About the Washerwoman...

Artist Statement

Some felt maker's bios describe their life long love of all things fiber, the weaving kits they received as a child, their college studies in textiles, and long hours spent at a weaving loom, spinning wheel, the nine-day trek on a camel to a felting community in Turkey, raising or being raised by sheep. I could only wish for such an introduction.

Although my background may include some pretty colorful experiences none of them are in fiber work, painting, drawing, or anything remotely artistic. To top that off, I have made my living in information technology. 

In 2006 my good friend Dianna Bella, the membership coordinator for the Newark Museum in Newark NJ, told me about the wonderful workshops the museum hosts and passed on a class catalog. She seemed so excited I felt compelled to sign up for a workshop. Flipping through the catalog I saw something about making a handbag and figured that was safe enough and signed up. 

I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The two day workshop was led by Myfanwy Stirling. Myf is a graduate of FIT and the daughter of Polly Stirling, felt maker extraordinaire and the mother of nuno felt making. The morning of the workshop I skimmed over the materials list, stopped at Walmart and purchased some lining fabric, a spool of thread, and went.

By the time Myf had demonstrated what she had created, what we were expected to do, and the other students had shown what they had already done, my head was swimming. I was clearly in the wrong class -- these people were making art -- not sewing stuff together. The extent of my artistic ability was that I had found my way to a museum. I was considering faking an emergency and leaving. 

But I stayed and by the end of the second day I had made a gorgeous felted handbag (with a lot of help from Myfanwy) and was hooked. 

In the coming years I took every workshop I could find including those with instructors; Myfanwy Stirling, Carol CypherAlice Chad Hagen, Renate Maile-Moskowitz, Theresa May O'BrienLeslie HansardPat SparkLisa KlakulakNicole Chazaud Telaar, Sharon Costello,
Linda Van Alstyne, Polly Stirling, and Sachiko Kotaka.

If you are into felt you probably know many of these names. If you don't, please visit their sites or Google their work, I promise you will be amazed!

And while I still take workshops, and have much to learn, I now have my own studio where I create and experiment with felt whenever possible.