Friday, August 24, 2012

Felting? Clueless and loving it!

I put the following on my Artsy Journeys blog and copied it here. Enjoy!


Fiber art, felting and a drive way into the country!

So off I go to a Felting workshop with that most wonderful of feelings-clueless.
Yes, clueless. Meaning that I do not have a clue as to what to expect, what to do, how to do it or any preconceived idea of what is involved. I wasn't even sure what "felt" was. :-)

A collage of 7 or the 8 completed in the 6-8:30 class
A friend and I carpooled and it was probably a good thing. I am far from map illiterate-rarely use a GPS (ha ha-I am the type to first look at a map and then see if the GPS is right) so I drove in my little Honda Fit which lovingly gets close to 35 mpg (40 downhill with a back wind) and of course mapquest nor the instructor knew to tell us about the bridge out/detour. No big deal-lovely afternoon, nice drive and eventually we do reach our destination-a "Retreat" deep down  a half mile gravel driveway (this was not much more than a track) through beautiful woodlands and lo and behold, come to a charming house and cute art studio smack in the middle of Franklin Co, NC...and in essence (this is not a joke) in the middle of nowhere. One of those lovely wooded properties bought back when an access road was  the only way to buy ancient, overgrown farmland, replete with the remains of old homesteads. No fields-just lovely forest and, yes, that retreat feeling of crickets and tree frogs ...very loud tree frogs as evening approached :-).

What a cute concept by Debbie!

A lovely example by Sharon!
Anyway, we WERE in for a treat as 8 of us gathered together and our instructor (And Retreat owner), Margaret Hilpert of Cedar Cross Retreat led us through the steps. Now I had seen something on Facebook about felting a scarf and was totally baffled (and lost)  by the rolling, slapping, pounding, soaking of the wool (which is what felt is I discovered) but when actually DOING it, the procedures begin to make sense. 

I was not joking when I said rolling, pounding, kneading and eventually wadding up our creations and throwing them onto a towel on the floor. The word, "workout" comes to mind.
My efforts resulted in this tree :-)
In the photos you can see some of the results and they were lovely. Felting is an ancient art and everyone from the Mongolians to the Europeans understood the insulation qualities of felt...from yurts to felt boots, hats, wall hangings, etc. Personally, after making my small example, I would NEVER put it on the floor. LOL, in our art business no one wants to step on floor mats either (after being made and handpainted) so wiping one's feet on a work of art just isn't in my DNA.

Margaret had some beautiful examples of her work that she had later, upon finishing the felting, had embellished with additional needlework, "needling" (a cool punching in of loose fabric) yarn, glittery stuff and all manners of creativity.

Felting is considered "fiber art".  No longer a survival necessity, but a beautiful art piece for one's enjoyment. The creations seen on the Internet that artists are making are just amazing.  Supplies (just google it) for feltmaking are everywhere. In essence, it is a whole other art industry akin to jewelry making, pottery painting...Frankly I was happy to come away from the experience knowing a new, yet ancient technique for creating yet another form of beautiful art. Everyone dabbles in their chosen art field at different levels and I look forward to "playing around" with my piece when I figure out what to embellish it with...already I can envision using this new art in art journaling, perhaps in some many options!

To learn more about where we were and who we enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, art and beautiful woodsy solitude, visit

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Trio of Labradors! Following a work in Progress

There is no doubt that oil portraits "pop!" They are challenging in the sense that the artist (lol-me) has to work quickly to lay in the colors and work wet paint into wet paint to blend. Of course often I have to step back, let it dry before adding details.

Oil in progress Three Labs" 24 x 30
This large oil is a work in progress meaning, I'm just not done with it :-)

Although the owners handed me photos of their "boys", none were what I need for the "pop" factor. So I went back later and snapped quick photos with my old Nikon D70. Good for what I do so need to update to fancier more expensive models!

This is a large 24 x 30 oil and I gave them several choices initially. I like to do rough sketches so that the client gets a feel for what I'll be creating for them, and the actual size-a HUGE plus! Nope just sketches-no photoshop for me!

I usually wait and let collectors see the finished work but the dogs are completed enough for them to see what I first showed them in a sketch so after teaching a class this morning, I'll run down and let them have a peek!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inspired by Nature and keeping it all simple!

Inspired by Nature and keeping it all simple!

I am one of those artists and art journal individuals inspired by simple pleasures :-) It can be as spectacular as our recent art show location near Boone, NC or the light bouncing off a hanging basket of flowers on my front porch.
My husband absorbing the wildflowers on top of an NC Mountain

An art or travel journal is supposed to be fun! It is not all about new techniques or the latest fad.  Make your journal as creative as YOU want to make it.

There are so many magazines now out there with a gazillion "do this" to be creative articles that it is easy to be overwhelmed. Remember that most of the authors are paid to come with new ideas! Do what comes naturally and creatively to you.  If a new method or idea "despires" instead of "inspires" then
wait for another day!

Traveling light-markers, white crayon, couple of brushes and water bottle! 
Often while traveling your supplies are limited by what can be easily carried and used. Stick with the basics and keep it simple!
Carry a camera (this from my cell phone) to catch a moment, then enjoy being in the moment!
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