Thursday, October 23, 2014

Needle Felting and Nature Inspiration

I've been fully bitten by the needle felting bug!
Do you ever experience an overwhelming sense of having to figure out everything you can as soon as possible when you finally get your hands on a material you have been wanting to try out, but have never really had the right encouragement, inspiration or materials to give it a go?
These are some of the books I have gotten out of the public library this week.
I looked up "Felting" and these are what popped up, so they went on hold and I got them last night. With the exception of the two at the bottom - those are mine from home. 
And having a background in Entomology and Wildlife Conservation, I go directly to nature for inspiration. The colors, patterns, textures are everywhere you look in nature. And I like to reference scientific books or field guides for a soft inspiration on realistic things, although my final work rarely incorporates exact replicas from nature.
 Taking time to walk outside will allow you to find unexpected things like this mushroom above.

And hanging out with friends, that have friends, that are interested in art, can quickly open new doors - quite literally in this case. I took a needle felting workshop last December in my friends kitchen and met Sara from Sarafina Fiber Arts. I had always had a round about interest in needle felting - but did not quite experience the "bite" until after this workshop. And now Sara has opened a shop where she teaches workshops, sells materials and finished art from local artists, and creates a bunch of How To videos on You Tube for sculptural needle felting.
Above is a quick photo of the Sarafina Art House after a pumpkin workshop (I was there to drop off some of my ceramic items for her to sell in the gallery). I purchased a bunch of needle felting supplies from her at the open house not even two weeks ago, and went home to watch a few of the videos to remember some of the basics (there are three video in Sara's pumpkin videos).
I wanted to make some Autumn Pumpkins!
 I just love these candy colored locks that Sara dyes and sells - I could have purchased the entire basket she had at the shop! They add such color to the pumpkins...

There is this thing that when I make, I like to make a lot of things - it's an obsessive personality trait. I think it's exactly why I can sit and make and make a ton of beads at a time (give me good music or an interesting audio book, or podcast and I'll be there for hours!).
And it becomes about technique and seeing what I like as I make things, comfortable changes in technique as I work, how I can picture the development of a general shape - like a pumpkin, and move it forward and make details that are more appealing to me - most of the time - it ends up having spirals and swirly lines somehow...
So the pumpkins started getting these spiral stems.
And the bottom points of the stem onto the pumpkin, started getting wavy ends if they were long enough (after this in-progress photo).
I loved the banana fiber and how it frays, twists and twirls. 

I make and I make, then I move onto something else.
Like - what about making some ceramic pumpkins?
It is the season for them to ripen and be everywhere and in every shape and color!
Since I do already have all of the ceramic stuff from my bead making, small terrarium sized ceramic pumpkins were a natural. Notice the points at the bottoms of the stems. Those are there because in Sara's video, Lee mentions making points from the bottom of the felt stem. Cutting the ceramic clay to make points - that was fun to figure out and make happen (you have to work fast so it does not dry out and crack off).

Now my brain is set to figure out how to combine felting with beads in a more sculptural way.
Not by any means coming up with "new" as there are many artists out there that combine sculpture, beads, art, etc., but rather, new to me. Exciting to me. But ways to find my voice and learn techniques then pull all this work together in a way that is uniquely an expression of the things deep within.

What about you? Do you share a love for felting?
Even if it is just a visual love vs a "making".
Who are some of your favorite "felting" artists?

Social Media Links:
Like Sarafina Fiber Arts on Facebook
(there is also a group if you are into felting).
Like Love My Art Jewelry on Facebook.


stacilouise said...

Marsha- i love my needle felted pumpkin, and i love those little ones you made too. Mostly, i think it is so awesome when we, as artists, begin to evolve past what we thought we would always do. I can't wait to see how you combine all these new mediums!!!! have fun!!!! (it looks like you are!)

Kathy Lindemer said...

I felted once. I have a lovely book and wool. All I need is the time! I love felted pieces.

BluMoon said...

What gorgeous pumpkins, I enjoy needle felting too especially tiny animals and embellished beads I do it mainly during the winter so will be starting again soon.

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