Recently in Fiber Artists Category

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!

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

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

flower without beads.jpg
      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
, rubrum lily.jpg

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

felt flowers new.jpg
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. 
close up of free style embrodery.jpgIMG_5506.JPG
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. 
needles stash.jpg

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.

free style embroidery.jpg

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!

New Year, New Felt



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 
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,

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.

laying out felt.jpg

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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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???

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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