A few months ago, I started a Meet Up group called "Collage and Mixed Media Artists of Sno-Co" ("Sno-Co" being short for Snohomish County, where we live!). I did this to be able to meet & mingle with other local artists during a dedicated creative time together; sharing ideas, inspirations and like-minded friendships. As a work-from-home artist, I know that the time working alone, day in and day out, in your studio can often feel a bit isolating, and desired another way (other than the internet) to connect with artists. Within a few weeks time, I was pleased that 25 local artists had joined the group! We meet once a month for 2 and a half hours on a weeknight, in a large meeting room/art gallery at our local library. There are usually between 5-10 of us gathering to work on whatever artsy goodness we feel called to bring along, ranging from ATC's, collage and beading to browsing magazines for eye catching images and words, watercolor and wool felting...which is what I am sharing for this weeks I Made This! sharing at Jamie Ridler Studios.
I have long been fascinated with the fiber arts but equate them with sewing skills, of which I possess nada...sewing on a button is a major undertaking for me! Duct tape, a stapler and a glue gun are my buddies when it comes to tasks requiring anything remotely associated with sewing! (just ask my kids who endured years of homemade Halloween costumes held together in some very, uh..."interesting" ways other than needle & thread!). I met a new artist friend last fall who has been creating amazing fiber art for over 30 years, and after wistfully remarking to her that I had long wanted to learn some simple wool felting techniques, showed up at one of the MeetUp group gatherings...and proceeded to generously share a few hunks of newly shorn and hand dyed wool along with needles, a few other basic supplies, and, most importantly, her patient expertise...and off I went, into the world of wool felting! I started with a few multicolored strands of wool that evening, in hopes of simply getting a feel for what the technique entailed...and soon found the repetitive movements of the needle punch tool quite calming and meditative. After about 20 minutes or so, I happily discovered that I had created a small oval shaped disc of pleasing color pattern, which I immediately thought to make into a pendant, adorned with other beads and perhaps charms on a necklace for myself! I was so surprised at the relative ease and simplicity of this creation and knew I wanted to explore this artistic practice further with the hopes of creating more similar possible jewelry and adornment pieces. Upon returning home after that evenings meeting, I was excited to share my little felted piece with my husband and start perusing my jewelry supplies to make a lovely unique necklace to show off my first ever wool felting attempt/creation...but soon discovered that the little oval piece was nowhere to be found! Not in my purse, wallet, coat pocket, art supply bag, just NOwhere! After much mind wracking and lamenting my carelessness, I finally came to the conclusion that after completing the piece at the gathering in the library room, I had set it on the table where I was working, and at the end of the meeting, neglected to pick it up and it got folded in among the newspapers covering the tables for protection from possible creative messes (paint, water, etc.) and got thrown away as we cleaned up the room. My sweet husband called the library first thing the next morning, in the hopes that someone had found it on the floor or somewhere, ANYwhere...to no avail. I was so upset, disappointed in myself and genuinely sad that the beautiful evidence of my first attempt at an art technique that I was so certain was beyond my capabilities had gotten tossed like a piece of trash, and surprisingly, stopped short of asking him if he would help me dumpster dive out back of the library...! Fast forward a few months, to our most recent Meet Up group gathering two weeks ago, where I unpacked my very own wool, needle tool and mat, and proceeded to get back into the rhythmic pattern of wool felting, creating these three pieces shown in the photo below. I was verrrrry careful to place them into a zippered pocket of my purse when completed, and am pleased to report that they managed to make it home with me, safe and sound! I have plans to make these into pendants as well, and perhaps the finished creation will be shared in a future I Made This! post!
Thanks for reading, have a creative day!
Happy Me, Laurie.