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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

My First Seamless Felt Garments.

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I have been wanting to make a seamless felt garment for sometime now, but with holiday orders and all my obligations, the project had to be put on hold. Now that the holidays are over, I am so excited to start! It was so much fun to create a full seamless garment and such a puzzle. I made the jacket/shawl/shrug first . I only had a vague idea on how it was going to come together.

The first problem I encountered, was that, although I wanted a seamless garment, there was no way I could lay it out in one piece on my table. SO , my assistant, Oa and I pondered the problem and came up with a work-around. 

First, we cut the pattern, a back, two sleeves and what looked like the wings on a pre-historic butterfly. The back is a nuno with green silk chiffon, and various shades of green wool and inclusions  of other green silk materials ( I'll take close ups tomorrow), The sleeves were done in in a lattice weave going from light green to dark forest green. The "wings" are nuno on iridescent green silk chiffon with various shades of green merino wool roving on both sides.

We pre-felted everything separately . Then I pulled out my babylock needle felter, (for the first time I might add) , and needled the seams together. We than made a plastic foam resist, placed it  
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between the back, the wings and inside the sleeves and continued to felt. When everything was holding together, we then fulled the jacket without the resists.  This is a detail of the jacket's sleeves. 


Below, you see what the wings do when crossed over the chest. Tomorrow, I will write about making the dress. AND. I will have a model trying it on, so I will have new pictures.
This is the most complicated garment I have made to date and I am tickled with how it came out.

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This has inspired me to start a little "collection" with this being the first based on the four elements.This jacket and dress represent earth, I think I will tackle air next: A WEDDING GOWN!!!





The other day Bead + Fiber ran out of Handmade Needle Felted Animals for the holidays. People really love these cute sheep! What's a Christmas Tree without a Sheep!  Here is a wonderful new needle felted sheep that I have created for this year holidays.  You can find them at Bead + Fiber or at my Etsy Store.

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