Recently in Wool Category

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

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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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Extreme Sheep: LED Art

This video has nothing to with felting. Never-the-less I had to post the video since I have become extremely fond of sheep as I have worked with their wool and understand the various breeds. I had everyone in my family rolling on the floor laughing at this one.

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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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Felting wool requires an understanding of the vocabulary used in the textile industry to describe wool quality. Often when you go to a site you will see the term "wool tops". I did not know what this meant for a long time, but now that I do, it makes it easier to understand and buy wool. Wool tops refers to the finest wool with the longest fibers. After combing and carding the wool to remove the short hairs, the highest quality long fibers are known as the wool tops. The combination of long and fine fibers make the wool easy to felt.
The best definition that I found comes from the 1917 Bulletin 47 of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers:


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Recently I went to a felting workshop in Kansas with Lisa Kalakulak of Strong Felt.  This workshop was one of the more amazing experiences I have had.  All of the people there were focused upon their work because of the leadership of Lisa.  She was intense and it allowed all of us to be equally intense.  I learned a number of new techniques while I was there including incorporating different materials, creating 3-d designs, and using embroidery to highlight the design of the felt.  Here are some examples of work myself and other students did:


I've begun incorporating these techniques into my own work, and though I haven't had much time to create too much, my first attempt at incorporating velvet into a felted hat.  Here is the result:


I'll have more new work soon, as well as exciting new classes that I've been doing.  I hope to write again soon, and I hope you all do well in the meantime.  Keep creating!

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.

B.Felt - uniquely crafted, exquisite fashion accessories on Facebook