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Felting with the Bird and Garden Club

posted Oct 21, 2015, 5:55 PM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Oct 21, 2015, 6:30 PM ]

A number of months ago, I was asked to be a guest artist and give a presentation to the local Bird and Garden Club. The Bird and Garden Club is a local organization that is focused on local environmental issues.  They have played an active role in our community, providing educational opportunities and assistance in events carried out by the town library, schools and local Historical Society.  .  

Yesterday I was able to meet with them.  It was a delightful time, which included some time teaching the rudimentary principles of felting. Usually, I teach felting to a much smaller group, and in a much more thorough way.  Here I am trying to assist 18 people at felting!  I gave them each a piece of pre-felt to put a picture on.  To aide them, we used very basic coloring pages of local birds and flowers.  After needle felting their image onto the pre-felt, we then wet them down and put them into a zip lock bag with a drop or two of soap.  By sealing the bag, they were able to felt their pictures down with very little mess!  

Notice my four year old son in the thick of it.  He was showing them how it is done!  Go Darren!  




S.R. Harris Fabric Outlet

posted Jul 16, 2015, 7:50 PM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Jul 17, 2015, 5:29 AM ]

I have been living in Canaan, New Hampshire for almost a decade, but I spent ten years living in downtown Minneapolis before that.  When I first moved to NH, it really only took me about two days to adjust to living in a rural setting, which was very similar to my hometown in upstate NY.  I missed almost nothing about the midwest.  But I did miss S.R. Harris Fabric Outlet - a 30,000 square foot textile mecca.  

Over the last few years I have been sewing much more, designing my own clothing, bypassing paper patterns and going right to draping on a dress form.  I have also been teaching dressing making classes.  However, there are incredibly limited options for fabric in the Upper Valley, especially for apparel.  And if you are looking for wool apparel knits, forget it.  

Recently, my family took a road trip back across the country to attend my brother-in-law's wedding in South Dakota.  For months I have been dreaming of stopping at S.R. Harris, and I finally made it! 


It is a breath of fresh air as soon as you walk in.

Ahhhh.  This is only one of over 50 aisles.  


And I walked away with some beautiful wool knits to make myself some clothing and to use as teaching materials for my students interested in learning to use stretch fabrics.


   

These fabrics will make knot dresses and wrapped tops and graceful, sporty, reversible skirts like this one:


As for the rest of the trip, there was plenty of peaceful relaxation, hiking and camping in Lake Superior Provincial Park to get me all rested up for my next round teaching in the fall.  Come and join me in Hanover, NH for one of my eight upcoming classes!



Dyeing

posted Jun 28, 2015, 3:37 AM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Jun 28, 2015, 3:49 AM ]

It is that time of year again.  I got a new shipment of wool and have been having a marvelous time dyeing it. Like the excitement of seeing spring flowers pop up after a long, cold winter, dyeing produces a riot of color.  

Over the course of a few days it morphs from a white fluffy mound

to a riot of warm colors in the sunshine

and then to a parade of blues.

The weather must be watched.  And when the sky looks like this
 

you need to run outside like a mad woman to collect all that freshly dyed wool to save it. 
You heap it on the table. 

Then you spend hours balling it up to keep in storage containers:


And you feel happy because you have worked hard, even though your job feels like playing.  You have touched soft wool, and smelled the pungent vinegar mordant, tried to analyze each color.  One is the exact color of a lupine leaf.  One is the exact color of seaweed.  And two blended will make a beautiful sky, with a few others to highlight clouds.  One will be the base color for water.  One color might just be too beautiful and will be kept out for spinning.  Each color holds so much possibility and cheerful images of all the cool things you can create run through your head.

NH Wool and Sheep Festival

posted May 14, 2015, 8:15 AM by Kathleen Peters

The 2015 NH Wool and Sheep Festival: It is that Mother's Day tradition that seems to shout "Spring"!  So off we went to Deerfield, NH.  As usual, it did not disappoint.  


There was a riot of roving!



And scads of skeins!




And numerous knits!




This stunning shawl was hand carded, hand spun and hand knit - a true treasure!




And of course, there was felting.




And I just couldn't help myself.  I came with ..... wool.  
This is a fantastically beautiful romney fleece that is just springing for the spinning wheel!






Spring in NH

posted Apr 29, 2015, 4:40 AM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Apr 29, 2015, 9:21 AM ]

This was quite possibly the most grueling winter I can ever remember.  There was gobs and gobs of snow, and the temperatures plummeted well below zero for extended periods of time.  We burned much more wood this year.  But all that cold and snow brought a nice sugaring season.  

We do our boiling in cast iron pots over an open campfire.  There are some obvious disadvantages - you need to tend the fire much more closely, and pray for non-windy days for boiling.  But doing it over an open fire makes the syrup taste superior, giving it a pleasant smokey flavor.  This is the way I like it.  


After boiling and boiling and boiling some more, we got about 2.5 gallons of syrup.  For most people who sugar in New England, that is not much.  But for us, it is a pleasant way to spend time outside as a family.  When we boil, we usually have hotdogs and eggs boiled in sap over the fire, and roasted peeps.  Roasted peeps are a tasty spring alternative to roasted marshmallows.  


All the sugaring has brought inspiration for some new felt.  This piece was done as an example to guide students through the felting process in one of the classes I taught at the League of NH Craftsmen in Hanover, NH.  It is much simpler than most landscapes I do, but it seemed the perfect way to show the earth slowly waking from its winter sleep.  


Now, all the browns and whites and shadowy blues of winter are slowly giving way to the lushes greens of summer.  Soon I will be able to take my five flats of seedlings outside to watch them magically grow into food for my table.  



Color Study in Pastels

posted Apr 8, 2014, 5:32 PM by Kathleen Peters

In all of my work with fiber - and in anything creative, really - the area I feel I would like the most improvement is in choosing the right color to make my work come alive.  Sue Pearson is a friend of mine who is very talented with color - and she does amazing still life pastel paintings.  After several years, I finally got the chance to take her class so that I could glean some much needed color theory.  

I had a blast learning some tricks from her.  Last fall I took my first class with her and learned the basics of blending colors.  I made my oldest son a painting of a red breasted nuthatch.  


And then I went on to do a pastel painting of painted trilliums for my daughter in order to learn about shadowing.  Oddly enough, I didn't realize that shadows are more than just a darker color of the object.  For example, sometimes on a green leaf, adding some red will deepen the shadow and liven up the picture.  Take a look at how the white petals actually have shades of purples and pinks to show the shadows and delicacy.



This winter, I took a second class with her.  In this class, we focused on light and reflection.  Since, I had done a painting for my older two children, I decided to make a painting of a fruit bowl for my youngest.  He seems to do nothing but eat fruit, and apples are his favorite.  The picture here is not quite finished, but you can see how I spent extra time depicting the reflection of the window on the fruit.  And notice how some surfaces reflect more crisply than others.  I used some of the skills I gleaned from the first class also.  Notice how the green grapes have just a tint of rust on the shadowed sides.  And see how the yellow apple has pink in the shadow, while the table cloth has hues of blue from the reflection of the bowl.  



In the past, I have learned that sometimes a break from fiber can really enhance my fiber once I get back to it.  I am now looking forward to trying some of these techniques in felt!



Felted Journals

posted Apr 4, 2013, 10:01 AM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Apr 4, 2013, 6:22 PM ]

There are all sorts of felted journals out there, and some of them are more beautiful than ever.  I have been making a bunch of them around here.  Sacrificing a set of coasters I had laying around, I made three smalls ones - one for each of my children.  


They have been using them for the better part of a month, shoved into their pockets.  These have proven to be great carry alongs, especially since I put on some elastic for writing utensils.  


As for myself, I thought it was about time I had one.  Something nice and colorful, something to help Spring hurry along, something that is a joy to hold and touch and see and use.  Something practical.  So I quickly felted up a single sheet of felt.  The sheet was roughly 10"x14" and had a simple image on it.  I then sliced it up the center to have a front and a back cover and fulled them down to the same size.  It is very impressionistic since I did no needle felting - this is all done with simple wet felting techniques. 


The button is a diagonal slice of lilac coated with linseed oil and then Damars.  A strap of elastic holds the journal closed.  



In mine, I included two folders: one is at the beginning of the book and one is at the end.  It is always nice to have a place to stuff a special little note, receipt or other tidbit.  Also the folders are made of heavy card stock and provide a little extra rigidity to the book.  I can't wait to start journaling!  

Spring Felting

posted Mar 25, 2013, 5:38 PM by Kathleen Peters

Along with spring cleaning comes spring felting.  Pristine, white piles of wool!    


Four inches thick!



Wetted down and prefelted ....  It is nice to have a bunch of these just waiting for snapshots of beauty to be felted on them! 



Enfield Craft Fair

posted Nov 19, 2012, 11:13 AM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Nov 19, 2012, 11:28 AM ]

Enfield, NH may not be the hip-now-and-happenin'-place for many people to spend a sunny fall weekend, but I had fun on the craft fair circuit.  Thank you to all who support my art - this weekend was a success!  While I wasn't selling my wares, I was spinning up some sumptuous romney wool to finish off a sweater I started last year.  


Or, I was eating some of Robbie's fantastic corn chowder with my weaver-friend, Jane.  Yummo! 




Turning Love Into Art

posted Oct 8, 2012, 10:46 AM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated Oct 8, 2012, 4:39 PM ]

It is fall here in New England, and I just love fall and all that comes with it.  Pumpkin pie, apple pie, hot cider, casseroles, the changing leaves, crisp air and sweater-days.  Fall tends to get me to hunker down and enjoy the quietness of my home and family.  I find it a time to reflect.  

Today I pulled out my hand-knit wool sweaters and I remembered that wool is really a magical thing.  I love the feel of it as it slips between my fingers, under the palms of my hands.  I love the snugly feeling of its warmth as it hugs my shoulders.  I love its smell.  

Sitting with steamy coffee in a hand thrown Becca mug, I have spent some time looking for good photos for felting inspiration, and I am starting to get quite a collection stored up for this winter's work.  I am not so interested in the photography as much as the memory of the day my photo was taken.  Was I with my family?  With a friend?  Alone?  Was it a jovial, raucous day?  Was it peaceful?  

As I looked through my pictures, I was reminded of how content I have felt this year.  I have been loved by my husband.  I have enjoyed watching my children play.  I have great friends.  I live in an amazingly beautiful place.  I have felt a peace in my heart.  This has been the year of refreshment and blessing.  Really, I have so much inspiration from this year, I will never realize it all.     

One of the most frequent subject matters for my work is Cardigan Mt, which is just up the road from me.  But I have also been gleaning some photos from around Canaan too.  It is nice to have photography to work with because you get enjoyment four times - first when you experience being in a place, second when you look through your photos and reexperience the emotions of a good memory, third when you enjoy the process of turning your love into felt - one fiber and a time, and lastly when you sit back and enjoy the enrichment of permanent, beautiful art in your home.   

Here are some candidates.  They are snapshots of a nurturing relationship with places in my life:  

The field at the end of Switch Rd - I pass it many times a week.  

A pond on Switch Rd - the road I take most often to get home. 

A veiw from Cardigan Mt. on a day of reunion with some old college friends. 

A puddle on Cardigan Mt. after a rainy week, hiking with my family and friends. 
 
Photo by Christine Feeley.  Cardigan Mt. School campus, where I frequently go running with Christine and Melissa. 

Photo by Christine Feeley.  A cairn built by Aaron Allen on Cardigan Mt.  This is a photo taken by a friend, of a friends art, in a place I love. 

Photo by Christine Feeley. Cardigan Mt.
This is a beautiful rendition of a place I love, captured by a friend.  

East Quoddy Light House, New Brunswick, Canada
From a lovely vacation with my family. 

Moon rising over Canaan Street Lake.  Ice skating with my three children last winter.  Shortly after this picture was taken it got dark and we skated up the moon path shining across the lake.  





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