For more than half of my life, my creativity seemed limited to gardening, cooking and homemaking. When I took up knitting a few years ago, I didn’t know that it was a gateway to fiber arts of all sorts, and that it would lead me into redefining myself as an artist.
As a child, I dabbled in freehand embroidery and also worked with both printed patterns and counted cross stitch. The single art class that I took in college where I was a science major persuaded me that art was something I couldn’t do. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story. I started knitting when I was in my late 30’s, which introduced me to the world of natural fibers. I started to needle felt coasters and make catnip toys and give them to relatives. Eventually I diversified, and decided that I wanted to have a business when my kids went off to college.
The majority of the products that I sell are made from old wool sweaters that are wet felted and then cut and sewn to make ornaments, catnip toys and other items. I also do needle felted or embroidered decoration on several types of items made from the felted sweaters. Every bit of the old sweater is used up in my work so this is a true recycling process. I’m branching out into making wet felted pieces that I can use and embellish in various ways. I value serendipity in my art and find it fascinating how natural fibers interact with each other and with other materials. I tend to begin with an idea and then to explore that theme on different objects and in different ways before moving on to something else. Sometimes, I can’t resist the urge to try something in a completely different medium, like painted rocks or beaded suncatchers.
I still spend a great deal of time gardening and cooking. Weeding in particular provides a wonderful time for the mind to wander in creative ways. The incredible beauty and variety of the natural world is an endless well of inspiration.
I’ve taken a few classes at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles and at Esther’s Place in Big Rock. I have also been strongly influenced by the City Museum in St. Louis, with their use of recycled materials and their exuberant decoration of multiple surfaces in the environment. I believe that the world should be decorated and celebrated. Anything I can make that makes the world more interesting and beautiful is a success.