The New Year begins on 01/01, it is the milestone most of us use to chronicle our lives. This January I found myself still finishing up the last orders of 2018. I spent the first week of the new year shipping orders and finally delivering the large artwork shown above to a client in NJ. Another milestone people use to mark the passage of time is their birthday. For me that date also falls in January, on 01/11. It marked the date I could concentrate on making exciting new work for the upcoming season.
Artists on the show circuit have yet another way of looking at time. The artist’s show season dictates the way we talk about and plan our lives. This year my season kicks off in February with my first appearance at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore, MD. I’ll be exhibiting there from Feb. 21st through the 25th. The first two days are wholesale and then three retail days. Coincidentally, my booth number is 1101.
Goldfinches have been constant guests at my bird feeders this winter and showed up in record numbers during the recent snow. Their less colourful off season plumage is starting to change back to the bright yellows and black we most often associate with this cute little bird. They are quite entertaining to watch and seem to not mind my presence if I remain still.
I recently completed a new felted tile featuring a goldfinch on one of my giant sunflower seed heads. It was one in a series of sunflower tiles that I just finished and posted on my website a few days ago. I’ve done several bird tiles but this was my first goldfinch. Based on the immediate success of this first finch tile, I will be making more. Within hours of posting it on my website it was sold to one of my collectors! She is enjoying this little ray of sunshine now.
The new color palette of this felted Garden Impression wall panel was requested by the customer. The pinks and lilacs say springtime to me. The room it was designed for has deep yellow walls so the brighter yellows in the art really stand out. I was fortunate to be able to deliver the commission instead of ship, so she showed me where it will be hanging. I am so happy that she was pleased with the results. This is the first large piece (the felt is 16″x40″) that I’ve framed in white. The framing was a challenge because of the size, but it all worked out!
Here are some of the finished items I made from the new large floral patterned felt. In addition to these 18″ pillows I made a smaller pillow and a couple of tea cozies. Most of the pillows are backed in green felt that coordinates with the grass and stems. One all blue flower pillow is backed in blue and a yellow/orange flower combination is backed in a soft gold. These will all be offered for sale this coming Saturday March 12th at the North Penn Select craft show in Lansdale PA.
Twelve hours in the basement yesterday yielded a large felt “blanket” that is drying in the dining room. This is a very labor intensive pattern that I call Milles-fleurs. It is different every time I make it because I combine the fiber colours and lay out the design without following any pattern. They all end up with a happy bright garden feeling. This piece will get cut into pillows, coasters and trivets.
The inspiration for this design came from a trip a couple of years ago, with some friends to MOMA in NYC. I walked into a room and encountered one of Monet’s gigantic water lily paintings. It took my breath away and literally moved me to tears. I could feel an aura in the room. When I returned home I knew my next felt would be inspired by Monet’s gardens. This design is the result.
This part of the felting process is the most mysterious. I’ve laid out my design and backing using wisps of loose wool fibers. I use old synthetic curtain panels to carefully cover the pile of wool. Then with a large sponge I press lukewarm soapy water into the entire piece. It is a thick pile of wool so thoroughly wetting it all the way through is important. The soap helps the fibers slip into each other when I start rubbing. Wool fibers are covered with tiny scales , like a mini snake skin, that lock into each other. The friction of rubbing interlocks the fibers and eliminates the air between fibers. After continuously rubbing the entire 4’x 7′ surface for about an hour, the loose wool holds together in one large sheet. There is still more work to be done such as rolling and then rinsing before it is complete.
A customer who purchased one of my hand felted cat sculptures sent me this amazing thank you card. The card has a color pencil drawing of the cat she acquired; it is so well done and a wonderful complement. I have very talented customers.
Thank you card received from a brilliant customer