Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beginning the Folk Art Design Process

Sheet wool felt and pillow back fabrics in my studio.
Sometimes I begin the process of designing a new folk art item by sketching at the park or while visiting the Botanic Gardens in Denver. Sometimes I am inspired to create a bird needle felt after seeing an episode of Wild America or National Geographic on television. Today I began the folk art process by looking at my supply of felt and fabric in my studio.

I am motivated by the feel of fabric. When I was 16 years old, I worked as the sample sewer at our local fabric store. They would hand me a pattern and fabric and tell me what they wanted sewn. They had a little sewing corner in that store and I would love sitting back there making their pattern sample! But mostly I loved walking around that store and touching all the textures of fabric that they sold. Nubby wool and slick silk, the softest fleece and the stiffest denims; I loved them all!

In my studio today I was mostly inspired by the colors of my wool sheeting supplies. I order often from the nice people at Prairie Point Junction in Cozad, Nebraska. From them I can buy 90 colors of wool felt in sheets or yardage. Once I ordered their Wool Felt Sample Pack which included a 6"x9" swatch of all 90 wool colors! What a treat to play with a huge color variety---now that really did get my creative juices flowing!

I am working today on a series of pillows that I will embroider on my lovely Bernina sewing machine, instead of embroidering by hand. It feels kind of naughty saying I will make something without complete hand work! As I practice making machine blanket stitches, I realize that I am much better doing that stitch by hand, but the machine results are starting to look pretty darn good! Using my machine, I can create 3 pillows in the time I normally spend making 1 using handwork. If I can make the machine-sewn designs look good enough, I will be able to charge less for each pillow, and I hope that will make my folk art attainable to a new group of folk-art lovers.

The bottom line for me is that I am so happy when one of my items is sold and I can mail it to a specific person who is excited to receive it. The energy there is one of the most satisfying parts of my life as an artist.

Well, I'm off to the studio again. I came upstairs for another cup of coffee, and before I knew it, I was chatting with all of you! Thanks for stopping by,

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