Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another successful landscape class

I taught my landscape class at the home/studio of my friend Linda Van Alstyne this past weekend. It was a wonderful experience. I love Linda and envy her energy and enthusiasm. She is an incredibly talented artist and has been making felt for a long time. I have enjoyed her hospitality on other occasions and as always my stay at her house was a real treat. Her husband is a gourmet cook (I actually ate brussels sprouts and really liked them) and he took care of all of our meals so that we could just concentrate on the class and talking felt. What a sweet heart!
I thought the class went well. Everyone seemed to be having fun and they made some beautiful pieces. Here are the layouts.

The wet felt.

Here are the ladies working and having fun.

Robin doing some needling. 

 One of the criticisms about this class is that there is not enough time for the needle felting. It takes me several days to finish one of my felt landscapes so it is not surprising that students can not finish their pieces in two days. I am working on solutions to this problem. Here are the pieces at the end of class. I hope that those who did not finish will keep working on their pieces since they all came out lovely.

Linda did more needle felting on the piece that she had started in my class last year.

When I got home I worked on felting a commissioned table runner for a woman that I met at the opening for the Granby Land Trust art show. The customer wanted a piece that was based  on a felt done by Anna Moberly, whom I know from the guild. Anna had been given the commission first but she got too busy to make the runner. I contacted Anna to make sure that she didn't mind my using her design. The runner is really not my style of art but I enjoyed playing with the technique of embedding things in the felt.  It is supposed to be reminiscent of a river or stream in winter.
Here are the samples...
and the finished runner...which I delivered in time for the holiday. The woman was pleased enough to ask for place mats...without the stones of course.

And to top it all she gave a home to my rooster!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Betty the burlesque beauty

Presenting the sad story of Betty the burlesque beauty. Betty has fallen on hard times lately. Like many jobless Americans she is looking for a way to make some money. Betty is considering returning to the stage, after an absence of many years. Betty had been a beauty in her day. Unfortunately after all the booze she has consumed though the years she is rather out of touch with reality. She has no idea of how  hideous and creepy she has the years have been to her.
During a get together with her old friend Olivia, Betty excitedly shares her latest idea. She is going to make a fortune with her comeback performances.

 Olivia has been trying to convince her that her 'entertaining' days are over. She gets frustrated that Betty will not face the fact that her smoking and boozing have contributed to her present difficulty.

Sadly Betty ignores Olivia's advice and goes to audition at the local dive club theater. She sings and dances her little heart out.

Her singing is so bad the directors have to plug their ears.

They quickly tell her to STOP!

As a last ditch effort to save her old friend, Olivia arranges for an intervention, asking Betty's estranged family to attend. Unfortunately the discussion quickly became a shouting match and ended badly.

Olivia did not see her friend after that.  Tragically Betty's life went from bad to worse. Her appearance in the documentary "Lives of the Poor and Homeless" was the last anyone saw of her.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Last week was spent on more felt business. I had to finish stitching the backing on the large underwater piece and get it ready to hang. I was submitting it to a juried fiber art show in West Hartford. The show is titled 'Out of the Loop' and is put on by the West Hartford Art League. It was stressful for a few reasons; driving down toward Hartford and getting lost for an hour being just two of them. I am happy to be able to say that my work was accepted along with the work of three of my good friends from the Northeast Feltmakers Guild. Go Felters!! I am also still working at getting the four pieces that are going to be in the Wesleyan Potters annual show and sale ready for exhibit. I find that I can not attend to that boring finish work for very long. I also am good at procrastinating at things like that when I think I have plenty of time. I am a bit more motivated since last week though. I added to my own stress because what I thought was plenty of time to finish sewing the backing was not. After I finished sewing I hung the piece and it no longer hung flat. I wound up finishing the sewing at the gallery. How unprofessional is that! Ah and hopefully learn.

I was able to recoup during my weekend visit with Joei. We did more flowers for the guild on Friday while we discussed what to make on Saturday. We decided on slipper/shoes. Mine are the blue gray ones.

My shoes are made with a combination of short fiber merino, pelsul, and C1 so I hope they will be durable. I am going to try to put some soles on them...I have a shoe repair man in the family :)
While we were working on our shoes we also washed two fleeces.

The grey fleece is from Whippet, an icelandic lamb. Joei and I bought the fleece at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. The camel colored fleece is a merino moorit that Joei kindly shared with me. The grease had started to dry on the fibers so it is still a bit sticky but I felted a tiny bit and it made a wonderful felt. Now I am pondering what to use them for.
On Sunday I made the background felt for this piece so it is ready to hang in the Potter's show.

I also fulled a piece of a prefelt that I had made earlier to see how it will look when/if I finally use it to make the image that it is intended for.

And I worked some on fulling this head that I had started at home.

I love the way his eyes glow in this shot.

I took this shot to show how sculpted his face is. I used mostly Romney which is always a bit spongy and did not shrink as much as my other heads.

I put wire in his arms so they can be posed. He reminds me of a Wallace and Gromit character.

Finally I am happy to be able to say that at the opening of the Granby Land Trust Art Show last night I won one of the top awards....the Granby Land Trust Award. I also sold the piece and got a possible commission. I am proud of myself.