Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Olde Rowan Fiber Guild Program

I had the privilege of presenting a program for the Olde Rowan Fiber Guild this week about felting, in particular wet-felting wool beads to make earrings, key chains, and other items. We had such a good time, what a fun, lively group! They did a fantastic job of wet-felting their wool beads, some of them had not tried their hand at this technique before and did such a great job. A large group, I didn't have time to take many pictures as I cruised the room helping folks during our time together. But we did manage a "selfie" towards the end (notice Pamela in front modeling her beautiful earrings she made!), and I grabbed a couple of shots of  wool beads and finished earrings here and there. All in all, I think everyone enjoyed it, and will have some special new accessories to wear for the holidays.
 Love the rich blue hues of these beads!
 What a fun group, we all had a great time felting! Pamela modeling her gorgeous earrings.
Felted wool beads in various sizes.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Healing in Art

What a crazy ride this week: between the unexpected results of the election and the resulting marches and riots on the street, folks unfriending each other on Facebook because of who they voted for, and all the surrounding drama, I am ready to take a sabbatical from the world and just crawl back into my little space and stitch! Today's sunrise celebrates a crisp, clean autumn morning, and I am thankful for the peace and serenity I feel today; not every day is like that for me.

  But I did take time this week to stitch. I believe there is healing in art, and therapy in using one's hands to create. Whether you are a quilter repetitively passing a needle up and down through warm  layers of fabric, a knitter/crocheter using needles to repetitively stitch your creation from yarn, a painter/artist utilizing brushes and other media to express your inner thoughts and feelings, or a beader, passing your needle through lustrous folds of silk and sparkling beads, this process has been scientifically proven to be healthy and good for you. If you can get together with friends or take a class and peacefully chat and share creative thoughts and energies, even better! Today I plan on taking the time to create with my hands, even for just a few moments, and thank God for the friends I have, the talent He has gifted me with, and the multitude of blessings He has showered on me. I hope you, too, are willing and able to find comfort and thankfulness in this tumultuous time.
Silk shibori beaded brooch I finished this week.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nuno Scarf Class

We had such a great time Saturday in our nuno-felting class! There were 4 very artistic gals who attended and made absolutely glorious scarves, each one unique and different. They started out with a silk chiffon scarf base, either black or hand-dyed in a medley of harmonizing hues. Then they added hand-dyed and solid merino wool fibers in their chosen design: twirling vines, leaves, big robust flowers, swirly circles. Lastly they added the "icing": bamboo, silk fibers, Angelina, wool nepps, all sorts of goodies. Then came the soap, water and agitation, and finally, the shrinking and felting. What beautiful works of art each of them created! And every one so different as they chose their own personal color palette. We really need to get back together and wear our scarves when they're completed and dry, so gorgeous!

Sawtooth Scarf Dyeing

We had a "Taste of Art" silk scarf-dyeing class at Sawtooth a couple of weeks ago, and what a fun and adventurous group of gals we had! These girls were not afraid to try new things and "think outside the box", and you know me, I'm always the first to encourage someone to just try it, why not? Some of them experimented with some different resist techniques using bamboo sticks and string, others really went wild with their colors. It's always a wild ride to see the end results when using vegetable dyes, as some of the more unstable colors (like black) will separate into 2 or more other colors, like indigo blue and green (go figure!) I guess it's the combination of 2 or more colors that make up some of the more complex colors of dyes, and when exposed to the heat, they separate. At any rate, their scarves turned out gorgeous! I know they'll enjoy wearing them to all their autumn festivities.

Friday, September 2, 2016

SECU House Wool Beads

We had such a good time felting wool beads at SECU house last week! I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about the class this time; normally I look forward to teaching there and sharing my skills with patients and their family and friends. It's really nice to be able to do something I enjoy and help others forget their problems for just a little while, it helps me forget mine too! But this was the first time I had been there since my dad passed away from cancer on August 12, and that was still fresh on my mind. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to minister to other people who were going through the same thing I watched take away my dad.

But all went well, once we got started, I was able to put my life on the back burner for a little while, and everyone made beautiful wool beads! We also had a male grad student who made a wool bead representing "earth", and he was going to turn his into an ornament, while the ladies made necklaces with theirs. All in all, everyone had a good time felting and visiting. It's always a blessing for me to get to help others, and I hope it is for them.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Presentation at Pineapple Fabrics!

I'm so excited and honored to be presenting my lecture on "How to use Pineapple Packs to expand your Creativity" at Pineapple Fabrics August 26 & 27 at 10 am. This will be a free event (although you might want to touch base with them if you know you are coming, web-site and will have the added bonus of being held during their awesome end of summer fabric sale! If you've never been to one of their sales, you are in for quite a treat. Pineapple carries a wonderful variety of new fabrics from contemporary to traditional, and during their sale they mark their fabrics down to unbelievable prices! Not only will you find beautiful batiks, modern prints and traditional small prints, they also carry solid cotton fabrics in every color of the rainbow as well as extra-wide quilt backing too. Truly there is something for everyone in their selections, and then there are the beautiful Pineapple Packs they put together, they are like little works of art.

What, you might say, is a Pineapple Pack? Well this company has done half the work for you with these little gems. Pineapple Packs are a set of pre-cut fabrics that are beautifully coordinated to make up your projects perfectly. They come in several different types of cuts such as 2-1/2" jelly-roll strips, 5" charms, 10" squares, bonus (oversized) fat quarters and more. Not only that, there are lots of complimentary project sheets you can choose from to make up your Pineapple Pack! With the cutting and coordinating done for you, your project will be a breeze to stitch up. And there are so many designs to choose from: pet projects, tote bags, and sewing accessories among others. Each Pineapple Pack has a name depending on which cuts are included, and the corresponding project sheets have the same name to make it easy for you. And I cannot tell you how nice these folks are, they go out of their way for outstanding customer service - often a dying art these days (but not here!)

I am thrilled to be presenting a new design and several variations of it which will be free during my lecture! I'll be sharing lots of tips and ideas on taking this style and doing more to really stretch your creativity. I hope you'll join me at Pineapple Fabrics in Archdale, NC on these dates for inspiration and a great time!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My birthday!

I got to do something fun with my son and friend on my birthday weekend - go see the new Ghostbusters movie! I have been a huge Melissa McCarthy fan for years, I love her gutsy strength and how she stands up unapologetically for herself and the average woman. But her role in this movie was almost tame compared to Kate McKinnon, what a hoot she was! And I really loved her hairstyle, avant-garde and powerful. I tried tweaking mine a bit last night as I was getting ready to visit my family, OK it's a bit more challenging to duplicate Kate's do when you have kinky curly hair, but here is my version along with my sis. Next time I'll try some stronger stiffy hair gel!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wooly Flowers

This is the perfect time of year to celebrate the beauty of flowers in all their glory! We have so many varieties blooming to draw inspiration from, I love to take pictures and save them for color and shape ideas, or just pick some fresh flowers to add a touch of joy to my table. So many of my designs are drawn from nature, after all, you can't improve on God's work. Here are a few wooly flower creations to get your creative juices going.
 One of my student's flowers from my "Double-layer Flower" class, just gorgeous.
 Wet-felted flowers from my video, so many color choices and fun to make!
My "Wooly Flower Basket" class, these aren't felted but are made of Woolfelt enhanced with Rit dye. I do have a pattern available for this last one which includes patterns and directions for making all the flowers and leaves shown as well as the actual basket itself, great for holding dried flowers, scarves, jewelry, napkins and silverware, incoming mail, etc.

The wet-felted flowers above are based on my video about How to Wet-felt Fanciful Flowers, you can watch a little preview and order it at the bottom of my Home Page of my web-site. Have fun creating!

Monday, July 18, 2016

My newspaper article!

I was so honored yesterday to be a featured artist on the cover of the Arts section of the Winston-Salem Journal! You can read the article here:

Quite an honor coming from the city boasting the first arts council in the entire country and also home of the acclaimed NC School of the Arts. This was such a blessing to be recognized in this way, and a bit of a surprise, it all happened so fast! I was thrilled to see that my mom got some well-deserved recognition here too, she has always been such a help to me and everyone around her, and she is also my biggest fan. Could not have done this without the help of my kids too, they are techy geniuses and manage my web-site and Youtube video as well as being my "constructive critics". I wouldn't be here without my support team! 

Some of you have been asking about my felting, and I thought I would post some close-ups of the green nuno-felted hand-dyed silk scarf shown in the ensemble in the newspaper picture. With the purple one in front you miss the rich details of the green scarf, so here are a few pictures of the felting I did on the ends. I used white merino wool fibers to felt the basic flowers accented with silk, bamboo and sparkly Angelina fibers, and I also felted a smidge of metallic mesh in the center of the full flower. I used hand-dyed variegated green wool fibers in a combination of merino and bamboo for the vines and leaves. The scarf is a hand-dyed silk chiffon generously cut for wearing as a shawl if desired.

Happy felting, hope this was an inspiration for your own creative projects!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Silk scarf Dyeing Class

Recently at Sawtooth we had a special day of "Taste of Art" classes for a travel group making a stop in Winston-Salem. Taste of Art is a fun way to dabble your feet in a particular art technique and come away with a unique, finished project.

I really enjoy doing the silk scarf-dyeing, my students come up with some incredible color combinations and patterns! And there is something about classes at Sawtooth that is so inspirational, you can almost feel the creative energy in the room as students are releasing their artistic vibe and spirit, it is so rewarding and fun just to be there. Here are a few samples of the silk scarves from this group, everyone got to dye 2 scarves and they were just exquisite! I look forward to teaching this TOA again on August 19.

Wet-felted Wooly Flower Class

We had a great time felting these flowers at our Wooly Flower Class at Sawtooth! A couple of the students were repeat students that I always enjoy seeing and visiting with, and they are quickly growing in their felting skills along with being sweet gals too.

We also had a group come up from out of town for a special Mother's Day celebration, and they had never felted! And we had a lady who drove all the way from Virginia to take this class, she was kind of a newbie too, and really did an incredible job. All the flowers turned out just gorgeous!! One of the gals went home and felted about a million flowers the following week, I think she really enjoyed it. (She must be as obsessed as I am!) Here are a few pictures of my students with their beautiful work.

SECU House

I had the privilege of visiting the SECU house a few times in the last couple of months to visit with the friends and families and patients who are undergoing treatment at our local hospital, and what a blessing it was for me. I took my wool fibers in all sorts of colors along with sparkly Angelina fibers to get our bling on and harmonizing ribbon and glass beads, and we had a good ol' time felting wool beads and making jewelry. We had our "felting parties" in the dining area where there were tables to sit and felt and chat, and there were also snacks available. Each table also had a pretty centerpiece with a hand-written sign of encouraging words, it was such a healing and inspirational atmosphere. On the other side of the room, an organization would bring their sweet dogs and sit with folks and visit with their pets. I really meeting the people and teaching them to felt, each person left with a beautiful hand-created wool bead necklace they could wear back to their room or home. I hope I was able to bring a bit of joy into their lives, and they could forget their troubles for a little while.

Spring shows

I didn't sign up for many shows this spring, as I moved to Forsyth County, my hometown, and what a whirlwind it's been! I did go up to Hampton, VA for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, and was thrilled to win a Judge's Choice ribbon for my "City Lights" ensemble. The focus of course is the scarf, I used the "cracked mud" technique of nuno-felting using a silk chiffon base for the scarf, and wool, silk and Angelina fibers for the colorful accents. I employed a geometric pattern to harmonize with the dress fabric, which reminded me of a night-time cityscape, thus the name. (I'm also a big Charlie Chaplin fan!) Here's a pic of me with my award-winning ensemble, tired but happy.
Another show I participated in but did not travel to was the yearly Spring Quilt Market. Each year Spring Market is held in a different city, alternating from east to west coast and also central America. This year it was in May in Salt Lake City, and I heard it was a wonderful show! I've traveled through Utah and seen a little of the city, it is just beautiful there.

So although I was unable to go, I did send some of my work to be on display. One of the vendors who displayed my work was National Nonwovens, the Woolfelt company I buy my Woolfelt from and also some of my fibers. They are always coming up with beautiful new colors of product, making my job as a designer so much more fun! Here is some of my work on display in their booth at market.
 My "Partridge on a Pear Pincushion" model on top of National Nonwovens new Woolfelt colors at Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah!
 My Gingerbread Placemats & Mug-rugs greeting customers by the fibers in the National Nonwovens booth at Market, Paul setting up the booth.
Lots of Woolfelt projects in my new Crafty Critters book to display at Market!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Felted Flower Class

I'm looking forward to teaching this fun Wet-felted Flower Class at Sawtooth School of Visual Art April 9 from 10-1! This is a great class for beginners as well as the more experienced felter with lots of great techniques included in the class: how to make pre-felt, how to add dimension to your flat felt, how to make wool beads (that can be used to make earrings, bracelets and other jewelry), and how to make curly tendrils. We'll have kits in all yummy colors...what a great gift for Mother's Day (and yes you can treat yourself!)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What is Love Drawing

As we approach Valentine's Day this year, I find myself thinking beyond the chocolate and shiny red hearts that are shoved in my face every time I set foot in a store. Instead I'm pondering the question, what is love, really? Is it buying the biggest box of assorted chocolates you can find, or a dozen perfect red roses? Is it baking your loved ones their favorite batch of homemade cookies? How about giving your favorite aunt a surprise call from across the miles? Or calling your mom just to say, I love you.

The bible tells us, love is patient, love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4) It also reminds us of some things that love is not: love is not easily angered, or thinking of evil (1 Corinthians 13:5) There are so many things we can add to this list: love is caring, supportive, faithful, and so on.

What does love mean to you? Leave a comment below, and you will be entered in a drawing for a free pattern of your choice one week from today, at the end of Saturday, Feb. 20 2016. Please limit your comments to 5 words or less of what love means to you (or does not mean, such as revengeful, lying, etc.) And have a loving, wonderful Valentine's Day!

Sawtooth Scarf Class

What a great nuno-felting class we had at Sawtooth last Saturday! Such a fun group of gals, and small but cozy. We were able to arrange our tables in a circle so the girls could play off each other's creative energy, it was wonderful. We had a nice mix of students from those who had never felted before to those who had taken several classes, and they all made the most gorgeous scarves! Here are a few photos of the finished scarves, most of them were still wet here but absolutely stunning.
 Suzanne's striking scarf was rich in color and contemporary in feel, beautiful and unique!
 Judy's painterly scarf was reminiscent of Monet and absolutely gorgeous!
 Becky's stunning creation was wonderfully textured, a true wearable work of art!
 Leslie's happy scarf was filled with sunshiny colors and summery flower shapes, love it!
 Judy modeling her finished beautiful scarf, hard to believe this was her first felting project!
Suzanne brought her first nuno-felted scarf to show the class, isn't it gorgeous! I love her trademark contemporary clean look. Everyone did a fantastic job, a pure joy to teach.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wooly Flower Basket Class

This week I placed my order of hand-dyed Valdani threads for my Wooly Flower Basket Class I'll be teaching at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival Feb. 27. I love how their variegated pearl cotton adds just the right vintage touch to my woolfelt basket of hand-dyed flowers! The colors of their thread enhance the dyed flowers and leaves perfectly, and they have so many beautiful hues to choose from. My students are going to love learning these fun hand stitchery techniques using their thread.
 I ordered several colorways of the pearl cotton so my students can have choices, lavenders, vintage rose, orchid, teal. I can't wait to see the spin my students put on this project! I'll be teaching how to make the hand-dyed flowers from heathery shades of Woolfelt and also how to make the sweet little Woolfelt basket. We'll also learn some fun decorative stitchery embellishments. The basket is perfect for holding fresh or silk flowers, folded napkins, scarves, Easter eggs, all sorts of things! I'm so looking forward to teaching this fun class this year.