Archive for October, 2009

Whidbey Island Felting Retreat

Months have passed since I stepped out with a group of intrepid felters for a weekend retreat on Whidbey Island, two hours from Seattle. We rented a large classroom space at an art school and three bedroom vacation rental a short walk from the classroom. We piled roving, pool noodles, bubble wrap and a sense of adventure into our cars for a weekend of experimenting and hard work.

jean2

This was such an amazing weekend of fun, it is hard to put it into words. Besides the bags and bags of food, snacks and beverages; everyone brought their favorite felting books and bits of eye candy. We shared our personal stories, our dreams and our ideas late into the night, while working very hard during the day.

jeanette

The muse and inspiration for the weekend was Chris White’s book Uniquely Felt. We pored over the projects, dissecting the aesthetics and merits of each, imagining departures from the originals. I’m not sure which was more fertile ground: the evening discussions or the daytime experiments.

We collaborated, critiqued and assisted each other with the projects without getting in the way or interfering. I really can’t imagine how it we managed to assemble such a harmonious group of symbiotic personalities.

paula

Our classroom had lots of space and enough tables that we could each pull two six-foot folding tables together for a larger work surface than any of us had previously used. The classroom had kitchen counters with simmering pots of water and two sinks on one wall, making hot water and rinsing stations easy to access.

linda

With no time constraints, we pulled out all the stops trying ideas that were percolating in the recesses of our imaginations, just waiting for the opportunity to be made into felt.

leah2

Some projects were a raving success, while others were a learning experience. I spent most of a day working on a wrap-around skirt idea that just didn’t work. Now I have a whole lot of felt yardage to show for it, and that idea has been put to bed. Should I ever want to try a felt skirt, I’ll know where to start and what not to do.

uniquefelters

The Unique Felters from left to right: Leah, Jean, Linda, Paula and Jeanette.

Stepping Out

My camera and tripod went on field trip last week to photograph the work of Roberta Torgerson, artist and Italian teacher. Her modern home was the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot.

ginger

While the goal was to capture her mohair scarves for a new blog, I couldn’t resist letting my lens wander around the house.

grey_sparkle

Paintings, pillows, teardrop vases were irrestible props.

moss

Roberta seemed surprised when I entered with my tripod, though I can’t imagine going anywhere without it since the best photos seem to come with the least light.

teal

Her scarves were as light as a feather and as soft as the down on a newborn baby. Knitting with mohair leaves me crying for mercy, but I’m glad someone else enjoys it because these pieces are gorgeous.

Setting My House In Order

fall09_schedule_smThings that are hard for me:

making plans
changing plans once they are made
being late
giving up control
compromise
making mistakes

There. I’ve said it. In black and white. I sound like a real peach don’t I? Wouldn’t want to work for me, would you, or live with me when the stress starts to mount. Me neither.

In order to mitigate the eventual breakdown that occurs in mid-November as I start to realize just how little time is left before my first show, I grabbed the bull by the horns: I made a schedule. It seems like a simple thing, I know. But for me it was a major breakthrough. It meant I was making a commitment, even if it was only to myself. Let’s see how we can get from point A to point B with a minimum of casualties and debris left by the side of the road.

In theory, there are six working hours in my day, once the kids are off to school, a modicum of clean-up is done in the kitchen and I’m dressed. Not typically a morning person, my days need to start slowly, so the hours before lunch are devoted to photography, updating my etsy shop and business. In order to stay current in the Etsy listings, I have begun adding new items to my shop every day, with a few hiccups here and there. So far, so good. The sales have begun to pick up a smidge and new items are appearing in the treasuries.

The afternoons are for production. Monday: felt pebbles, Tuesday: felt soaps, Wednesday: felt scarves, Thursday: felt balls/ornaments/geodes, Friday: felt flowers.

While I would really love to make scarves all day every day, the reality is that I don’t have the energy to keep up that amount of intense felting and I sell far more soaps and pebbles than scarves. So, that means putting my energy where the sales are.

I have two new consignments in the works (a shoe store in our neighborhood and a gallery in Lake Forest Park), a potential spot in an Australian magazine holiday guide, and three holiday shows. If I pace myself, and resist the impulse to race off in too many new directions, I may make it through the holiday rush with my sanity and my family’s affections intact.


Flickr Photos

Garage sale armchair upholstered with #felt #sheepskins for a client. Teeswater fleece from Wild Rose Farm on Whidbey Island.

charcoal

suede

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