February 19, 2009

This is my first attempt at blogging. For a person who enjoys her privacy, it is a bit awkward to be jotting down notes for everyone to see. But, I have been assured, that if I really want to enlighten everyone’s life with artfelt®, then blogging is what I must do.

From award winning artist to this:
I have always been a very creative person. Actually, I am an award-winning artist. Back in 6th grade I won a T-shirt contest for a radio station. I don’t really recall what the contest was for, only that I sewed the bottom of the t-shirt closed to create a handbag. I really don’t recall what I won either. However, I do remember that I won first place and my teacher congratulated me on being an award-winning artist. That was my first and last award for any form of art. But that has not stopped me from creating art.

First choice is always fiber arts:
Of all arts, fiber arts have always been at the top of my list. Sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting. Just about everything but spinning and weaving. I have yet to invest in a spinning wheel or a loom, but all other gadgets from sergers to knitting machines – I have at least a few. Of knitting needles, a few hundred! But most of my fiber toys have been gathering dust since I discovered artfelt®.

Where in the world did artfelt® come from?
So, what is artfelt® and how did it come about? Back in fall of ‘06, I was looking into importing roving for wet felting. I have a cousin in Germany, Almuth, who is a phenomenal wet felter and while visiting her back in 2002, she had inspired me with her work. I had dabbled in it a bit, and since fulling had become very popular in the United States, I figured wet felting would follow. In one package of sample roving from a gentleman named Gerhard Schoppel, came a piece of paper. Easyfelt Paper he called it. It was suppose to make the felting process easier. I had no instructions though, so it sat around my office for a few months. When I finally got the nerve to ask how to use the paper, I was told to simply tack the roving onto the paper with a barbed needle, get it wet, roll it up and put it in my dryer. I did as I was told. But, I wasn’t told to use plastic in the process, and as a result I had a big rolled piece of felt intertwined with paper. I tossed it out.

With a shipment several weeks later, came another piece of paper, this time with a few written instructions. And from there on, I was hooked. It started innocently enough with a very colorful scarf – which ended up being a bit stiff, so I called it a table runner. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was experimenting with different ways to use the paper and the roving on a nightly basis. I became thoroughly addicted. I knew that Mr. Schoppel had something special here with this paper, and when it was combined with his richly colored pencil roving, the results shook my world. Never could I have done things like this with wet felting. Or needle felting. Or fulling. At least not in the short amount of time it took me to make a project with the paper as a canvas.

This was an all-new way of felting that needed a new name.
Paper felting was the first thing that came to mind, but it sounded as if one was making paper, not fabric. Then I thought about art and craft terms. If used together, the words arts and crafts usually conjure up images of 5 year olds with a glue stick – so I wanted to keep the words art and crafts apart, yet somehow use them both. Technically, this new method of felting was a craft that created not necessarily just a utilitarian piece such as a purse or scarf, but it was a craft that was creating art. How to put that into a name was the question. Pardon the pun, but originally I was thinking along the lines of “art never felt so good” along with several other really corny, bad ideas. Then one special day, I misspelled something and art and felt ended up lumped together in my spell check. And there they have been ever since, together. Together forever.

artfelt®. A new way of felting.
The logo of the heart with the banner came afterwards. Everyone kept telling me that artfelt® sounded like heartfelt, so I questioned, what would be more warming than a heart in the logo? Of course the heart with the banner was inspired by one of my, or actually my only, favorite tattoo artist, Ed Hardy. I do not endorse tattoos, and I do not have any. And I shall never get one. I usually never say never, but a tattoo I can honestly say, I will never get. But please, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean I cannot admire and appreciate a well done tattoo. I just will never have one. But if I ever did get one, I would go straight to Ed Hardy.

So, here I am going on and on – not even writing about felting! But my younger and more intranet savvy employees assure me that is OK.

Back to the subject of felting. Now you know how artfelt® came into my life. It came on quickly and grabbed my attention and has not let go. I can honestly say that I am still in the honeymoon phase with it. Madly in love and lust with it and learning something new every day. I continuously try new things with the artfelt® method. Some work and I use them again. Others fail and I let them go. And still others fail of the original intent, but create something entirely new that is so inspiring that I can’t wait to fail in the same manner again.

Early on, actually immediately after dissolving the paper from my first piece (the scarf that turned into a table runner), I felt the need for an artfelt® book. Originally I found a publisher who was willing to work with me, but somewhere along the way, life happened and I was unable to make deadlines. So, I set the book on the back burner for a while. Recently, the flame was lit again. So now I am once again, in the process of writing the first book to be published on artfelt®. In order to make deadlines, I am creating my own; I am self publishing. In a way it’s cheating, because I can move deadlines whenever I choose. However, I have learned that the only person I am letting down if I miss a deadline, is myself.

I am very fortunate to have a very talented and inspiring crew in my office helping me out and cheering me on every step of the way. I also have a very understanding husband who doesn’t complain when the dryer buzzer rings every 15 minutes…even around midnight. And then there is my best friend Connie. Whenever I need an extra hand with anything, she is always there for me. I could not write this book with out any of them. I may be the face of the book, but they are the soul.

So, the rest of my blogging from here on out will follow the process of the making of the book – as well all the wonderful discoveries not only I make, but other artfelters are making.
I can’t promise to write every day – but I think if you check the blog weekly, you’ll find a few entries a week.
Until next time, tally ho!

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