Archive for the 'kids' art' Category

Brain Dump

In the last few days, I’ve come across an abundance of amazing events, letters and websites. Since my work at the moment is in a pure production phase, I’m going to share other people’s cool stuff instead.


Wet spring weather brings out the godzilla slugs in our garden. Before I go to bed, I walk out in the rain to peel them off my tender new lettuce. Despite my dislike of the creatures, I couldn’t resist this felt snail.

I can’t recall what chain led me here, but Gartenfilz von Frauke is only one of many fantastic pieces in the Filz Galerie, a German gallery of felt pieces created by participants in Feltalong. I really, really wish I read German because I want to know more about the other pieces in the blog.

If you want to participate in the Crafster Feltalong challenges, search for ‘feltalong‘ discussions on the Craftster felting discussion boards.

feltunitedGet on board for the International Day of Felt, October 3.  2009 is the International Year of Natural Fibers, as declared by the United Nations. Sign up, spread the word, plan, organize and participate. More details at FeltUnited.

Future Craft Collective is a very creative group of energetic folks working to make something beautiful in community. Two things melt my heart: seeing people make art together and watching a child bring an idea to life. Some lucky folks in Austin may get to work with them in person; I’ll have to settle for admiring from a distance and then continuing to build art in my community.


The yummy felt bead necklaces made by  Kleas and company for Mother’s Day gifts look good enough to eat. These remind me of the world’s best salt water taffy, but made of wool. What more could a mother want?

Not sure how to describe the next bit, except to say watching this video and getting into the mind of this woman led me to dimensions I had never imagined. See and watch crochet coral as examples of hyperbolic geometry.

paper_boatTime for a slight fiber detour to the world of paper craft. Make some crazy collage, paint some paper, sew some paper together, fold a boat and then mail it to Joanne Kaar. Each piece will  be auctioned in support of Mary-Ann’s Cottage, a living history museum in Scotland. Submission deadline is August 10, 2009.

Stating my intention here,  in the hopes that will make it happen (thank you Future Craft Collective), I plan to embellish paper with the parents and children of Seattle API at the next monthly gathering of the Handcraft Group. Look on theirblog for photos of the oustanding pieces they have received so far.


Collaboration and Recycling

I came across two neat tidbits today from the fiber world to share.

First, my talented friend Shirley sent a link to the wearable art show in Juneau, Altered States. Many of the pieces in the show used reclaimed materials prominently in the garment. The gallery of photographer Seanna O’Sullivan showcases the event on the runway and backstage as the models are prepped for their appearance.

The International Fiber Collaborative is working on building a tree as a way to illustrate the idea of interdependence. “Much like a live tree is interdependent on its leaves and roots for survival, societies are interdependent on the greater whole, family units, communities, and countries. Participants from around the world are invited to create leaves to contribute to the creation of the tree. ”  The submission deadline to have your leaves added to the tree is March 15th. Leaves must be created using fiber, but beyond that, use your imagination. Make sure to look through the gallery to see the submissions they have received so far.


For several years, I’ve wanted to try making silk paper in an effort to reproduce the embossed leaves from this piece by Emily Archer of Milkweed Arts. I found some instructions on Pat Sparks’ website, but I’d love to hear whether anyone has worked through this process. My son wants me to coordinate a project for his K-1 art class, and I’d love to dovetail the two projects. Am I biting off more than I can chew and swallow?


If I can’t carve the time out in the next two weeks, I have a box full of these felt leaves to send.

Hot Rocks

This summer we spent two weeks at my parents’ cabin on Keats Island, a rocky paradise in Howe Sound between Vancouver and Sechelt BC. We played with the children of old friends, made new friends when the old left, discovered hidden paths through the forest, hiked to beaches we’d never seen, jumped off the floating dock, swam off the rocky beaches, and played hours of games.


Many mornings we spent around the cabin reading, writing, and playing cards waiting for the tides to be just right for swimming. One morning when every game failed to entertain, we decided to try an activity I’d read on someone’s blog in the last year: coloring on smooth beach rocks.


Collecting the rocks was half the fun. We had to find just the right buckets, skip down to the beach and scour the entire expanse for rocks that were large enough and smooth enough to become a canvas.

At home we washed off the seaweed grit and marine residue. Next we spread them out on an aluminum tray and put them in the convection oven to heat for ten minutes. While they were warming, we gathered all the small bits of broken crayon we could find behind the futon, on the bookshelf, and under the table. When they were hot enough, we carefully extracted the tray and carried it outside to the patio where we could safely spread out the hot rocks without damaging any surfaces.

Before long, it became clear that there was a magic moment in the lifespan of a hot rock, when it was hot enough to melt the crayon, but not so hot that it turned into wax soup. Letting the rocks cool for a minute or two was key, but we were forced to make several trips back to the oven for reheating as our imaginations churned away.


It was a wonderfully idyllic time spent in a place that holds many fond memories. Thanks Mom and Dad for making it all possible.

Refashioning Corduroy

Sophie and I attended a fun event called Swap-o-Rama-Rama as part of GreenFest at the Washington Trade and Convention Center. Piles and piles of clothes were amassed for the sole purpose of refashioning discarded items into something new. A sewing machine dealer in Bellingham brought six machines, two sergers and an overlock, as well as a needlefelting machine.

The first day, I was signed up as a volunteer, but had so much fun, I brought the whole family back for more sewing. We created our own pile of clothes with appealing fabrics or design features. Before long, Sophie and I decided to tear apart an extra-large women’s corduroy jumper with large front pockets.

Sophie has played with my mother’s hand-me down Kenmore machine enough that she knew was able to work on her own piece independently while I alternated between helping my neighbors and experimenting with the serger. There were also two large embroidery machines hooked up to tablets. I encouraged Sophie to ask for a design early in the afternoon before the masses noticed the spiffy machines. She selected the font, color and flower embellishment on the back of her bag.

I decided to take advantage of the free screenprinting offered by Scott of Mothpress. He patiently explained the silkscreen process over and over to anyone who wandered by, and embellished items with several original designs.

There was so much going on that I was unable to finish more than my single bag, but I took away a nice stash of fabrics and a perfect project bag for my to-go knitting project ‘du jour’.

Felt Geode Pincushions

These pincushions were a suggestion from Diane at Venue in Ballard. She bought something similar at Bumbershoot several years ago, but doesn’t know who made them or where to get more. My apologies to that artist, whoever you are. Please identify yourself if you read this post.

I started the first pincushion with the red center at swimming lessons on Saturday; first I needlefelted a solid ball, and then needlefelted subsequent layers until I ran out of colors. This ball was fairly solid when I was done, which accounts for the smooth outlines of each color layer.

The second and third balls were made by rolling roving into rough a ball shape, needlefelting just a little to hold the roving in place and then adding additional layers. The navel orange was melon-sized by the time I stopped adding roving.

All three balls were wetfelted to varying degress. Some friends suggested I finish them in the washing machine, but that really didn’t squeeze them hard enough. So after going around with a load of towels, I wetfelted them by hand. The red pincushion needed very little work, and is still the most dense of the three pincushions. The green and orange pincushions required a lot of felting because they had to compress so much to create a solid felted core, which resulted in the swirls.

For the sake of scale, the smaller two pincushions measure 2″ in diameter, about the size of a clementine orange. The largest pincushion is about the size of a navel orange. This would be a great kid project, especially if you had a Clover needlefelting tool to keep inattentive fingers safe.

These are now available in my etsy shop.

Little Crafter Curriculum

A friend asked me if I would put together a series of classes for some parents and children under four years. The Crafty Crow has been a terrific source of tried and true projects for families, as has Carrie at CarrieLogic, my unofficial craft aggregator (she who reads lots and piles up ideas).

  • Mom in Madison made nature notebooks with her boys.
  • PinkChalkStudios is covering light switchplates with fabric and mod-podge; taking this down a notch paper collages would make it easier for little fingers
  • Molly Chicken makes papier mache bowls with tissue paper
  • WriteMamaWrite collects natural materials to make textured impressions in sculpey
  • BloesemKids gives new life to fabric scraps with a landscape fabric collage
  • paint recycled t-shirts and fabric, then sew library bags, grocery bags, or child-sized treasure bags (to carry all the treasures children find when they are out)
  • whip-stitch small lavender sachets and pillows
  • make knotted dolls with recycled/painted fabric
  • nature prints on fabric/paper
  • whip-stitch piles of bean bags
  • baked buttons and beads with fimo or sculpey
  • stained-glass crayons

Reaching back into my own archives, I loved making collage boxes with stamps and mod-podge. How can you resist pretty colors stacked up and a shiny finish?

Gnomes and Sheep

Next Tuesday, April 8th, I’ll be hosting the monthly Seattle API craft group at my house. Since we have a mixture of small and large hands, I’m going to prepare the materials for pipe cleaner sheep from Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke. This simple project involves wrapping roving around pipe cleaners bent into rough animal shapes.


As time allows, we’ll also make some gnomes and fairies, with flower petal skirts and elven hats sewn from flat felt.


This event is open to parents and children of all ages. There is no fee as my craft stash should have plenty of materials. If you would like to contribute to the endeavor, we will use pipe cleaners, roving, wooden beads and large-petal artificial flowers.

I hope to see you next week!

Flickr Photos