A while back, I blogged about the raw wool felted laptop bag (see post) that I created for myself, and I thought I would show how the handles were made. Store bought handles of all shapes, sizes and colours are available in most craft stores (or online), but in my opinion, nothing beats a good quality, handmade, adjustable thick leather strap with solid brass fittings. I have not used a pattern for doing this.. I simply gauge the size based on the bag and what feels comfortable. The only factor to consider is the width of your buckle. I cut five pieces of leather, one for the strap, and two shorter pieces that are doubled over and secured to the felt itself using chicago screws (leather bond optional), and two narrower pieces that are looped to keep the strap from flailing about. The side pieces are very simple.. an oval hole in the middle for the buckle to pivot, and in this case two holes matched up on each side. Punch matched holes in your …
Forever inspired by my dear friend Elis Vermeulen of Holland to work with raw fleece (see my previous post on working with Texel with Elis), I decided to make myself a laptop bag a while back using my favorite medium. I have yet to add the straps (really need some studio time this week), but will be using some good quality leather with a buckle to make it adjustable. The base is made using norwegian C1 (I planned for a shrinkage of 30%). It is the perfect wool for sturdy bags. It produces a nice firm felt that hardly pills and wears well. Now to pull out a hide of leather and some brass findings. Oh! by the way, if you are interested in learning more about how to work with raw fleece, Elis will be teaching a bag class at the Creative Felt Gathering in Michigan this september. See her website for more details, or contact her to arrange a workshop in your area.
FeltUnited in the spring 2011 issue of FiberArts magazine. (available internationally in newstands now) What started out almost two and a half years ago as a simple thought on bringing together felt artists from around the globe, has grown to be so much more than Elis and I could have imagined. The FeltUnited website tipped the 50,000 hits mark recently and our facebook group is nearing 1000 fans. Who would have imagined?
As most artists know all too well, November and December is the busy season, holiday sales carry many of us through the rest of our year. Months ago, as the end of summer approached, the deadline for deciding in which holiday shows to participate came up, and I had to make a decision. In past years I have had open studios, inviting the public in to my atelier to see how and where my products are made. Last year, I took part in the Designers Fair (juried entry) at DogA, the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture on Hausmannsgate in Oslo, 10,000 people in 2 days – exhausting but worthwhile! This year, the invites for various shows came in and I realized that regardless of what options I chose, the workload would be pretty much the same, long hard days in the studio working on new series and collections, evenings back in the studio polishing silver or ironing textiles, display work, pricing, labeling, packaging supplies, being away from my children on the holiday weekends, and stressing …
Yesterday, Elis and I published the 2nd International FeltUnited Exhibit. What started two years ago as an idea to connect artists from around the planet in a joint exhibit, grew to be a worldwide happening celebrated in over 25 countries on 5 continents. Nearly 1000 photos have been compiled in two themed exhibits featuring artists of all skill levels, from new beginners to renowned textile artists; all brought together to celebrate a common passion. Do take a moment to make yourself a comforting beverage, turn on some nice music and watch the show. We have also announced next years date and colour theme; Red–Purple–Blue, our third and final segment of the colour wheel. Please join us October 1st, 2011, see FeltUnited for more details. … and to Elis, thank you.. for everything. You are a dear friend, a fascinating artist and old soul, whom I am blessed to have in my life… I adore you. EDIT: fixed the links 😉
FeltUnited was celebrated around the world, as felters everywhere shared in their love of wool. Photos are streaming in, and I am in awe of how many joined in on the fun. Chile, Australia, Argentina, Germany, Russia.. the list goes on. Events ranged from large to small, some organized workshops, others decorated public statues, groups marched through city streets boldly wearing this years colour theme… and many hung a symbolic piece on their fence post; and in the meaning of the event, they Felt United.
Take a moment to read the article about FeltUnited in HandEye magazine 🙂
Another productive day in the studio (and it is not even noon!). FeltUnited as many of you know is fast approaching (at least for Elis and I). There are a series of projects ongoing in the studio (well mostly in my head for now) that require some preplanning .. ie dyeing fibre.
…when you work with fleece right off the sheep, full of grease and bits and bobs, trust me you get dirty and well the smell of all that stuff warmed up with hot water.. well.. I think you know what I am getting at!
It has been a while since I have “played” in the studio… sometimes life gets too busy. Today, after a good talk with a friend far away, I feel that my head is starting to clear and the time to play is approaching… that … and spring is in the air!
The vast majority of us have things laying around the studio that we no longer need or use, and an ever growing list of things we want. Whether you are learning a new craft, or are just tired of storing the supplies from a hobby you no longer enjoy, this could be a great opportunity.
Felters who make handmade felt all have felt lying around that was either a sample test, a project that just was not right or simply bits left over from larger projects. There is nothing like handmade wool felt, and event the smallest pieces never get thrown away, after all.. each piece was lovingly made by hand! For those of you who are not felters, follow these directions using just about any fabric.
I took at look at my stats today, and just wanted to say thanks for reading. When I started my blog this summer, I had no idea that it would be read by so many people. I would love to hear what you would like to see more of (take this anonymous poll – choose 2 options) : by the way, if you want to subscribe use the RSS feeder links on the top right then bookmark it.
Since that trip, I have been obsessed with trying to new wools. Specifically Norwegian heritage sheep, but also other breeds to get a better understanding of wool and how it felts.
A few moments from the studio today. Made using a mix of Norwegian C1 and pelsull with a touch of silk throwers waste for accent. Here is a glimpse of the process: UPDATE: This photo will give you an idea as to how much it shrunk in the felting process. Norwegian C1 is fantastic wool! ohhh.. and a link from Siki in Canada.. I absolutely love this, turn your music on and enjoy.