Friday, February 24, 2012

Finishing up some loose ends...

I finally got back in the studio today, to finish the scrim scarf from a few days ago. I thought I would share the process of nuno felting here... I recall when I was first learning to felt, I studied a lot of blogs!

After laying out the wool, thinly, on the scrim, I covered it with a sheer curtain, wetted it out with warm, soapy water, and rubbed. I use both my hands and a felting stone. It needs to develop a type of "skin," and hang together. You know when you're done if when you pinch the wool and it sticks together.
At this point, you roll it up in bubble wrap (or bamboo).

 Here's when I took a diversion. I felted in the dryer. It feels like cheating. Roll it up in the plastic, then roll it up in a towel. Secure it, and pop it in the dryer for ten minute increments. Air dry. No heat. Pull it out and re-roll the bundle after every ten minutes. I did this four times. In the meantime, I layed out another scarf! Trying to make good use of time!

After it appears to have firmly migrated and felted, it needs to be fulled. I like to use a washboard with hot, soapy water. Then I throw it until it looks pebbly and has shrunk. 

After it dries and is ironed, it needs to have a photo shoot. I have a dress form I made myself from papier mache. I love her. All told, felting takes me several hours, from layout to finished product. A labor of love? Yep. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michael Pollan

A big passion of mine is food sustainability and food justice, both for the consumer and the farmer. I believe in organic, bio intensive production, in paying our organic family farmers a living wage, and ensuring that our livestock are treated humanely. We decided that our family deserves organic food, grown as locally as possible. We have to sacrifice a larger portion of our paychecks to purchase the whole foods our family enjoys, but the rewards are worth it. It's a matter of priority. I just cut back in other areas. 

 I believe that the extra money I pay now for excellent produce actually saves me money (and heartache) later in life, as my health is better, my kids are healthier. Cheap food is expensive in the long run. We garden, we raise chickens and ducks, we go to the farmers market weekly, and we buy organic from grocers. I came across this stop motion animation from Michael Pollan, an author I admire. It sums up a lot of my thinking on the matter... and it's pretty entertaining!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

nuno felt with cotton scrim

I've been working with cotton scrim lately. It's a nice change from silk... I love the texture it offers. As the wool felts to the surface, it changes the structure of the scrim, and adds a lot of surface dimension. You can see some for sale on my Etsy page Here and Here.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

“Beware of artists – they mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous“. ~ Queen Victoria

My lovely feltmaking guru, the artist Dawn Edwards, is being featured in a new interview on the blog of Felt United. Her words are lovely, and inspiring. I love what she has to say about taking on the weight of the moniker, "Artist." Such a heavy word. Dawn is a warm, and kind hearted person, and she really shines in this interview. Find it under "Featured Artists- U.S."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter branches

I find inspiration in small details. With winter- and spring- the landscape is harsh and monochromatic. However, I love how I can see into the trees in this season. With the leaves gone, the trees expose their languid branches. I worked with Alpaca for this scarf. It's so amazingly soft. The natural colors in the fleece look like stone. I laid out the fibers like the trees outside my studio- long, thin, bare, and dark. You can see it's Etsy listing HERE. Today, I took her out for a photo shoot- spurred on by the afternoon sun casting shadows on the bare lawn. I love the textural contrast between the felt and the birch bark.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New blog. New direction.

Tap tap tap... is this thing on?

I've decided to take a new direction with my work, and my Etsy store. I've been focused on the art making part of felting- the actual creating, the materials, and the ideas. However, I'm also a "shop" owner, and have embarked on this blog as a function of that. The web is a vast place, and I need to carve out my own space. So, welcome. It's my desire to talk feltmaking with you, art making, and meaning making. I'm interested in ideas expressed visually, in living an artful and meaningful life.

Several years ago, my husband and I moved our family from the city to a country property. We have three small children and wanted a more agrarian life for them. Our new home has meadows, groves of dark pines, nature, flowers, gardens, chickens, ducks, rabbits... and it has changed me. I'm passionate about sustainable living, about social justice and food equity. I believe in farming, in touching the dirt. Making felt embodies those things for me. The wool, the sheep, the smell of the materials and the feel of it in the hand inspire me. I make felt because it makes sense.  I love wool for what it's not- pesticide laden, manufactured, synthetic. Do you share these feelings? If you do, grab a mug. Stay awhile. Thanks for being.