Monday, August 18, 2014

The 2014 Global Talent Search

"Bloom" by Val Hebert, detail, from the 2014 GTS submission

I was very much on the fence about entering this year's Global Talent Search (GTS), as put on by the enormously talented Lilla Rogers (find out more here). Lilla is one of the top artist's agents in the world. For the past year and a half, I have taken her online classes, MATS A & B(Make Art That Sells), and then MATS Bootcamp, offering a slower pace than the more stressful 1-assignment-per-week schedule from the MATS classes. Lilla's classes and assignments are packed full of information, guidance, and the prompts are very much "in the now", meaning one can certainly get immediate work from doing Lilla's assignments. In fact, we watched as artist after artist landed amazing jobs left and right during and after taking these classes. It was and is very exciting to see artists transform from "nobody" to a "Somebody" right before your eyes. Kudos to all the very talented artists I have had the fortune to meet and get to know in these wonderful MATS classes!

As for me, the classes proved I was at a distinct disadvantage without a solid background in graphic illustration. I am more of a classically trained artist, working pen to paper, so to speak. I make all my items individually. Nothing is altered or managed on the computer. I do not have a good relationship with Photoshop! If I make a mistake in my work, it is generally a "do-over," or a go with the flow and let the accident become a happy one. So, I found myself discouraged and listless about continuing to push and try hard within this very talented pool of mainly graphic artists. 

But, then, at the last minute, I got a dose of courage and a "throw all caution to the wind", and I signed up. It was literally the last day you could enter the competition. What was I thinking? All of this in August, to boot, this crazy busy August of me doing three shows, teaching two classes, taking two out of town trips... Man, when this artist goes crazy, she goes really crazy!!!

The assignment came out, and it was actually right up my alley: create a piece of wall art with a Terrarium theme. Ok, I can do this, I thought. So, I went all Andy Warhol, and just put paint to board and made art. 

Initially, my idea was to incorporate needle felted mushrooms to a canvas painted with a wooded theme. I created the mushrooms with painstaking precision, I might add (sheesh), but putting this idea together proved challenging. Sometimes those visions in my brain just don't mesh with what my hands are creating. So... frustration loomed. I needed something new, and fast. Needle felting plants takes quite some time...

In the meantime, the mushroom terrarium was born. I love this... and will have to make more :o)

But then, that night, the design was thankfully worked out in my head while I slept. I dreamed the woodland theme had to change to a zeriscape desert theme (my husband is a Landscape Architect, and living in SoCAL, we are all about succulents here). So, trees were replaced with cactus, and hot colors became cool, and a bird was added :o) The needle felted mushrooms were replaced with a cactus bloom (love). It all came together in a flash after that. I submitted my design to the GTS gallery with a happy heart, knowing that I have certainly put forth my best effort. 

Here is my submission:

"Bloom" by Val Hebert, 2014 GTS Submission, collage on board with
acrylic and paint sticks, and a 3-D needle felted plant-on bloom

Please hold good thoughts for me that I make the top 50. Of course, I realize that whatever will be will be. That I have no idea whether others will love or hate it, and throwing caution to the wind simply means I am hoping to bloom if this is where I'm meant to be planted!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Date for Woodland Friends Class!

The Woodland Friends class date has been changed from Saturday Aug 23 to Sunday Aug. 24, same time: 12-4 pm. I hope this doesn't mess things up for you too badly. Let me know if you have a problem with the date change, and I will make it right for you. Class info is here, and sign ups are here.


Monday, July 21, 2014

I Scream...

Are you? ... Screaming?! (hehe) So far, the few people who have seen my newest plush pillows have screamed in delight. They are just too cute... 

This is my entry for the July gallery for MATS Bootcamp. The assignment was to showcase your favorite beverage with something you would give to a friend. So, I tried to make ice cream frappes, but they kept coming out like cones. Oh well, add a straw, and a dose of sunshine, and any ice cream will become drinkable, right?!

Anyhow, ice cream plush + getting ready for my late summer shows = I think ice cream plush will be a hit :o)

Happy summer!
xx, Val

PS. You can view the July Bootcamp Gallery by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Late summer shows + events

Normally, my fall show season doesn't officially begin until the Coronado Art Walk, which takes place mid September. Honestly, people are not in the wool buying mood any sooner, if even then. Two years ago at the Coronado Art Walk, the temps were over 100 degrees. That was hecka hot, as my teen son would say... So, I generally prefer to wait until the fall season, and the cooler weather really hits before hauling out all the wooly goodness, and trying to find people willing to even talk about staying warm.

So... for August, I started out by scheduling to teach two needle felting classes during the month. That makes sense, doable, etc. There's the Fantastic Mr. Fox class, and the Mom/Daughter Pendant class (moms can take solo too, no problem!). Find out more about these two classes by clicking here.


Then, I was invited to the new Talmadge Art Show venue, The Headquarters First Thursday  which will take place at the newly renovated Headquarters building across from Seaport Village, on Thursday, August 7 from 4-9pm. Couldn't say no to this fantastic opportunity...

The US Sand Sculpting Challenge show is the next thing... it's kind of a too-big thing. I have said no to this show for the past 3 years. Why? It's a FOUR DAY SHOW! Honestly, I am about dead after a 2 day show. FOUR days??? No way! But, then I put on my "consideration cap" and decided the way to do this show would be to put a small contingency of artists together, so that's what I did. :o) We are a small handmade marketplace inside one 10' x 10' booth! I am planning to do a post specifically on this, so please stay tuned! BTW, this show is scheduled from August 29 - Sept 1, Labor Day. The location is Broadway Pier, in downtown San Diego. The website for more info is here.

Then, just the other day, TWO more requests to attend handmade art shows. Holy heck. One I said yes to, because it's in Coronado, and they promised me it will not be a "shlock" show (my words... nice. I know.) The other show, I just can't fit it in... 

I should be proud to be so popular. I know, and I am very proud. Overwhelmed too... and, I have decided I need to advertise for a new assistant. If you live in the San Diego area, love to craft, and want a part time job, message me, won't you please???

It's all good over here, just very busy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Soulful Sea for MATS Bootcamp June assignment

My entry for the June Gallery for MATS Bootcamp on Lilla Rogers website

The June assignment for MATS Bootcamp was delivered at the beginning of the month, and it was a welcome theme and assignment; a Sea/whale theme for a Wall Art assignment. Originally, I had thought I would create a painting onto board, but since I have been obsessed with hoop art lately, well... it only made sense that's how I would work out the assignment. 

Here's my process:

I ran out of time to stitch the text in place, so thanks to a bit of photoshop/Studio editing, the text was easy to overlay on the top of the photo. And, thanks to the talented and Photoshop savvy teens in my life, namely my son, Kyle Hebert, the image at the top of this post was created and uploaded just in the nick of time to the classroom gallery on Lilla Roger's site. Whew! It becomes a lot of work as the clock ticks down to the deadline. Isn't that always the way it goes?!

I always enjoy the way these assignments stretch me out of my normal comfort zone. Heck, even I need a break from birds from time to time! (I can't even believe I admitted to that fact!)

Check out Lilla Rogers Bootcamp studio school by clicking here. If you are an artist who likes the occasional kick in the pants, and to stretch yourself, you will love this class. I promise!


Monday, June 23, 2014

A brand new website!

Woo hoo!!! I have finally accomplished something very big that I have been wanting to do for years; set up my own website, and be able to manage the content myself. This is a big deal for me, and I feel very proud. I have to also attribute my fantastic helper, Camille, my recent High Tech High intern, for getting the ball rolling for me.

I hope you will navigate over there, and take a little tour. Then, make sure to pop back here and tell me what you think. Optional of course, but if you do, I will email you a free download. And, I am warning you... it's super cute :o)


Monday, June 9, 2014

I am featured in Patchwork & Craft!

It's always such a thrill to open the mailbox and find a craft mag with an article on needle felting, and. OMGosh, when it features you... Bonus!!! This beautiful magazine, Patchwork and Craft Handmade even put my photo on the cover! Oh holy heck!

The editor of this magazine found me through my Etsy shop. Many people have found my work on Etsy, and in fact, the last couple of magazine article feature requests have come directly from Etsy. So, for all you working artists out there... get your work on Etsy. Seriously, people.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hello Folks!

My ad for the Handmade 2014 issue of Folk Magazine

Maybe you are visiting here for the first time. If so, I want to offer you a warm welcome! If not, welcome back! I hope you will grab a cuppa tea, and stay & visit with me for a while.

In case this is the first time we've "met", I'm Val, and I am pretty much addicted to anything "woolie". I describe the woolen work I create "painting with fiber", because I love to mix and match natural fabrics and felted wool, onto which I jab wool roving with sharp barbed needles. It's a really fine way to work out my aggressions, let me tell you. And, as the mom of two teen boys, I do have my fair share of frustrations and aggressions! I find it's much more effective to act out upon a canvas of fabric and fiber than get in the face of a teenager, Lol!

My work studio
I live near the coast in San Diego, CA. My husband is a Landscape Architect and also owns his own business. This past year, we moved into adjoining work studios located close to Balboa Park. Our studios are in darling attached cottages built in the 1920s, which sit atop a canyon. We love living and working in San Diego. I invite you to stop by for a visit anytime you are in the San Diego area! We also bring Lola to work with us. She will be the first one to greet you, but please have no fear. She is extra friendly :o)

I have some really exciting felting adventures coming up, and I certainly hope you will join in. I am planning to launch an online class soon called "Hello Felt". I will be teaching basic needle felting and felt techniques, and more advanced projects as well. There will be a few add-on classes in embroidery, hand sewing and more. I'm sure you will want to stay connected so you can be among the first to know when my class launches (and find out about early discounted pricing!) Please click here to join my mailing list. And, just for joining, you will receive a free download of my favorite needle felting tools! Believe me, this list is invaluable, and one I would have wanted when I started to learn about needle felting. 

How else can we stay connected? Please join my Val's Art Studio Facebook page by clicking here. My super fun Pinterest page is here. And, please feel free to browse and shop my products by clicking over to my Etsy shop here.

I would love to hear from you, and find out what brought you here to my studio! Please feel free to leave me a comment, or send me an email here.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope to see you again very soon!  =^_^=

xx, Val

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello Cardinal!

Detail from a needle felted scarf featuring a male Cardinal (sold)

I had to fly off to North Carolina for the past few days. My dear Uncle Rich passed away. We had a beautiful celebration of life for him, and in the beauty of that, my brothers, sister, parent, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and other extended family I hadn't met came together. Whew! It was a tribe, but it was so much fun! 

In all I experienced, what I brought back home was a reminder... A gentle nudge that our families are our everything. They are the glue that holds us together. The ones who have our backs when we falter, and the ones we care enough to hold together when their worlds fall apart (as worlds have a tendency to do). Life isn't cruel... it is a teacher to us. And our family are the ones who help us put the puzzle pieces together when we can't figure them out on our own. I do so love my family, and feel blessed to have been born into this group of like-minded souls. I feel truly lucky, indeed.

I couldn't resist posting one of my needle felted Cardinals today. I was fortunate enough to actually see a mated pair flitting through the natural gardens at Duke University. The formal gardens were spectacular, brimming with an array of the most beautiful flowering trees and plants I think I've ever seen together. Each one begging for attention, and demanding your eyes to linger there first, and the longest! Then, in homage to my Landscape Architect husband, I dragged everyone into the natural gardens, where we meandered amongst craggy, sloping walkways, with natural ponds filled with frogs, and places to set for a few minutes and watch the birds. And then... well, hellooo Cardinals! I felt like I was in paradise!

xx, Val

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I love you, Bunny!

Oh, Honey-Bunny, how cute are you?
I love all your sweetness
And that neat pink box too.
You make my heart pitter
With the love that you bring,
Your expression, so honest
Why, you make my heart sing!

Thank you, sweet students, for all the fun and camaraderie we shared in our bunny class yesterday. And goodness! Aren't those bunnies adorable?! Each one came out so unique and loveable! 

And now, I must share a quote overheard during our few hours of needle felting:

"I just think (my bunny) is frikkin' adorable!" -Gay

Well, so do I! They all came out frikkin' adorable!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Feathered hoops!

Yesterday, we had a small group of participants for the Feather Hoop class, but I do so love small group classes. It means a more relaxed pace for me, when I can teach and enjoy getting to know my students. We can sit and visit amongst the needle felting and stitching demonstrations. It's such a nice experience for all involved. 

In fact, I might limit class enrollment for the future!

xx, Val

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cute gremlins

Look what was on my desk when I came into my office this morning! It's soooo cute! Apparently, the cute gremlins were busy last night.

I'm taking not one, but TWO online classes right now; Do/Teach and Lilla Rogers MATS Bootcamp. In trying to catch up, make a little art, and listening to the lessons yesterday afternoon, my hands went to town while my focus was elsewhere. I finished this right before I went home, and didn't really have time to admire it properly before I left.

So I hung it on the wall, but it seemed like it needed a bit of definition. I had this little wood wreath sitting on my desk, and it fit inside there so nicely. 

"Hello Spring!" by Val's Art Studio

Cute, cute. Makes me happy. Isn't that what it's all about?!

Hope you have a cute day!
xx, Val

Monday, February 24, 2014

MATS Bootcamp

Bootcamp sounds intimidating to me, but after taking Lilla Rogers MATS A + B Classes (Make Art That Sells) -find out more by clicking here, I knew I could handle any Bootcamp 'intensity' that might come my way. Honestly, anyone who can finish one 5 week segment of MATS classes, where you go through five different industries, learning the industry details, and creating an incredible body and variety of work in such a short time, should receive a medal! It was dang intense.  

So, Bootcamp means one project per month... a dream! This first month's assignment was to sketch up cuckoo clock design options, and ultimately to create a cuckoo clock smart phone case.

Val's Art Studio cuckoo clock illustrations

My initial sketches involved animal shapes. Well, naturally.... after all, I had been working on a new set of woodland needle felted nesting animals. (Please don't judge this guy too harshly, his eyes aren't in yet. I can't yet decide to have them open or closed!)

Fox needle felt by Val's Art Studio (Sold)

From there, my design evolved into a sort of birdhouse cuckoo clock built from felted wool scraps out of my overflowing scrap bin. Heck, I have to do something with all those luscious feltie woolie bits! I cut and "pasted" but not in photoshop... with scissors, glue and thread. I love every minute of creating art in this manner :o)

After this assemblage was finished, I needle felted the birds in place, stitched some details, added a couple of dried flower buds to act as the pinecone weights, and then was finally ready to negotiate with my Photoshop skills. Yep. I negotiate. Sitting near me while I navigate photoshop is an exercise in using earplugs!

Here's the before and after. I'm not sure if there's a tremendous difference, but I worked on it for at least a day...

Finally, I created the background, a simple logo, and uploaded it to the gallery. Tomorrow, you can see it live on Lilla Roger's website. It will be in the company of crazy pants talented artists and illustrators. I am so ex-cited!!!

" Hello There!" MATS Bootcamp submission by Val Hebert

Thanks for visiting!
x, Val

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hoops 101

I love to show off the beautiful work from my talented students. These fun hoops were from Sunday's Heartfelt Hoop class. Unfortunately, students left before we could get all the hoops photographed. But a few fun hoops are better than none, right?! Thank you students friends, for the creative time together, and for brightening my art world in a very big way!

x, Val

Monday, February 10, 2014


Hello there! Meet Jackson. He is a very sweet and handsome kitty. 

Jackson's "people" (aka owners) recently got married, but were sad Jackson couldn't be a part of their special ceremony. Fortunately, I was very happy that I could offer a possible solution. 

Jackson is really a good poser. He sat nicely for a photo portrait. Then I needle felted his likeness onto a upcycled felted wool canvas (matching the colors in the couple's living room rug, I might add :o), and made it into a special wedding pillow. The pillow was used during the wedding to carry the couple's rings. 

Now, Jackson is very content to pose alongside his namesake buddy. They're like twins :o)

Very handsome twins. Do you agree??!

If you would like a needle felted portrait of your special buddy, please visit this link by clicking here.

If you would like to see how I create this type of pet portrait with needle felting, please click here.

x, Val

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New classes!!!

YAY! New classes are always so exciting for me to announce! All classes are taught at Paper Tales, in Point Loma, located near the intersection of I-8 and I-5 freeways. So simple to find! Call 619-222-2510 to sign up for a class. We will have sooo much fun, and hope you can join in :o)

Class #1: Valentine "Be Mine" Hoop Class - Sewing with 3-D Felted Wool 
Just in time for a Handmade Valentine!

Feb 9,  1- 3:30pm - $38.00 includes all materials to make this project. 

Class Description: Learn embroidery and no-machine sewing skills while you create the most unique and heartfelt Valentine. We will create a lovely handmade Valentine that is suitable for gifting or keeping for yourself to bring just the right amount of cheer into your home, So, so sweet! We will be creating a collage of 3-D felted wool that you will sew in place, and embellish with found objects. Finally, you will "frame" your gorgeous art in an embroidery hoop, and it will be ready for display at the end of this class!

Class #2: Rainbow Art Feather Hoop Class - Introduction to Flat Needle Felting 

March 22, 3-5:30 pm - $35.00 includes all materials to make this project.  *Needle felting tools are NOT included, but are available for a discounted price on the day of the class.

Class Description: Learn basic flat needle felting, embroidery and no-machine sewing skills while you create this beautiful feather framed in an embroidery hoop. Needle felting is using special barbed needles to attach two natural fiber elements together, essentially "painting" with fiber. In this introduction to needle felting class, you will learn the basics of needle felting, and will be using simple embroidery techniques to embellish your fiber painting. Finally, you will "frame" your gorgeous art in an embroidery hoop, and it will be ready for display at the end of this class!

Class #3: Needle Felted Bunny in a Box - An Introduction to 3-D Needle Felting

April 5, 2-6 pm - $65.00 includes felt materials to make this project. *Needle felting tools are NOT included, but are available for a discounted price on the day of the class. 

Class Description: Learn advanced 3-D needle felting skills while you create the most irresistible bunny ever, and just in time for Easter! Needle felting is using special barbed needles to sculpt wool fiber into shapes. In this class, you will learn how to make a solid wool sculpture, and then make a felt box in which you can pose your bunny. 


You do not need to have previous needle felting or embroidery skills to take my classes, but if you have not needle felted before, an extra measure of patience will be needed on your end. I will help you, so please do not worry!

- Warning: needle felting is enjoyable and relaxing. Be prepared to become addicted!!

- Suppliesclass fee includes one kit to make the class project, which includes the necessary materials, BUT DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY NEEDLE FELTING TOOLS. You will need to bring (or purchase) a set of Clover brand Fine needle felting needles, a foam felting mat, and (optional) a Clover brand "pink pen" style needle felting tool which holds 3 needles. Remember, tools may be purchased on the day of the class for a discount. You will need to bring a small pair of scissors and may also want to bring a pair of "cheater" style glasses if you need them, as we always work "small" in my classes!

- Come to have fun! We always do :o)

I can't wait to see you at an upcoming class very soon!

x, Val

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cutes alive and well

Yep, thank goodness! The cutes are alive and well, and continue to run rampant through my studio! 

Snow Friend with Leg Warmers by Val's Art Studio

Hunny Bunny in a Wee Box by Val's Art Studio
Hunny Bunny in a Wee Box will be an upcoming class. Don't worry if you are on my class list and haven't heard from me lately. I am just in the class creating mode still, and will rope down those dates! As soon as they are set, I will send out a newsletter. Please hold tight!

Now as far as my work space goes, you can see here that I am focused on a few other more mundane tasks than creating the Cutes. Have no fear, every so often, I  * m u s t  s t o p * and get back to creating the Cutes. These sweet objects help my imaginative life to flourish when my mundane life takes center stage. Don't you know how true that is!

x, Val

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy new year, happy twenty fourteen!

Happy New Year to you and yours!!! How has 2014 been treating you so far? I hope you have eased into the new year with grace, promise, and prosperity!

My new year started off just right with some of my work featured in the latest Sew Somerset issue, front and center! I was contacted mid last year by the publisher, who found my special needle felted pillows in my Etsy shop. Several had already sold, but I recreated the ones I could, and made a few new ones too. I was thrilled to learn they put all of them into this beautiful magazine. 

Sew Somerset Winter 2013-14

My bird pillows have been some of the most popular items I have created. They are like movable room art, happily sitting on a guest room bed, living room chair, in a bookshelf niche, anywhere! Each one is one of a kind, completely unique. I start with felted wool from recycled sweaters, patchwork them together, then needle felt an irresistible bird to the cover. Then I sew them into a beautiful pillow. I put so much love and care into each one. An X and an O from me to you :o)

Check your local Barnes and Noble, JoAnn Craft store, or specialty book store to get your copy. There are plenty of other fantastic projects in this issue besides yours truly...

Here's to a great beginning to 2014!

x, Val

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Wooly-days!

Things are always so busy this time of year that the days just *poof* disappear faster than a swirl of blowing snow! I hope you are enjoying these magical days, and for you, they are filled with delight. I offer you up a holiday wish filled with some wooly love during this season, today, and always!

I have finished up my show season for 2013. Now it's time to buckle down and complete those holiday orders. Oh man, I have to stay focused! Many dog pillows, but a couple of bird pillows too. Now those will be easy!

With love,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Winter class (Finally!)

I will admit it, I'm always a bit late to the party…  We "Crafter People", (ie ME), are supposed to get those holiday project ideas knocked out in, say, May. I will admit here and now that my mind does not do Christmas in May! It doesn't even do Christmas in September OR October. Apparently, my crafter brain doesn't really get into the Christmas swing until mid-November. Sheesh...

Snow Happy Hoop Art by Val's Art Studio

Well, I finally get a bright idea, then put it in motion, and when it's all done, it's obviously time to re-evaluate. This snowman hoop (above) as a class project will take any novice oh... about 16 hours to complete. So, it's back to the drawing board. How about plan B? I think we can manage this one in about a 2-3 hour window:
Snowfriends Hoop Art by Val's Art Studio
This fun Holiday Snow Happy Hoop class will be offered at Paper Tales on Dec 15 from 2-5pm. Call over to sign up... 619-222-2510

x, Val