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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.

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!

Two Plates

Currently, there are two projects pulling my attention in separate directions with equal force. In preparation for teaching a nunofelt workshop in my studio last week, I felted four nunofelt garments. Starting with a well fitting piece I own, I created a paper template, then sized it up based on the shrinkage rate of a sample swatch to create a large plastic template.

The result was this piece which fits me to a tee. I loved being able to make small adjustments to the fit, felting a little longer under the arms and across the back until it fit me perfectly.

Working with this template as a departure point, I made a rosewood version two sizes larger. Continuing to work with the same template, I felted a red and black vest, slit open in the front. The last piece was a black and plum asymetrical vest with a triangle front slit. There are dozens of variations floating around in my brain I can’t wait to try.

Incidentally, the mannequin is standing in front of a painting by Robin Siegl, one of the enthusiastic students in last week’s nunofelt workshop. If you are interested in taking a nunofelt workshop, the particulars are listed on the Classes page.

However, this weekend I brought a trunk full of wool back from the Lopez Lamb and Wool Festival. Since buying three fleeces from Island Fibers in February, I’ve been waiting anxiously to get my hands on some more raw wool. Three Romneys, and a Cotswold and four Rambouillet crosses later, my trunk was full on the ride home with fifty pounds of wool.

With so much to do and less than four weeks left in the school year, I’m offering a work/trade proposal to any willing hands available to work as my assistant for a day in my studio. Come felt with me and I will teach you the process and pay you in SpiderFelt credit to be used towards anything in my shop.

New Work, New Space

Three months after acquiring the key to my studio in the BallardWorks building, it still feels like a brand new space, just a little more organized. With shelves installed, art framed and hung, wool and supplies stashed in baskets this place really feels like it is mine. Just about every day, several of the studio artists gather lunch upstairs in the kitchen gallery. When I need a little distraction, Nate and Marko, my nearest neighbors down the hall, are usually happy to chat about their current projects.

While I continue to juggle wholesale orders for kits, felt soaps and pebbles, I have had some free time to try new projects like creating silk paper out of tussah and bombyx silk roving. I pledged my participation in this month’s artwalk, which forced me out of my comfort zone to complete two long-shelved pieces of felt art. While it took some time for me to find my muse, it was thrilling to suddenly find the inspiration I needed to complete these pieces.

Working within a theme, I’ve made many variations of a white ruffled nunofelt scarf, altering the length, the type of silk and the position of the silk within the scarf.

Please join me this Saturday, April 9th for the Ballard ArtWalk at 2856 NW Market St on the second floor of the BallardWorks building. I am thrilled to announce the participation of my guests, Marcie Swift and Tricia Stackle, who have several pieces hung in the gallery. Marcie is a mixed-media artist whose graphic works are bold and whimsical; one of her pieces,  a Christmas present to myself, is framed above my workbench. Tricia is a talented fiber artist, furniture designer, painter and recent graduate from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. My studio will be open for visitors, as will many other studios in the building.

Fiber For Sale

Attention all NW fiber fanatics: there is gorgeous fiber to be had this weekend at the annual Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat, held at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma.

For the last few years, I’ve loaded up at the marketplace, carrying off more bags than two arms can hold. Among the treasures I’ve bought are hanks of handpainted merino roving, naturally dyed blue-faced leicester, and a very springy targhee roving. There are luxurious blended rovings made with combinations of  merino and bamboo, merino and silk or tencel. Don’t forget silk roving, silk hankies and silk caps, ingeo (corn fiber), casein (milk) fiber and soy silk. Regardless of whether the vendors have an online store, this is a rare opportunity to see and touch fibers in shades more subtle or more vibrant than your computer screen can convey.

In addition to handpainted roving, there are booths full of yarn both independently and commercially produced. There is always a large cohort of spinners relaxing in the rotunda and numerous vendors willing to demonstrate how to perfect your spin on a drop spindle. If you would rather just sit and knit, there is always room for that too. I hope to see you there!


Winter Arts and Crafts

Phew! What a busy week! I’ve been working furiously in my studio and at home to make more birdhouses, kits and scarves for this weekend’s Winter Arts and Crafts show.

Tomorrow should be a day to pull everything together: take stock of my inventory, create pricetags, retrieve the display components from the garage rafters. Yet the urge to keep making is so very strong, it is hard to stay focused. I have so much beautiful roving. Can’t I make just one more piece? Two more? In my mind’s eye, I see it all laid out as scarves and birdhouses, if only I could grow many more arms and charm more hours out of the night. I felted one more scarf this afternoon while assembling geode kits because I just couldn’t resist. Hopefully my mind’s eye will rest so my body can refresh tonight.

Should you want to come stock up on SpiderFelt gifts this weekend, I will be at the home of Marcie Swift, 148 N 74th St (first house directly behind 74th St Alehouse) on Saturday from 11am-4pm. As soon as the show is over, I’ll pack everything up and scoot over to my studio for the Ballard Art Walk. SevShoon and BallardWorks at 2856 NW Market St will be open from 6-9pm. Come say hello in my new space, Studio 2B; the entrance is on 30th Ave NW, around the corner and uphill from the NW Market St entrance to SevShoon.

Flickr Photos