Friday, May 29, 2009

Needle Felting: Almost, but not Quite As Detailed as a Painting

It's all in the Details, or lack thereof...

I tried to (calmly) explain this to my husband when he said the dog had rectangular patches on either side of his mouth. I replied that if they wanted to see every detail, they might have commissioned me to paint a painting instead of whipping up the dog in needle felt on boiled wool.

(Okay, that probably wasn't very nice... I am really sorry Greg. The truth is that your opinions are the ones I appreciate above all others.... Sheesh, he NEVER reads my blog, so this apology is just vanishing into thin air.) Poof!

Luckily, one can only get so detailed before one
might actually drive themself crazy.... Well, the truth of the matter is that the client loved, loved, loved the finished wall hanging, and so did I. Pity I finished it up a bit last minute, for I had so little time to live with it and really enjoy it. Pity too, that I only took a few photos, and discovered after the pick up, that my photos pretty much suck...blurry and bad :o( Well, the close ups are okay, but the one that counts is generally pretty dang bad. Teach me to wait until the proverbial last minute...

So, this is where I want to talk a little bit about
the detailed needle felting process. So many people ask me how I accomplish this. Two things seem to take place in my brain when I needle felt. First, there's the fact that I have always been a pretty decent painter. This isn't something I planned, it's just something I was born with. I have the ability to look at something, really study it, and break up the details into plains of value and color. Along with being a painter, I'm also pretty good at making the color I want to achieve. Lots and lots of mixing color in oil painting class honed this skill. Then, there's the added pleasure and pure joy of working with wool. I love the process of felting the wool, and deciding what the wool is to "do", how to repurpose it into a new item of clothing, a purse, or a pillow, wall hanging, etc. The colors of the wool guide me too. I really am just the vehicle in this process. It somehow all comes together without too much effort on my part. 

The important part of the needle felting is the details of laying the roving (wool fiber before it's spun into yarn) onto the boiled wool and needling it where you want it to go. The needles really do most of the work for you. Felting needles are barbed, very sharp... beware of stabbing yourself, it really hurts! I use three types of needle felting needles. A single needle for detail work, a 4 needle holder for larger area work, and a big needle holder (6-8 needles) for large areas I want to set up quickly, or to finish up the design and set up any stray fibers.

"Painting with wool" is how I refer to my needle feltings, and I feel that this is really what I do. Sometimes I take the roving and pull several colors together to get the desired shade, pulling over and over (like carding) until all the colors are nicely mixed into a new hue. Sometimes I lay down a base color, and layer thin fluffs of a lighter or darker color over to change the value of the color, similar to what you'd do in oil or acrylic painting. Then, when I feel like I'm pretty done with it, I either ask my family how it looks, or sometimes, I receive those 'get-without-asking' comments (like Greg's). I try not to be defensive, after all, I did ask. I think it's always important to have the feedback, that is, if I can take it.

So there you have it. All about flat needle felting. Probably more than you really wanted to know. Now go try for yourself. It's actually quite fun, plus, you can really work out your tensions with all that stabbing.  :o)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Birdie Philosophy 101

"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. "
~Chinese Proverb

What is it about me and the singing birds? Maybe it means I have a green tree growing in my heart. Let's hope a branch doesn't grow out of my ear anytime soon! In any case, I still can't keep myself from being all about the singing birds, so I am announcing here and now for all the world to witness; First and Foremost, I Am and Always Will Be In Love With Singing Birds. There. Now I feel better. No more apologies, no more excuses. We will just all have to accept that I will forever have a singing bird in my heart.

What about your heart? Do you have a green tree there? Is there a measure of singing going on for you? I sure hope so. :o)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Market Invitation


Coming Soon.... Sunday, June 7th
1:30 - 6:00 pm
1110 Coronado Ave.
Coronado, CA
A special weekend with some very talented artisans at the
lovely Coronado Beach Home of Jane Pollock.
This beautiful event benefits Jane's Charity,"Art Takes A Village"
You will be able to shop for antiques and handmade artisan
pieces within the setting of this lovely Coronado beach
front home. Bring a friend to socialize, shop and enjoy
a wonderful afternoon.
Vendor sale organized with love by
Deb Hodge of Breathing Besides Us
Contact me for directions, or more information.
I'm venturing into new artsy areas here in
Val's Art Studio, and can't wait for you to see it all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Purses


(Well, they're traveling together, it's  
sisterhood, right?)

The purses have left the building. They are boxed and shipped, and should have arrived in Laguna today, where they will be scrutinized by the discriminating people at Haute Handbags, a Somerset Publication. Let's hope they are approved and selected for the Fall publication. Personally, I have a good feeling about this, HOWEVER, I am nervous about the jinxing aspect of even talking about this here... in a public place. So, we'll just keep it quiet. This is just a tiny leak of the action which will, hopefully, be happening in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Promised The Girls...

So here it is!
I told the girls who were learning to Needle Felt at Paper Tales that I would post a picture of my latest wall hanging. As you can see, I am still all about birdies and roses. Will I ever be onto anything else? Somehow, I think not, since I've always been completely transfixed by these two. Oh, yes, and clouds too. Well, we just do what we know and love best. Perhaps I can coax myself just a wee bit, and venture into the world of hedgehogs and mushrooms. That might be pretty cute too. What do you think?

Birdies Nesting At Paper Tales

We had so much fun at Paper Tales for the first ever Needle Felting Class taught there (by me, yours truly :o). We crafted beautiful birdies sitting on their eggs in a nest. It was a special day for this class, being right before Mother's Day. I thought it a sweet gesture that several girls wanted to give their hard work as gifts to their own Moms. Now that's a true gift from the heart. Especially since these were 4+ hour birdies! Look at their finished projects. 
Cristina's sweet new friend
Lisa K.'s super sized birdie was all the rage once she finished
Here's Jennifer's bluebird. Aren't they pretty together?!
Lisa S's birdie was so beautiful

Me, I worked out a new birdie too. She'll show up at Austin's Gallery after she's had a little time perched where I can see her every day. Everyone needs some sweet birdie happiness to adorn their day.

Our next Needle felting class has been set for June 13th at 2:00. This one will be a wonderful felted bear. Call over to Paper Tales to sign up. You won't want to miss out learning this wonderful craft. Don't worry, I'll bring the bandaids!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Needle Felting Class This Saturday


Attention all you wanna be needle felters! I will be teaching my first ever needle felting class this Saturday at Paper Tales in Pt Loma. You can finally learn the 3-D needle felting guidelines you have been yearning to learn. We will make a sweet birdie sitting upon a nest. (You can even add a few eggs if you are the realistic sort). This is a basic class, suited for a beginning needle felter. Just call over to Paper Tales to enroll; 619-222-2510. All materials are included in the cost of the class, and you will go home with the supplies you need to continue your needle felting artistry. Can't wait to see you on Saturday! Maybe bring a band-aid or two ;o) 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pressing On In Times of Weary


 "Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far one can go."
~ T.S. Elliot

I read a great and inspiring post this morning from Follow My Bliss. Just had to post some wondering sentiments that we are all faced with at one time or another. Thanks, Barb!

And thanks to you for all your support and comfort during my busy, harried week of late. (last week :o) I managed to keep it all together, and not come down with the Swine Flu, which I was certain I had last Thursday. Luckily, a couple of zinc tabs and a few extra hours with my head on the pillow did me a world of good. And, look! I made it through! Now, bear with me as I thank some really special someones:
Judy of judipatudi (no internet link, Judy!) We amazed and wowed them at Vista Hill's Barbie: 50 and Fabulous fashion show and sale. We had so much fun showing our kids creations made from upcycled wool sweaters. Judy's shifts with matching Barbie outfits were a big hit. We were the stars, front and center, with a great view to all the fashion action taking place. It was a great day. Judy and I make a great team. Look for us a similar events soon. Maybe OUR clothes will grace a fashion show one day soon!

The Coronado Historic Association put on their wonderful Home Tour on Sunday. Thanks to Susan Keith and Emily Talbert who did amazing jobs as co-chairs. Sadly, this is to be their last year running this very special event for the City of Coronado. The showcase features old historic homes, and what a treat it is to be able to walk through the front door and tour these amazing old homes. All the homes were so beautiful, and unique. The highlight for me was the incredible Cliff May, as well as meeting it's gracious owners. They welcomed me into their home and garden as one of three Home Tour Artists doing onsite painting demonstrations. The Cliff May home was to be "my" painting location. I was blessed with this special space, covered loggia, and location. I was able to create several unique paintings, all of which sold, and one sold twice (oops). I am planning a donation to the Coronado Historical Association with a portion of the proceeds from my sales. "Thank you!" to everyone who helped make this such a special day!