Moving Over

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Winter Song

Days shorten, children sicken, schools close and meetings pile up. Promises made, deadlines pass, apologies offered.  I wonder where the days have gone. Interviews completed, orders filled, deliveries made. Opportunities arise, boxes packed, bookshelves moved, all is good. Sometimes, what I need most of all is a few moments of quiet followed by a little perspective.

It has been such a busy fall it is hard to prioritize the excitement. SpiderFelt has moved down the hall at BallardWorks to studio 2D. I’m sharing a beautiful space with fellow feltmaker Linda Kjarstad. We have twice the space, twice the light and twice the fun. If only there was a way to capture the feeling of working with golden sunshine streaming on my shoulders; it makes the most monotonous work enjoyable.

With these new digs, we will be able to teach classes and host workshops with lots of elbow room to spare. Come see the new work we’ve been creating and start your holiday shopping by supporting local artists.

There were several large wholesale orders for felt soaps and kits that kept me in production mode in September and October. But just in time for tomorrow’s open studio, I finished a pair of new nunofelt vests or wraps, depending on how you wear them.

Out of the blue, I was interviewed for an article about felting that ran on the AP newswire, which means it was published in various newspapers across the country and will continue to run for the rest of November. It was enjoyable to speak at length about a subject that soothes and excites me every day. The author, Jennifer Forker, did an excellent job providing an overview of the various types of felting.

Unfortunately, this will be our last artwalk for 2011 as the building will not be open for the December artwalk. BallardWorks is located at 2856 NW Market St. We hope to see you tomorrow night.

For the Love of Color

Last week, I was invited by a magazine to send some felt geodes to their offices to be photographed for the Spring 2012 issue. It was a good reason to finish felting the geodes I’d needled this summer while my studio was officially closed.

The geode kit has been a popular item in my Etsy shop for several years. Currently, each kit contains 1 oz of wool, 2 felting needles, a 3″ foam square and instructions for needling and wetfelting a geode. However, when I create geodes for sale in my studio, I use more wool than offered in the kits because they just seem better that way.

Incidentally, the black walnut cutting board is from Gray WorksDesign. I love the footed design and the curved sides. More than simply functional, it is a beauty.

After a bit of tweaking, I’ve decided to reformulate the geode kit, swapping out a few colors and increasing the amount of wool. This will mean a small price increase, but I think the results are worth it.

This new collection of geodes is available in my Etsy shop and in my studio this Saturday during the Ballard ArtWalk from 6-9pm. Should you be in the neighborhood, make sure to stop by BallardWorks at 2856 NW Market St.

Shades of Green

One of the experiments I tried at Whidbey was using a loosely woven apple green cotton scarf I found as at a thrift store as the base for a nunofelted piece. I paired it with merino roving handpainted in shades of moss, grass and pea green by Faun at Handsandotions.

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The scarf started out 60″ long, not nearly long enough to make a long nunofelted scarf. It was wide enough to split vertically, then lay out end to end. I put down some pieces to span a deliberate gap in the middle, making the piecework a design feature.

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Note: I found this unpublished post in my draft folder. At this point, I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it. This is one of my favorite scarves, one of just a few I decided to keep for myself.

Bless This Home

A customer admired my felt flowers during the most recent artwalk. He picked up a brilliant yellow flower with a purple center attached to a headband. “Can you make this in reverse?” He was inspired to present his sister with a purple lotus as a housewarming gift. “Anything is possible,” I told him happily.

Aiming to please, I created two flowers so he could select his favorite. When he came to pick up the finished flower on Sunday, I asked him to tell me more about his sister. When she returned to the US after spending a few years working in southern India, she began a tradition of painting or making a purple lotus blossom for loved ones when they moved to a new home. According to local tradition in her community, the flower represented the cleansing of a space, offering the dwelling new breath. Finally, it was his turn to offer something for her new home.

As the school year draws to a close, I am wrapping up operations in my Etsy shop and studio. My trusty sidekick will package any kit sales that happen while I’m away. The rest of my inventory will be offline until I return. While I will have some access to email, it is nice to spend the evening in bed with a book instead of waiting for the churning of a slow connection as it trolls for a satellite signal. It may be wishful thinking, but I’m packing six books for the four weeks I’ll be away in New Hampshire. I look forward to making a valiant dent in the pile.

Experiments with Drape

A sales representative from Rimmon brought fabric samples to Seattle recently, giving me the chance to handle pieces I don’t normally see. While the prices were essentially retail, the variety was so much more than I have seen at our local fabric stores.

I experimented with a couple of bolts, buying the minimum 10 yards of something that had no label, just to see what it would do. The first fabric is a loose knit, that drapes just how I imagined it would; the fiber content is anyone’s guess. I nunofelted some basic merino with a squiggle of tencel for shimmer to see how it would react.

This started as two yards of fabric, but the felt cinched the fabric substantially, leaving me with a piece that is 38″ long, a little longer than 1 yard. My intention was to use it as a window covering for the small window in our front door, but once I draped it around the mannequin, possibilities seem to open up.

Cool Wall, Warm Space

Waiting for my appointment on Wednesday, I was struck by the contrast in structures and textures at Nola in Fremont. Located next to the Burke Gilman Trail at the corner of Stone Way and Northlake Way, the original structure was built as a depot for goods shipped to Fremont by train.

With a lot of vision, pluck and faith, Brandon and Jennifer Trimble renovated a dark, scarred premises vacant for more than a year to create a space that is both chic and warm. Exposed timbers, painted brick walls, vintage upholstered pews and classic gym lockers pull together a look that is hard to label. It was exactly the sort of place I wanted to photograph my new collection of sheepskins, pillows and wall hangings.

The wool for these pieces was all sourced from Island Fibers on Lopez Island in May. Several intrepid friends responded to my request for help wrangling the bags of raw fleece. I am deeply grateful for their enthusiasm.

Seeing is believing, but to touch these pieces is to fall in love with wool in a way you didn’t know was possible. Sink your fingers into the wool during the Ballard Artwalk this Saturday June 11 from 6-9pm at 2856 NW Market, Studio 2b. If you are too far from Seattle to visit, each of these pieces will be listed in my Etsy shop.

Thank you Jennifer, Eunice, Brandon and Chad!


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Medusozoa V

Medusozoa V

Medusozoa V

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