Monday, October 26, 2009

My train ride down to Kinokuniya Bookstore in Manhattan was a delight, as Fran and I traveled down together. We wrapped up the morning with a snack together and then I headed off to the bookstore to set up the trunk show and workshop. Fran headed uptown for another booksigning event. When she showed me the iTouch case she just felted, I had to shoot it to share with you. It is just as sparkly and warm as Fran is!
This is the trunk show display, stacks of books ready for inscribing and to the right, off camera is the workshop set up.
Omi Gray showed up wearing an amazing, seamlessly felted nuno jacket. Not only is the scrim fabric silk chiffon. The wool felted into it is a silk blend.
The workshop was an introduction to needle felting. Victoria made a pumpkin ornament for starters.
Hellura (left) and I met at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.
She makes handbags, mostly wool and often from recycled sweaters. When I shared with her the potential of needle felting as a means to embellish and decorate the surface, she was keenly interested. I cannot wait to see how this new technique informs her work. The young woman in the center is August. Though she joined us late, she was a quick study and created a small sculpture. Victoria (right) frequents Kinokuniya and joined me for the first event here in July. She is an avid crafter and student of Japanese.
November 15th, also a Sunday, I return for a 3 hour felted flower workshop/trunk show/book signing. Hope to see you then. It is the rare occasion to enjoy a workshop for the discounted $25, that includes materials. Expect to make a felted flower or bangle bracelet. Call for reservations 212-869-1700. WIsh they had a sexy website to link you to. Au contraire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This is Jilly Bead's Double ab Siam Pat Riesner heart. If you're on her Christmas list, guess what you're getting. She loved Pat's process for making this and intends to repeat it several times. Pat teaches this heart and a version that has the remembrance-ribbon symbol ( or whatever you would call it) woven into it in you color choice for ribbon. Click onto to site and buy one ready made!
Annette and her lovely daughter Naima came to the studio class this evening. Annette made this little pile of bezels after her last visit. She sells them as earrings. Her preference is for the clear ones rather than the mirrored ones with metallic coated undersides.
This necklace is one of Annette's original and one-of-a-kind pieces. It is bead crocheted and utterly fabulous. Notice the bracelets she is wearing. You can find her beaded jewelry at a most wonderful venue in Rhinebeck, NY on November 20, 21, and 22. It is a select assemblage of fine craftspersons at the Delameter House right there on Rte 9. To say the work is reasonably priced is an understatement. Represented last year, and I expect this year, are glass workers, beaders, jewelers, leather workers, fiber artists, paper makers, wood workers, ceramists...Gosh. I recall purchasing leather bound diaries, swirly striped tumblers and rocks glasses, a knitted hat that fits over my big dreaded head. Jane bought a metal and glass puzzle, one of Annettes beaded rings, and the same glassware...I want to say there were candles and ornaments and well, it had about everything you would want in a gift.
Same weekend is the Dutchess County Arts Council Craft Show. Selling her gossamer silk and wool scarves and beaded jewelry, Elizabeth Buchtman returns again this year. I sat on the jury last year for this show and I tell you, the other jurors gasped in amazement and delight when the slide of Elizabeth's saffron scarf came up. BTW, she and one of her saffron scarves is a chapter in HOW WE FELT. Last year several of us started in Poughkeepsie NY at the DCAC Show and headed north to Delameter House.
Just a couple more to share from last weekend's NY Sheep and Wool Festival. This is Kimberly D'Auria ( of D'auria Designs. She is a feltmaker from Wallkill NY. She is a regular exhibitor at S&W.
Barbel Eggers is peeking over the top of her triple-award winner skirt. She enters hand felted items into the competition every year and every year she wins many ribbons. This skirt won several all on its own.

The Rail Trail over the Hudson, a former railroad bridge, has exceeded all of the state park's expectations in popularity. It opened a couple weeks ago and has been teeming with people everyday, even in Sunday's wind and rain. We were there on a Tuesday! in the afternoon! and we wondered where all the people came from. We drove up and down the access road looking for parking nearer the entry. A car from Indiana pulled out and we pulled in. (We were there for a walk but, not a walk along the access road!) The foliage is magnificent, though one can imagine a fine walk here at any time. When the snow flies won't it be beautiful here? Wondering if there will be cross country skiing? Hmm. Lovely.
Midway out, looking south, the Mid-Hudson Bridge. The tracks below on the right are for freight and a couple trains passed while we were on the trail.
Not wishing to compromise people's privacy, I waited until there was a lull in the foot-traffic before taking this shot of the trail. It is wide cement separated with rubbery joins. There is a fence along the sides that provides a sense of sefety but doesn't occlude the view. There were entire familes, babies in strollers, a bazillion dog-walkers, college groups, seniors, wheelchairs and in-row skaters.
There was even a cowboy on his horse. When we inquired about that, the park patrol staff replied that since it is new, there are going to be those who will test the limitations. There is no signage to forbid such things yet and perhaps it will come to that. Dog-owners, with one exception I noticed, had picked up after their dogs, if it had even been necessary. But, who would be picking up after the horse??? Yikes!
Tourists to the Hudson Valley will likely add this to their list of excursions. And for those of us lucky enough to live nearby, it is a walk to be repeated regularly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Here are the pics from the NY Sheep and Wool Show that I promised yesterday. I just COULDN'T get them to upload. This is Marlene in her booth Marlene's Felting Madness. She has a wealth of felting supplies and fibers.

She pointed out her "self-portrait" hat, featuring a felted teacup complete with sparkling sugar cube! The fabulous critter to the left is a signature sculptural project taught by Hungarian feltmaker Judit Pocs. But, last year Judit was unable to honor her commitment to teach at the Midwest Felting Symposium and, when asked if she knew another European feltmaker who would step in for her, she sent Annemie Koenen in her place. (If you click on Annemie, ask for translation of website). After teaching at the symposium, Annemie taught this workshop on Judits behalf at a specially scheduled workshop that followed at Susan's Fiber Shop. Annemie and I were roomates during the symposium and became fast friends. As editor of the Dutch felt magazine, tijdschrift: Viltkontakt, she asked me to write an article that tells my story of how I came to feltmaking. We were hoping to teach together in Germany and Holland in 2010, and realize that it is more likely for 2011.

I too knew Judit, for we both taught week-long workshops at Fibres Ballarat, in Australia last April. Our adjacent classrooms were separated by wonderful plate glass windows so we could watch the creations taking place in both areas. Her emphasis was hats, while mine was felted and beaded jewelry. I'll try to get some photos from our teaching adventures in Oz into a blog post soon. I went on to teach in Orange at another fiber conference called Tafta Fibre Forum, after a weeklong trek across the Lake Mungo region with several other fibre artists. Cindy Feinstein is wearing the bracelet she made in my workshop in North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival. When we split after the short and sweet workshop she was less than thrilled with her piece. Having had the luxury of time to work on it a bit more, she is proud to show me her final work.

Our neighbor's booth, Artisan Buttons, gave us much eye candy. Her punch needle embroidered buttons are spectacular.
She said she might see me at Kinokuniya Bookstore next Sunday for the 2-5pm workshop. Hope so.
Fran and Jamie are sisters who also share a passion for feltmaking. They are wearing their nuno felted neckwear. Jamie's, on right, was made in the workshop at Bead Gallery Inc last weekend in Salem NH.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another fun day at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. For 45 minutes I have been trying to upload pictures for you and alas, they do not want to play nice. I am weary from the long day of schmoozing and selling and then packing everything up from my friend Susan's LAST SHOW. So, meanwhile, here is what I wish to share and hopefully tomorrow I can post the pictures.
We were neighbors with Susan of Artisan Buttons and Accessories. She had beautiful handcrafted buttons. The ones that particularly captured my attention and respect were the igolochkoy or miniature punch needle embroidery she does with her hand dyed wool thread. They were stunning little articles. Despite several attempts, the address she gave me to link to isn't doesn't work but, type and you'll get there. Go figure!
In the adjacent building I found Marlene of Marlene's Felting Madness. It took me just a moment to remember meeting her and making time to visit with her at the Midwest Felting Symposium. She and her husband Carl, here from Ohio, had a large space offering an array of fiber and felting supplies. Her felting demonstrations throughout the festival attracted crowds and hopefully enlightened a few hundred more people about feltmaking. She is a delight and a thorough and wonderful source I am happy to tell you about.
Fran and Jamie dropped by to say hello. These sisters live miles apart and are both artistically inclined. They share a fondness for feltmaking and are seen here in some of their wearables. Jamie (on right) is wearing neckwear she made in the Bead Gallery workshop last week. The spiral motif is a thicker area of wool and is sculpted to emphasize its roundness.
Cindy Feinstein came by to shwo me her felted beaded bangle. She created this piece in the workshop a couple weeks ago when I taught at the first annual North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival. She wasn't thrilled with it at the time. Since then she has done some further deconstruction and then bead embellishment and is now happy with the results. Her husband joined her at the festival, even though she put the show aside to take a workshop in collage feltmaking.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today was a fabulous day at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. It is my once a year occasion to play "Suzie Retailer" and I enjoy it very much. This is my friend Susan's last year as a vendor and we are in a celebratory mood as she clears her inventory by offering most of it at 50% off. Today we saw many books and knitting needles fly off the shelves. I sold Turbo Felting Boards, signed books and showed off my Japanese felting book. A few folks I spoke with said they might come to Kinokuniya Bookstore next Sunday, across from Bryant Park, for my booksigning, trunk show and 2-5pm workshop. It is deeply discounted to $25 and this includes materials! Call the store to reserve your space. 212-869-1700. Expect to make a felted focal bead/pendant or ornament while learning needle felting techniques. THen return November 15th, same time same place for another $25 workshop and booksigning. This time expect to dabble in traditional feltmaking while creating a felt flower. There will be a trunk show of my felt jewelry as well.
Omi Gray came by the booth to say hello. I'm hoping she and David and I can meet for dinner next weekend after my event at Kinokuniya Bookstore. Check out her great hat. One of her hats is featured in HOW WE FELT. She is a feltmaker but primarily works and teaches workshops in metal clay and beadwork.
Terrie from StarrSpun Felt came by and we enjoyed a brief visit. You may recall my post about her exhibit at Crafts on Columbus in May. She will be showcased as "Emerging Artist" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Show next month.
Yikes, I have no link for Omi because I cannot find her website info OR HER PHONE NUMBER!!! Hope I can reach her and share her contact info with you later.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today I helped Susan set up her booth at NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. We are joined by Susan's longtime dear friend Nancy Slye. Many moons ago, The Wool Room began as a joint venture of Susan's and Nancy's. Then Nancy went off and had parallel fiber adventures in Virginia while Susan became the Wool Room that has so profoundly touched many of our lives.
About Susan I say this: Susan is the center of my fiber universe. Yeah, sure, I was a knitter and beader and crocheter. But, the day I bought my spinning wheel at The Wool Room is the day all fiber bliss broke loose. She sat me down at each of the wheels and together we found the ONE that hummed at me. Alternate Tuesday evenings were sacred, for this is when the spinning group met at her place. These spinners became my circle of dear buddies. Yes, that was when it all reallllly began. Fiber conferences became my "vacation". The more I learned, the more I experimented, and eventually, the more I forward to my fully felted and beaded blissful life! Thank you Susan!
Both Susan and Nancy are discounting their inventory at the show, vowing this is the last one. Mary Jo ( you remember her from the posting a couple weeks ago) will take the reins so to speak. She is just embarking on her fiber business, Ice Pond Spinners, as Susan winds hers down.
When we finished setting up we walked the grounds. Check out this sweet sheep. Is she in costume? Incognito? Cute.
Elm Grove Fiber Arts booth is setting up an impressive display of needle felted figures.
Suzanne Higgs caught my attention as we whizzed past her booth. Check out her fine hats. She told me she is collecting felt blogs. She is Hooked On Felt.
We ran into Lisa from Spinner's Hill. She has the yummiest fiber, all hand dyed and delicious. When I asked her if Teresa is working with her this weekend she told me that Teresa May O'Brien is teaching all weekend, has her own booth ANFD had been instrumental in building the yurt on display for the weekend. I snapped this shot for you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You know Janet Rosenberg for her gorgeous ergonomic wooden handle crochet hooks and bead looms, shown here wearing the fabulous jewelry she made using a beaded bead recipe Valerie Hector had published in a winter issue of a beading magazine. Janet made a black pair plus a smaller silver charlotte pair for earrings. The necklace is a silver one enclosed in a right angle weave square cage she designed herself.
When she arrived for class at the studio she wanted to be reminded of the recipe used to make the polygon bezels she did for these rivolis and buttons. Shown here is their beautiful underside.
I had the chance to play forensic beader, which I realllllllly love doing, to tell her how these were done. The dragon fly button was a gift from fellow beader Marianne. If they ever ask for expert bead testimony in court, I'm there.
Pat Riesner teaches this crystal heart pendant (and sells them finished) and shared the recipe with Janet. Tonight in the studio class Janet wanted to work on hers so everyone joined in. Thanks Pat for sharing your heart with everyone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This was day 4 of my 4 days of workshops at Bead Gallery Inc in Salem NH. It was devoted to feltmaking, rather than beading. Of course some cross-over beaders were in attendance: owner Genevieve, Dionne, Marianne and Gerry. But we also had lampwork beadmaker Jacqui, art clay instructor Michela, a fiber and jewelry artist Jamie, and a special surprise: Fran, a beader whose work appears in MASTERING BEADWORK page 185 (Fran's Swirling Ndebele) and is my studio assistant and Jamie's sister.
The sweet little reversible coat shown here is Michela's beautifully and seamlessly constructed masterpiece. She was kind enough to bring it for "show and tell".
Our project for this day is nuno felted neckwear. Here they are shown embellishing a hemmed 9 x 54 inch silk scarf with fine merino fiber, yarns and synthetic fibers.
After wetting the wool, some felters worked on their own projects and some shared the laborious rolling by layering several onto one piece of solar pool cover and taking turns.
I let all but three felters get away before I remembered to take a shot of their work to share with you. Sorry. Dionne, Gerry and Marianne are shown here.
Notice the quilted tote to the right of Marianne? Last year she came to class with a similar one and I coveted it so badly, she sold it to me. Plus, when I asked, she brought another to class the next day for my beloved niece Amy, who shares my passion for cool bags and the ceaseless search for the perfect one! Looks like she managed to make a replacement one for herself. Marianne makes exquisitely beautiful beading "cases". She combines gorgeous fabrics with her talent for piecework and quilting, with a beading mat. It has pockets for tools and supplies, and rolls up and buttons conveniently. She gifted me with one in a Laurel Birch cat fabric that I love! Thank you Marianne. PS If you are longing for one for yourself, no problem. She makes a constant supply for purchase at Bead Gallery Inc.
Ya know how that marketing business and competitiveness between Art Clay and PMC is foreign to us and frankly, off-putting? Many of us are wayyyy more interested in the medium and less hung up on choosing a camp. When we were talking about such things today, Michela shared with us that several metal clay instructors joined forces and began a registry of teachers that is not based on the branded product or marketing. She is proud to be the 7th of these Registered Metal Clay Masters!
Gerry had asked about bangle and beadmaking during this nuno class. I was able to demonstrate both quickly, since we had several Turbo Felting Boards on hand. So, while I packed up after class, Genevieve "banged out" this layered felt bangle. She'll use the slices she cut off as felt cabochons.
We have a series of workshops scheduled for April and October (Columbus 4-day weekend) for next year. There are already several sign ups so, if you want to join in, don't delay.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Every square inch of the tablespace at Bead Gallery Inc held bead mats, beads and beaded bezels in our mad hot beaded bezel workshop. In preparation for the workshop I arrived with 16 recipes for many different rivolis and other Swarovski cabochons. Bead Gallery has a treasure trove of new and vintage items to choose from. Last night I whipped up another for a shape I had previously not encountered.
If you click on the photos, you might be able to get it to magnify. We shot them on a piece of reflective glass so you can see their beautiful bottoms!
Each of these was made with a selection of 11, 15 and 8 size seed beads ('cept for the one that also has daggers). Through thoughtful selection of bead color and finish, each one is reflective of the beader's taste and esthetic.
Genevieve was able to be present, a rare treat. She chose to work on her chili peppers version of Ostara's Emerging Blossoms. She emphasized the pepper shape by tapering the ends with smaller beads.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Today Genevieve, queen mistress of The Bead Gallery in Salem NH and I marked our calendars for my return to teach 3 days of workshops. Mark your calendars too. Everyone voted on doing the pentagon necklace, especially for the sure-fire way it teaches cubic right angle weave. We'll do this as a 3 hour workshop on Friday April 9. Also that day we'll do a few new polygon samples we'll call More Faces of Polygon. (These beaders already did the workshop the Many Faces of Polygon.) and we'll add a 3 hour version of Bead Happy Bracelet to that day.
It still tickles me in these happy colors but, each beader will choose her own palette of bead colors and finishes.
They also chose for April to make the Marcasite Chain for Lampworked Bead. It is a fine chain woven of size 15 marcasite charlottes, evocative of those delicate chains in the jewelry store except that these include tiny seed beads in colors to enhance the focal bead.
We'll also make a floral lariat that has multiple petals of those wonderful pearls that I call "corn flake pearls". I'll provide a picture soon. It is on my ipod, I just need to get it into here.

Today's Workshop at The Bead Gallery was Ostara's Emerging Blossoms Necklace. Annette arrived wearing an amazing strand of graduated matching lampworked beads. Wow. There were 5o of these beauties in this necklace. When I asked her i she made them, she said no. Well, I speculated, and actually had the nerve to ask, if she was having an affair with a beadmaker. She explained that they were a special birthday gift from her sister, lampworker Lisa Blanchard. Special indeed. She lives in Valdez Alaska. How I would LOVE to be invited to teach in Alaska.
Here are a few of the budding blossoms on their bails. Genevieve is making a pair in hot, spicy reds for a chili pepper necklace.
We used a bezeled rivoli as the closure. Tomorrow we will bead our way through up to 18 different styles of bezeled rivolis.
Tonight's homework for me is to bezel 2 new shapes and sizes I have not worked with yet.
Once again the camera-computer-cable is not in the suitcase but, I made a trip to Radio Shack. Problem solved!
The drive to Salem NH was beautiful. The leaves are vibrant, the sky looked like all those that Frederick Church tried to capture in oils and until 15 miles from my destination, the traffic moved along.
Yesterday I taught 3 three-hour workshops. My beloved Bead Gallery beaders were in attendance: Rita, Stacey, Pamela, Nancy, Dion, Diane, Diane, Diane, Joan, Margaret, Pat, Mary, Wendy, Annette (forgive me if I left a name out). We made a seed pearl bracelet that I didn't photo. Oops. Shown are the reversible bracelets called Two Sides of the Story. It features that new stitch based on polygon that corruagtes to produce reversible beadwork.
Wendy Gehly brought her finished Kaja's bracelet from April's workshop and the necklace she made using that technique. Stunning.
In the evening session we beaded a pair of sweet little beads shaped like buds, made by lampworker Lea Zinke. When I saw the array of beaded buds I imagined them all hanging like charms from a bracelet.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Inspired by the rings made by polymer clay artist Ronna Sarvas Weltman, I have been creating some fanciful felt rings. In the photo, two of my newest felt rings flank a polymer ring made by Ronna .
Sunday I caught the last 3 hours of Crafts at Rhinebeck.
My mission was to purchase another garment or two by Zee Mizrahi. Taking advantage of catching Zee's booth at a quiet moment, I looked at every single item in her booth. What joy.
Leaving Zee's booth, I strolled past nearby booths. It was great to see Robin McLaughlin's newest beadwork at her booth Stonecrop Beadwork.
Robin told me about the homegrown, hand-dyed and hand-knit socks she bought at Round Barn Merino in the next building so I made that my next stop. Owner, merino sheep shepherd, dyer, knitter and all round fiber goddess Judith Giusto is a powerhouse. She had this year's hot ticket, wristers (fingerless gloves), in the most amazing patterns and colors. Her sock inventory was exhausted, except for some small/medium. She featured sweaters that are made to order in the styles on display and in "your" size. She has recently begun making felt jewelry. (See photo) She dyes the slender felt ropes and binds them to each other with wool covered wire, finishing with colored chain and toggle. We had a great visit.
Loretta Lam makes polymer bead jewelry. Her colors caught my attention and her pattern and texture combinations held it. I lingered so long she had little choice but to visit. I asked if she might consider doing a collaboration. Wouldn't that be fun?
Flowering kale is so complex and beautiful. They are combinations of purple, pink, white and green. The leaves are veiny and matte. The edges vary from slightly curly to intensely ruffled and frilly.
These plants and "elephant ears" call out to me to render their likeness in felt.