Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How I love my Newsday!

So tomorrow I am in Newsday again! Yippeee!!!

They are publishing their Handmade Shopping Guide, and I get a picture and a blurb.

The link to the web version is above....psssst I'm #5.


Guess I am going to need to make more flowers this weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Winter White Majesty Necklace

This is the Winter Majesty Necklace. It is a blend of cream and white merino and corriedale rovings that were wet felted and then sculpted. It is embellished with freshwater pearls and some very tiny sweet pearly seed beads. I simply adore the sculptural nature of this piece, and think that it is one of the most visually interesting and inspired things I have made in some time.

I can imagine the White Witch of you-know-where wearing this to a garden party before she drinks some sweet pale wine. It would look amazing with a simply cut evening dress....or a black V-neck T-shirt. It would be divine for a winter wedding! It weighs hardly a thing for being so substantial.

The process of building it was really organic, in that I started with the curly-cues and then went out from there, adding elements and sculpting parts as the necklace called for them. The part that is slightly redolent of a marriage between an open egg and a bird's nest dusted with spun sugar was actually felted around a small stone from my garden, which I then freed from it's woolly captivity. The tiny felt and pearl "cameo" on the opposite side is the doorway through which the stone made it's exit.

I'm almost too much in love with it to let it go....almost, but not quite. It could be yours...just go to Etsy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blue felt necklace

I just completed this blue felt necklace...somewhere between making the mushroom galette and the vegetable broth. I had to to take a break from the cooking and so THIS was my thanksgiving. It is made from a rope of wool felt which was layered in different colors before felting. After I wet felted it and it was dry, I soaked it in a liquid acrylic polymer so that it could be cut and it would keep it's sharp edges. I cut it and strung it today. The necklace is just shy of 15 inches long, so it lays ever so elegantly against the collar bone. The beads are glass and the clasp is silverplated and magnetic (so it goes on SOOOOOO easily). I love it, because it gives a great pop of color around the face and is a real statement peice. It is for sale on Etsy as we speak.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wet Felting Flower Seminar with Carol Cypher

So, I said that it would be coming and here it is. The complete rundown on the Carol Huber Cypher workshop that I went to last weekend. If you can imagine that lovely wooley smell that is slightly redolent of wet dog, then you can feel like you were actually there.

We arrived and were greeted with a long table covered in luscious wool. It was full of little bags filled with roving in stunning color combinations. We each chose our seats and our bags, fully geared up for a full day of felting and fulling. ( Could I use the word "full" there a few more times?)

Then it was time to design our flowers for our lariats. Mine started out looking like the love child of Cousin It and Man Ray. They were puffy and lovely and tempting to pet, but always remember and never forget: Don't pet the felt!

The water came out and it was time to start felting....and rubbing and felting and rubbing some more...with intermittent peeks to check on the progress of the flowers.

Next we moved on to the fulling and shaping of the flowers. Folks went wild here, some ended up with multi-petaled rose/violet hybrids that exist no where but in the imagination. My flower called out to be a trumpet shape, like the Angel Trumpet Flower, so I did my best to give it what it wanted.

Next we made our lariats. This involved essentially laying wisps of roving down over a long length of roving, building up thicknesses where we wanted to cut leaves later, and adding in colors for interest. We then felted these as a rope, and tried not to entangle each other's fibers at the same time.

Below is some great video of Carol explaining how to cut the rope part of the lariat to sculpt it!

Then it was time to bead and assemble. Carol was insanely generous in sharing her impressive bead stash with us. I was immediately drawn to some lavender fringe beads that seemed to be just the thing for my lariat. I didn't want to overdo the beadwork, but I still wanted it to have some pop. I also added a little pekoe stitch beading around the edge of one of the petals for some textural interest.

Here are some photos of the finished product. I really love how it turned out. The image on the left is before it was quite done (hence the hanging thread)...the one on the right is pretty much fully realized. One thing that I did that I love is that I split open the "bump" that I had sculpted into the "pod" end of the lariat and sewed in a lava bead. It looks like a primeval seed.

My husband says that they whole thing looks like it is about to assimilate me , like a Triffid. He couldn't be right....could he?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Parting with Art...

So I just sent off two of my little paintings and an acrylic felt flower to new homes today. I decided that the flower needed a special little send off, so I made this gift box for my customer to find it in.

Hopefully, it will be a bit of cheer in this week of dreary weather. (And a bit of an added surprise for her, unless she reads my blog of course!)

The paintings were a long awaited commission for a lovely customer who already owned one of my "Angry Flower" encaustic paintings. These two will turn her previously lonely singlet into a fulfilled trio.

It has been a while since I have done any encaustics and it felt good to get back in the studio and get some paint on my hands and wax on the palette.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Carol Huber Cypher: Felting Recharge!

So I got to go to two felting workshops this weekend that were a total creative recharge for me! They were both held at Rumpelstiltskin Yarns, in Sayville NY, and they were taught by the felter and teacher extraordinaire, Carol Huber Cypher. She is truly amazing. She was so patient, kind, generous, and knowledgable. I could have done an entire year of workshops with her and still had more questions to ask...but that is just me. On Saturday we made felt beads all day. Now this is something that I know how to do, but WOW! Working with Carol I really got to go back to the basics and refine my technique. Being self taught, you don't often know when you are doing something wrong, or could be doing something better. This was a perfect time to learn!

We made some wet felted beads (the bi-cone, the burgundy and gold disk, the briolette, the coil, and the "mille fleur" cut) ...then in the afternoon we needle felted.

The green and white knobbly bead is needle felted and covered in silk tussah and is meant to emulate a baroque pearl. I also needle felted the grey white and green bead, the tubular white red and blue beaded bead, and the pair of lungs which will get mounted on a pin backing and worn to classes at school (always the bio-teacher doncha know!)
Next post I will show the Felted Flower Lariat that we made on Sunday...Delicious!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Requiem for a Black Squirrel

There is a small odd enclave of genetic mutant squirrels that live in my town. In fact, they have often taken refuge on my property. They are like normal squirrels in every way but for their color. They are a dusky, rich, sooty black. I love the black melanistic squirrels. I always imagine that they get picked on by their grey brethren, and perhaps they are less suited for survival, as their coloration makes them an easier target for local predators.

There was a particular dark and frisky little guy that had taken up residence in our neighbor's old maple tree, and sometimes sought refuge in one of our sheds (Shed # 3 of shanty town, for those of you in the know). I would watch him scamper up and down the trees and across the yard, gathering acorns and nuts and fruits from the local gardens. He was always easy to spot.

Today my husband was putting the hoses away for the season in the third shed. He pulled an old wooden wine box out from the shed that was full of leaves and paper. It was a squirrel nest. This intrepid rodent had constructed his nest from both leaves and vintage Rolling Stone magazines from the 60's and 70's, thus making himself the hippest bushy tail on the block. I took a stick and stirred up the nest a bit, to see if I could discern his preferences, John Lennon or ACDC, and to my horror, saw a puff of black fur. It was a tail...that was attached to a rather stiff and flat and definitively dark squirrel body.

My beloved melanin enriched nut-eater was no more....

So here is to you, my kindred genetic mutant, at least you died in a comfy nest of musical coolness, protected from the cold and wet, and long of tooth.

Here is to you.... I pour out some tea by the fig tree for my tiny melanistic homie.

(PS: I will admit that for a very brief moment after his discovery, as I stood there with the poking stick in my hand, I was trying to figure out if I could somehow work him into an assemblage, but then decided better of it...)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Etsy Blogger: Project Felt

I want you to check her out: . She felts, writes about felt, ecology, the need to reduce and recycle both in art and in life, and lists some pretty darn cool stuff on Etsy. I feel a kindred spirit coming on....I am totally adding her to my blog roll.