My work is featured in Be Creative with Workbox Magazine’s latest issue!

Be Creative with Workbox is a magazine that features inspiring textile art and needlecraft, and I am honored to be one of the featured artists in their latest issue! They selected my needle felted humpback whale that I created earlier this year. This particular whale was one of my favorites to date because of all of his coloration and texture.

This magazine is full of beautiful artwork and fun tutorials, and the folks at Be Creative have been so kind as to share a special offer for all of you!

Right now, you can subscribe for only £12.49 for 3 months and get the current issue for FREE! Here is the link:

Needle Felting vs. Wet Felting

One of the most common questions I get when I’m working in our store or exhibiting at a craft show is “What is felting?” And usually, since needle felting is what I primarily practice, I’ll go right into how that works. If there is time, I’ll mention wet felting too, but sometimes I forget, or I fear I may overwhelm some folks with too much information. But wet felting and needle felting are both such unique, accessible, and rewarding processes. And interestingly, they use the same materials, yet they can yield either very similar or completely different finished results! So for those of you who are curious, here is a breakdown of the difference between needle felting and wet felting:

Needle Felting is the process of interlocking fibers (usually wool, though other natural fibers can be felted as well) through a repeated stabbing motion with the use of a special barbed needle. The surfaces of wool fibers are covered with tiny, overlapping scales. A felted needle is designed with tiny barbs along the sides of its tapered point. When the felting needle is pushed into the wool, the scales on the wool fibers get caught on the barbs. When this action is repeated, the fibers tangle and mat together, forming felt, and allowing different areas of the wool to be pushed in and sculpted. Additional pieces of wool can be added to build bulk, or in smaller amounts for details such as eyes or animal patterns. This is a detail image of a needle felted humpback whale:

needle felted humpback whale

Wet Felting is a process that involves soap, water, wool, and the friction and pressure of your hands (or sometimes a textured surface like bubblewrap or a bamboo sushi mat) to create felt. The soap and water act together to lubricate and open up the fibers so that they can more easily catch onto each other and become matted and tangled together. The movement of one’s hands and/or a textured surface against the soapy wet wool creates agitation, helping to push the fibers together. Wet felting can be used to create three-dimensional objects, like these geodes:

or flatter pieces such as garments or these flowers:

I hope you find this information helpful, and if you’re interested in learning either of these processes, please have a look at my Workshops. I offer classes for both wet felting and needle felting, for adults and youth!

Ready, Set, Go – Art Show

Are you an artist? This is your chance to be a part of Grey Fox Mercantile’s first exhibition during our grand opening!

This is a new reward level for our Kickstarter campaign: Anyone who pledges at the $15 level will be able to enter one work of art.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/535379658/were-opening-a-store?ref=creator_nav

//Exhibition Details//
Kickstarter Registration Deadline: February 22
Drop Off Dates: March 11 – March 16 (10am – 6pm)
Shipped work must be received by: March 16
Exhibition dates: March 23 – April 26
Reception during our grand opening: Saturday, March 23 (4pm – 6pm)

Commission for sold work: Artist (60%) Mercantile (40%)

Only 2D and wall based works.
All work must be framed and ready to hang with wire or sawtooth hanger.
Open to all media.
All work must be for sale.
24″ maximum size (including frame).
Artist is responsible for transportation to and from Grey Fox Mercantile.

1 work of art per artist.

Registration and pick up details will follow with the close of the Kickstarter campaign.

Mercantile Kickstarter

Grey Fox Mercantile: Opening March 2019! 

After running Grey Fox Felting, we’ve decided to expand our business into Grey Fox Mercantile, our first brick and mortar storefront! We’ve located a perfect place, signed the lease and started working on the 700 square feet that will become our retail and workshop space. In this space, we plan to offer our full in-house line of felting kits and original felted animal sculptures, the beautiful selection of felting wool in virtually every color imaginable that you’ve come to know through our online presence, as well as a curated selection of handmade goods by artisans we love. We will host free craft nights for the community, and we will offer workshops and fiber arts-based birthday/special occasion parties for guests of all ages. We’re launching a Kickstarter funding campaign to ask for your help in transforming our space to fit these needs and make it a truly unique place to learn about fiber arts and find beautiful artisan goods. 

Please help su out by backing our project on our Kickstarter page.

We’re Opening a Store!!!

After running Grey Fox Felting for four years, I’ve decided to expand my business into Grey Fox Mercantile, a collaboration between my husband and me, and our first brick and mortar storefront! We’ve located a perfect location in our hometown of New Hartford, NY, we’ve signed the lease, and we’ve started working on the 700 square feet that will become our retail and workshop space.

a peek at our future retail and workshop space!

In this space, we plan to offer our full in-house line of felting kits and original felted animal sculptures, the beautiful selection of felting wool in virtually every color imaginable that you’ve come to know through our online presence, as well as a curated selection of handmade goods by artisans we love. We will host free craft nights for the community, and we will offer workshops and fiber arts-based birthday/special occasion parties for guests of all ages. We’re working really hard to transform this space to make it a truly unique place to learn about fiber arts and find beautiful artisan goods.

We’re planning to open this spring, and we can’t wait to welcome you! If you’d like to follow along on our progress, you can find us on Instagram @greyfoxmercantile and @greyfoxfelting

Shimmering Starling, Opalescent Roving

Want to add an opalescent, shimmering look to your needle felted (or wet felted) projects using only wool? If you’ve ever wanted to capture the metallic appearance of a peacock, a swallow, a starling, or perhaps a fish using wool, then I have a selection of wool roving colors I think you’ll love working with!

While most of the wool roving in my shop has a variegated or heathered appearance, each color is usually made up of other similar colors in nearby hues or color families. For example, Pink Grapefruit is a color which overall appears coral pink, but is actually made up of pink, orange, peach, and yellow fibers.

The quality about the opalescent or metallic colors that makes them special is that from a distance they contain enough of one hue to appear as the color they are named as; but upon closer inspection, they are actually made up of a virtual rainbow of fibers from very different color families. For now, I’m going to focus on the two of these colors that I used to make this starling portrait. But I’ll provide links to the other ones as well so you can check them out for yourself!

For this starling, I used Licorice Snap wool roving over the entire head, and then I layered Blue Goldstone wool roving over the front portion of the head where the face is. I then applied the starry dots and dashes in Warm White and Celadon green.

Wool Roving for Needle Felting in Blue Goldstone, Dark Blue, Midnight Blue, Wet Felting, Spinning, Chunky Yarn, Fiber Art Supply, DIY

Here is the Blue Goldstone roving alone. As you can see, it has an overall appearance of a midnight blue, but is actually made up of many different colors including several shades of blue, a couple of greens, yellow, and purple. This opalescent midnight blue would also look lovely as part of felted celestial or night sky piece…

And here is Licorice Snap, a beautiful rainbow black. This roving has black as its main component, and then contains a range of hues similar to the Blue Goldstone. It’s a really lovely alternative to a black or charcoal when you want a bit of shimmer or extra depth in your felted surface.

As promised, here are the other opalescent colors I offer: Moonstone, Autumn Jasper, River Stone, and Brown Opal. The Moonstone is another favorite of mine, but I’ll share more about that another time!

Happy crafting, friends!

 

The Perfect Color for your Needle Felted Fox

“What color of wool would you recommend for making needle felted foxes?”

Customers often come to me with questions such as this one, and I love helping them find the perfect wool roving and batting colors to fit their unique felting projects! One of the reasons I’ve selected the wool roving and batting I sell in my shop is because these preparations of wool have beautiful variegated colors that give the appearance of having blended two or more colors together when it is really just one color! This gives the finished felted surface a wonderfully rich depth.

Since the wool I offer in my shop is the very same wool I use in my own needle felting practice, I’ve sampled nearly every roving and batting. And even when I don’t have the exact color match on hand, I love taking the opportunity to blend some colors to get the perfect tone. My formal training is in painting, so this love of experimenting and layering with color is something I have taken with me and continue to use and share with my customers.

But sometimes, I do have just the right color on hand. For example, when I get the question about the perfect color for a fox (which, of course, happens all the time, because who doesn’t love foxes?), I always recommend the color you see in the photos above, Amber wool batting. This is one of my favorite colors, and has a beautiful autumnal warmth with its harmony of yellow, orange, rust, and brown.

 

My Needle Felting Process

I often get questions about how my needle felted animals are built. Are they made from just a single piece of wool? Do I put many pieces together? Is there wire or support inside them? How do I add the flowers on their surfaces?

So, I decided to share some progress photos and steps of a recent project that I did, a needle felted black swan with flannel flowers. Below is how all of my projects begin; I start out with some wool roving or batting, felting needles in a variety of sizes, and a foam pad for support.

My needle felted sculptures are made out of solid wool. I don’t use wire or any other supports inside my sculptures unless a customer requests that they be posable. I build up different parts of the animal body in separate pieces. Below you can see the bulk of this swan’s body. The head and neck were made separately and then attached. You can also see a couple of pieces of a wing waiting to be attached.

In this photo, I have already added the beak and eyes to the head with small bits of orang and peach colored wool, and I am now attaching one of the completed wings to the body. Pieces are attached by placing one piece of wool over another, and making repeated jabs with the felting needle. There are tiny barbs on the needles that catch on the wool fibers and cause them to interlock so that these two pieces of wool are now stuck together.

Flowers and other felted details are attached in the same manner, just with smaller bits of wool.

And here is the completed needle felted black swan with her flowers. She is 100% wool; and while she is very lightweight, she is fairly firm to the touch. It’s important to me that my needle felted soft sculptures hold up over time, so I work very hard to tuck in stray fibers and create a smooth, uniform surface with my fine felting needle towards the end of the felting process.

Thank you for stopping by!

The Story of the Black Swan

A Story from Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime

All swans were once white until the day when two swans landed on a lagoon inhabited by eagles at the foot of a mountain. The eagles were angered by this intrusion, and proceeded to pick up the swans, carrying them all the way to the southern coast of Australia. In flight, the eagles pulled the swans’ feathers out, dropping them along the way. After being released from the eagles’ grasp, the wounded swans were found by some crows who kindly offered them some of their black feathers so that they should stay warm and soon be able to fly once again. Their former white feathers later sprouted from between the rocks where they had been dropped as delicate flannel flowers.

Needle Felting Kits are Here!

I am so excited to announce the launch of my first Needle Felting Kit!!! This is the first in a line of kits I am designing for those who wish to learn the craft of needle felting.

In the first of my beginner level kits, you are provided with everything you will need to make your own felted bee, including a full color instructional booklet with clear step-by-step instructions and over 45 photos.

This is a wonderful, fun introduction to a craft that is both relaxing and rewarding. I hope you’ll try it!

 

 

How to separate a length of roving

If you are using batting, simply tear off the amount of wool you wish to use for your project. The wool fibers in roving however, are more aligned and can be somewhat long depending on the type of wool from which it is made. Therefore, when you try to simply pull off a section of the roving, it may put up some resistance. But fear not! There is a simple trick:

Measure the length of roving you wish to use.

Then, with your hands 3” – 4” apart, firmly grasp the roving so that the point you’ll be tearing from is in the center.

Holding onto the wool, slowly pull your hands apart, allowing the fibers of the roving to gently separate.

Wondering about the difference between wool batting and wool roving?

Wondering about the difference between batting and roving? Here is a brief breakdown of these two types of wool with emphasis on their uses for needle felting:


Batting (also known as batts or fleece) and roving have both been pulled through carding machines which comb and align the fibers to some degree. But with batting, the wool comes off the machine in thin sheets which are layered to form thicker fluffy sheets. The layering results in a textured wool where the fibers are no longer aligned, making it perfect for needle felting as it felts up very quickly. Roving, on the other hand, is processed one step further and pulled off the machine in ropes where the fibers are mostly aligned. Though the fibers are more aligned, this form of wool still retains the wool’s natural crimp, making it another excellent choice for needle felting.