular, but it takes me two and half hours to bead!!! As beautiful as they are, I can't charge enough to make up for my time. What to do.? I retail my simple felted flowers for $30. I would have to charge at least $50 in order to make the embellishments worth my time. I suppose I can make a few and see what the market says.

I love the color of this felt flower. I blended three different colors of my merino wool roving. Rubrum Lily
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La Sunrise LA Sunrise.jpg




Black Raspberry   Black Rasberry.jpg Three very luscious hot colors. Just the medicine for a miserable winter day. All these colors and more are available in my boutique .

Sunday was the going away party for Oa and I gave her the felted flower broach. Doesn't she look beautiful wearing it?oa & Flower.jpg


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The temperature is dropping here in Boston and I miss my little garden in the city. I should call it what it really is a "yardette". But in the spring and summer right into the fall, I call it paradise. I love flowers in all their infinite variety. So today I decided to cure my craving by finishing the felt flowers my former assistant Oa had made for me. I usually finish the felt flowers with a lot of beading. I'm a big fan of the adage, "why do less when you can do more?" But this time, I'm not so sure. These felt flowers were created a little differently than my usual  wool felt flowers.                                                                                                                                                            This time, I decided to do some freestyle embroidery first to help the felt flowers lay flat. I learned the embroidery technique in a workshop I took last year with Lisa Klakulak . By embroidering in the center of the felt flower, over and over, the wool is compressed making the center of the flower pop up. I love this technique. But I am in a quandary. 
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Do I embellish with beads or not? I love the way the felt flowers look without the beads. However, it goes against my nature to not gild the lilly, no pun intended.  At least one of these felt flowers will be embellished and that is the flower I am giving to Oa at her going away party Sunday night. Maybe, when I see that flower finished I will know which way to go. 




If any you have tried freestyle embroidery on wool felt you probably have a stash of machine needles just like I have. I think, I have tried every needle on the market and no matter what I do they break. 
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Now, I believe I have finally found the perfect needle. Schmetz, Microtex 80/12. I tried it all day yesterday and the same needle is still in the machine! I used all kinds of threads, cotton, rayon, Sulky all with equally good results. It makes me want to try some more embroidery on wool felt.

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I just found this video of Martha Stewart talking about the Cooper-Hewit National Museum Fashioning Felt Exhibit which was in New York during 2009.  I love the video about making felt, so here it is!
TThis weekend I am teaching an exciting felt making workshop on making 3-D sculptural felt vessels using the "felting over a ball" technique developed by Beth Beede, a very creative Massachusetts felt maker.  There is a good description of the technique at: http://www.spinsterstreadle.com/norwegian_wool_vessel.pdf.  Also Carol Cypher describes the technique in her book" how we felt".  Pat Sparks has another good post on her site at "Experiments with Hat on a Ball".

With all this background, here are some pictures to inspire you. These photos were taken of
my class yesterday. We had very enthusiastic felt makers! (Thanks to Ann Marie and Sharon for letting me use their photos) I'll post some videos of the class, as well, so you can hear and see how  the steps are done when using the "felting over a ball" technique.  

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The first step is to lay the wool over a 9" deflatable Gertie brand ball. (You can click through the pictures to  enlarge the image)







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Then you carefully lay down the wool in layers.  We will be adding about eight layers of wool on the ball.








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You pat the wool down so it stays on the ball.









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As you are laying out the wool, you can add more colors.  Since the wool fibers will migrate as the wool is agitated, the colors will show through in the final vessel.  You can achieve wonderful blends of color and texture by doing this.



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Now, I have 8 layers of wool covering the Gertie ball.  You can see how big this ball of wool gets!  in this picture I am decorating my vessel  with silk fibers, acrylic yarns, and sparkling cellulose fibers so the outside of the vessel will look really interesting when I am finished.





IMG_0575-ball-in-pantyhose.jpgThen we push this gigantic ball into a pair of pantyhose to hold the vessel together as we agitate the wool.  Here is what it looks like when we have stuffed the wool ball into the pantyhose.





This was the first day of two 4 hour workshops.  In the next post, I will show you remove to the vessel from the pantyhose and continue the felting process.  More to come!

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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New Year, New Felt

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We all start out the New Year with high resolve. Maybe on your list is learning new  felting techniques or just becoming more aware of what others are doing in the medium. Right now, there are two artists who are inspiring me to greater experimentation in felting. The
first is Judit Pócs a Hungarian feltmaker extraordinaire; I purchased her DVD, On Gentle Threads, a film by Judit Pócs and  István Rittgasser, without many expectations. I had 
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seen one of her amazing hat sculptures and was just hoping to see more, and if I didn't like it, I was going to send it back. I have now watched it about a dozen times! Each time is a total inspiration! It is not a "how to video", though we do see her creating this fabulous rug, you cannot learn to felt by watching this video. What you do get is a glimpse into this astounding artist's creative mind. The film gives this wonderful overview of the felt process from sheep to finished product. On Gentle Threads is filled with the rich color and texture of wool. Judit Pócs tells a very compelling story with animation and digital special effects. If you have $45 burning in your pocket, or a birthday coming up, and you are a felt devotee, get a copy of this DVD. I purchased it through New England Felting Supply.

 I wish I could find a web site devoted to her work, but it doesn't seem to be that she has her own site. I know, I must be doing something wrong in my search. If anybody out there can direct me to her site, I would be be most grateful. 


Go to "Felting Fashion: Creative and Inspirational Techniques for Feltmakers" page

 
Another source for inspiration for me has been Lizzie Houghton, Felting Fashion:Creative and Inspirational Techniques for Feltmakers.  This book is billed as a "how-to-book", but only if you have quite a bit of experience will you be able to puzzle out the directions. That said, if you forgot about the exercises and projects, this is a book of colorful inspiration. If I am stuck about color a look through her book and I am newly inspired. She has a gift for combining, blending colors and textures that is both original, witty and modern. Her fearlessness allows me to take bigger challenges in my choices of color and fabric. You can purchase this book by going through my website on the books page. 

Lizzie is a British feltmaker and you can learn more about her, see her latest work and her schedule on her website, http://www.lizziehoughton.com/

I would love to hear who inspires you in your felt making? Comment and tell us who you look to when for inspiration, new techniques and challenges. Happy New year and Happy Felting.
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How to felt: 3-d felting

3-d felting is one of the more interesting and fun ways to felt.  As I showed you, my children and I recently created slippers using a 3-d method of felting called the resist method.  This method involves cutting out a piece of foam and laying the wool down around the resist.

First, one traces the shape of the foot on the piece of paper.  Then, one adds 3 inches to the entire slipper.  These three inches are so that the wool can shrink and end up fitting the person's foot.  Next, one traces this shape onto a piece of foam, and cuts out the slipper shape.

Once you have the slipper shape, you can begin to lay down the wool. I recommend 6 layers of wool in total. Then you wet it, flip it over, and carefully lay wool down on the other side.  Once both sides are laid out, you can roll the wool up and begin felting.

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After you've rolled the wool for at least 30 minutes, you can take the slipper out and, if it passes the pinch test, you should cut it open and remove the resist.  The slipper can then be hand felted by rubbing it against a rough surface such as bubble wrap or a washboard.

This is basically what I do when I create a pair of woolen slippers.  If you're interested in learning this, and you live in the Boston area, check out my upcoming classes at Boston Center for Adult Education.
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