Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Maintaining My Creative Sanity and the Introduction of Feltware

Well. I've been making my current line of work for about 4 years now. I still get excited when my kiln is finally cool enough for me to peek inside. It still feels like Christmas when I finally get to unload it. And, I am still learning when it comes to my decoration, glaze application, throwing, trimming, and even my slab work. I've done my best to add some new pieces ever six months or so, but despite all my efforts, I absolutely fear the inevitable boredom that comes from doing repetitive work. I know its coming, and I dread its arrival.

Last year, I finally decided to get serious about this looming issue (Okay, LATE last year!). I am now making a conscious effort to work on NEW pieces. The year began with me adding a glaze test to at least one kiln load a week. Since I don't have a lot of 'extra' time for playing, this snail's pace turned out to be as fast as I needed to go. With glazes coming out of the kiln, ideas began to swirl, and after following several paths for a brief while, I've narrowed it down to a new line that I'm going to explore.

I call it Feltware.

I fell in love with knitting about 7 years ago when I moved back to Ontario from B.C. It gave my hands something to do during the week when I couldn't be in my studio. Once I got to be in the studio full time, however, my hands just couldn't muster up the strength to knit in the evenings. But I still found myself drawn to wool as a material.

Enter: felting.

MUCH easier on the hands. And results come a lot faster than just knitting. I started felting about the same time I started trying out the new glaze tests. The ideas merged and this is the results:

The bands of felt are actually felted right to these cups. They make a perfect barrier against the heat from a hot cup of tea or the freezing cold from a tall pint of beer. And they are just the beginning. I have some ideas of where I want to take the shapes, and of other forms that I could apply this technique to. I'm super excited!

Once I found my direction, branching into another line of work was not as daunting as I thought it would be. But like I just said, ONCE I found my path. Ask any artist and they will probably tell you they have more ideas than they know what to do with. So narrowing them down, to accommodate limited time can be a challenge, to say the least.

I'm happy with where I'm going with this work. There's a LOT of potential here for me. And while I can only move at a snail's pace in terms of making work different from my main line, I now have a direction to go in. And with that direction comes the motivation to MAKE that time.

Watch my etsy shop, I'll be posting these soon!


  1. Such a great creative and beautiful idea!!

  2. I love your work. These are amazing pieces, I'll look forward to seeing where your creativity takes you! --Madeleine

  3. Fan-felt-astic!! I love your current work, but can't wait to see where you go with this!

  4. I adore the way those cups look, but I'm left wondering how to wash them.

    Oh, and I LOVE that gray glaze.

  5. Washing them was on my mind too...

    hand wash, warm soapy water. Make sure to rinse out all the soap, pat dry. The felting process actually takes place IN warm soapy water, so washing them will only improve the felt!
    Just don't put them in the dishwasher, wouldn't want bits of food stuck in there! ewwww!

  6. WOW- that is so original! And they look great, too.