Friday, December 16, 2011

How to Tie a Scarf

Scarves. Scarves. Scarves.

It doesn't take a study or poll to tell you that the ever popular scarf has reached an all time increased popularity in recent months. Naturally, with 'some things looming's' focus on fiber, we have a stunning selection of scarves for you to chose from this Handmade Holiday. You can choose from handpainted silk, hand dyed silk, a variety of hand woven in many different fibers, and felted scarves. All are one of a kind and stunning.          

   (Left to Right: Kachina Martin, Paulette Hamilton, Judy Connor Jones)

One of our loyal artist supporters and friend, Kachina Martin will always be found wearing some attractive neckwear, usually a scarf. And she has a seemingly unending number of ways to wear them for which I am endlessly jealous and admiring all at the same time. I'm always wishing she'd come dress me because I seem to have mastered only one way to throw a scarf around 'my' neck. Being a teachable sort, I decided to do some research for myself on the subject. Once I found these little treasures, I was sure I ought to share them with you too!

Grace Marks  
(Left to Right: Grace Marks, L. Friedman & K. Maklansky, Tanya Prather)

You have to love the Internet as it seems there is no need that cannot be fulfilled there. I 'googled', "how to tie a scarf' and below are some of the best offerings I discovered. My personal favorite was the nifty short video from Coldwater Creek. They make it look so easy. Anyway, I hope it inspires you as much as it did much as it did me.

Coldwater Creek Video: 8 Ways To Tie A Scarf (this was quick but awesome help for me.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handmade Holidays...the Countdown

Well it’s the final countdown to our Dec 3rd grand opening and the set up fun continues.    I have to admit, I was a tiny bit relieved when Floyd and Melanie decided that Gallery 2 was still the best spot for the jewelry gallery.  

Being a creator of jewelry and maybe even more importantly a discriminating consumer of jewelry, I try to be fussy about what we accept and encourage for this event.    I think you’ll be pleased with the offerings this year finding value for unique design.  We tried to accept work that would truly be a one of a kind treasure for the gift giver to present.

Saturday turned into a long day but I left feeling self-satisfied with my efforts.   I have a little more to do to get the jewelry gallery ‘just so’ but that’s just me being fussy.  Regardless,  I’m not giving away any secrets until the opening however.

My advice is, “the early bird gets the worm” so plan on attending our opening this Saturday to get a look at the largest selection of our inventory.    Melanie and I have already begun to do our Christmas shopping and a few of our regular boutique artists have set their caps for items the same time they were dropping off their work.

I always have a little trouble switching gears from shopping for ‘me’ to shopping for everyone on my list.  For a while it seems it’s one gift for the list and one gift for me.   Well, this year is no exception and if you can keep a secret, I’m going to highlight my recent self- indulgence here.  

Melanie plans on highlighting an artist each week and I’ll probably get in trouble for leaking this one out in advance (or not if I let her use it too).  This is the cleverest little accessory;  I just had to have one.
Last week I was discussing with one of my female co-workers just how hard it is to keep my cell phone on me.    We both had a long litany of complaints and awkward places to attach our phones to us.  

Ask my family how disgusted they are at trying to reach me on a cell phone I never answer because it’s in my purse which if I have my way, I rarely carry.  In fairness though, how does a woman carry her cell phone without having a huge lump showing through her clothing or carrying it around in her hand.?   I figure I have enough lumps in places I wish I didn’t and therefore vanity keeps me from having mine on me at all times.
Ok.  Here comes the cell phone solution.  Heidi Hammel of Reclaimed Creations ( )  has come up with a delightful, attractive and cost effective solution to how/where to carry my cell phone conveniently.  I wore this accessory all day Saturday and discovered it would even hold a pair of my inexpensive reading glasses.  I loved that I never had to dive for my phone as it was handy, dandy on my person.

Tie-bag, by Heidi Hammel
Retail price for this lovely convenience is $19.00.  We only have a few so if you know someone who might like this nifty little diddy, make sure you stop in next Saturday during our Grand Opening to be sure  to get the best selection.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From Our Table to Yours

For many years, I wouldn't even look at a sweet potato, let alone eat one, until my sister, Sara, started bringing this incredible dish she called "sweet potato casserole" to our Thanksgiving meal.  Loaded up with sugar and topped with crunchy munchy goodness, it soon became my favorite holiday food.  It's almost more dessert-like than a side dish, but I have never had a problem mixing savory with sweet on my Thanksgiving or Christmas plate.

My husband, Jeremy, was openly against the humble sweet potato, just as I had been adamant that never a bite would pass through these lips.  "I just don't like those marshmellows on top," He said when I told him about Sara's casserole.
 "Oh, but this is good," I replied. "No marshmellows in sight!"
He wasn't convinced, but seeing as he's not that picky of an eater, and really likes his food, I figured I could get him to try some of my sister's casserole, eventually.

At dinner a few years ago, as we passed the dishes around, Jeremy took a scoop of the family favorite and plopped it on his plate, without really paying attention to what he was about to eat. He tucked into his food and began singing the praises over the heavenly flavors in his mouth.  "Sara, this orange crap with crunch crap on top is DELICIOUS!" he said with great enthusiasm.
My sister, in mock offense, replied "Crap?!? Did you just call my sweet potato casserole crap?!  Oh, I see how you really feel. Orange Crap With Crunch Crap On Top.  I see how it is. You think it's crap."
Jeremy started laughing and said " No, no, that's not what I meant.  I didn't know what this was. Sweet potatoes? I didn't realize this was sweet potatoes. This is really really good."
"No it's not. It's Orange Crap With Crunchy Crap On Top.  You said so yourself," Sara said, continuing to pretend hurt feelings. "See if I ever make it for yooou anymore."
"Well it's good Orange Crap With Crunchy Crap On Top," Jeremy replied.  The family was laughing pretty good by this point, including Rebekah, who normally is appalled by our use of the word crap, especially around the dinner table.
"Hey," Floyd said, "Can you pass the Orange Crap With Crunchy Crap On Top this way, please?"

Since then, Thanksgiving or Christmas, the one important question usually is, "So who's making the Orange Crap With Crunchy Crap On Top this year?"  Because in our family, it's not a holiday meal with out being able to say "Please pass the Orange Crap With Crunchy Crap On Top." 

Without further ado, we'd like to share with you our family favorite: Orange Crap With Crunch Crap On Top, or the more appetizing name: Sweet Potato Casserole.

Last year's OCWCCOT, just out of the oven. Yum!

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 C mashed sweet potatoes (I use canned, but I have also boiled and mashed the yams)
½ C butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 C sugar
2 eggs beaten

1 C brown sugar
1/3 butter
1/3 C flour
1 C chopped pecans

(NOTE: some like to make this in a 9x13 pan, it’s thin, which makes it less potato to topping ratio per bite…WE usually do it in a round casserole dish or oval, so that there’s more potato to the crunchy topping per bite, which we like better)

Mix first five ingredients thoroughly and put in a grease dish.  Mix flour and brown sugar together. Cut in butter.  Mix in pecans and sprinkle on top of potatoes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot, bubbly, and topping is lightly browned. 

(about 30 minutes in a 9x13 pan, 30-50 minutes in a deep dish casserole, depending on if recipe is doubled, etc).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Featured Artist: Mary Stoudt

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Mary Stoudt

Artist Statement: 

 I create my art quilts looking through a lens informed by decades of experimenting with a wide variety of art media, manely photography, printmaking, ceramics, weaving, collage, bookmaking, and sculpture, etc.

To begin an art piece I imagine a basic composition in my head concentrating on color and form, and then work intuitively through each piece. As I progress through the quilt, I improvise, perhaps like a jazz musician would.

Sometimes, I give myself quilt assignments such as, "See how big you can make a quilt', or "use wool and cotton together" or "see how many layers you can add to make a quilt. Some of my quilt creations could be put into categories such as color studies, storytelling, or optical illusions.

Warm Planet

About the Artist: Since the 70's I have been stitching, weaving, making paper, creating mixed media all to create diverse works some of which have been described by critics as being whimsical and spiritual. In 2003 I started layering fabric in a grid-like fashion. Simply put, I visualize the quilt composition , its colors and forms in my head and then as I move through the process, I improvise the details. For certain pieces, I make an actual size pattern as I move through the process, but I introduce new elements while using the pattern. I love the warmth, the flexibility, the play of color and textures of quilt making.

Here is a mixed list of my favorite artists and other inspirations:
Paul Klee . Gees Bend Quilters . Pennsylvania Mountains, Fields . Traveling . Andy Goldsworthy . Red Grooms . Blues Music . NY times Sunday paper . Gustav Klimpt . Oiseaux Sisters . Joseph Cornell . Fabric Stores . Frank Gehry . Audrey Flack . Childhood Memories . My family . Hundertwasser . NPR . Goggleworks . Literature

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Featured Artist: Caleigh Stednitz

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Caleigh Stednitz

Mind of a Madman
Artist Statement for “Mind of a Madman”

    In working with the primitive process of felting, I explored less concrete themes of the mind.  Felt is an airy and light material that proves to be durable and protective.  I chose to use felt to create a map of what I believe the mind of a sociopath resembles.  In researching brainwaves and patterns of sociopathic persons, I came across studies that show that sociopaths tend to think in spirals; the thoughts constantly running through their mind until it reaches its acme, which usually leads to an event performed by the person.  Felt allowed me to create an airy and abstract field on which to create a mind map, alluding to the notion of the mind not being a concrete object.  I built up peaks of emotion by felt, embroidered marks representing repeating thoughts, and couched rope to represent the horrific thoughts that lead to unfortunate events. 

Duality of Livestock

Artist Statement for “Duality of Livestock”

    The process of using wool from livestock such as sheep allowed me to explore the duality of the material.  Wool is used to create wearables that offer warmth and protection from the elements.  However in contemplating the usefulness of the material, I began to think about the other uses livestock provide: meats.  It seemed strange to me that something that produces such a soft and cozy material also hangs in a meat freezer, waiting to be fed to consumers.  With the felting process I chose to incorporate these two ideas, illustrating the duality of livestock.  I embroidered abstracted slabs of meat hanging from chains.  This is embroidered on a piece of needle felt.  I chose to hang the piece using hooks to simulate that the piece itself is a slab of meat, with the viewers being consumers.  In doing this, I hoped to create a thoughtful piece that presents both sides to our use of livestock as both something protective and edible.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Featured Artist: Mary Schwarzenberger

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Mary Schwarzenberger

Vortex. Machine and wet felted 17"x25"

Artist Statement

I don’t remember a time when I did not regularly engage in creating things. It seems that I have always had a few projects in progress at a time. Throughout most of my life the need to create has been just as strong as the need to eat and breathe. When bringing creative ideas to life, as decisions and obstacles appear, the brain is always ready with ideas, solutions, and alternatives. After studying language and learning for many years, this whole process is intriguing to me. There is not much I’d rather do than create something!

Vortex, detail. Machine and wet felted 17"x25"

In my fiber art I try to create moods with color that soothe or stimulate. To quote Kaffe Fassett, why use one shade of red when you can use 17? More recently I have been exploring diverse techniques to create texture, from manipulating fabric with a needle felting machine to couching yarns on the surface. The garments I create are designed to provide comfort and create visual statements. It pleases me when they initiate conversations and interactions I would not likely have otherwise engaged in. I am highly influenced by the beauty of the local flora and fauna and I try to incorporate natural themes into my work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Featured Artist: Tanya Prather

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Tanya Prather

 Artist Statement

Although I’ve worked in many forms of media, I’ve been drawn to fiber in recent years because it engages more of the senses.  It is not only visual, but tactile. Fiber utilizes the same principles of design as other mediums, but the results are manifested through a process that is both planned and organic, and the aspect of texture takes on a much larger role.  My goal with any fiber piece is that it should be so compelling that the viewer not only looks at it, but has an insatiable need to touch and feel it.

Nesting Instinct
Because fiber is often pigeon-holed as craft rather than fine art, I am constantly challenging myself to take it beyond the traditional wall hanging or wearable.  My felting has a tendency to evolve with a 3-D or sculptural quality. 

I am fascinated by the endless possibilities of Nuno felting because it allows disparate materials to be fused together seamlessly.  I most often use protein fibers – silk and wool – but sometimes integrate rayon, polyester, linen or cotton when a “found” piece of cloth captures my interest.  I enjoy cutting scraps from old clothing, repurposing things that have been tossed aside – making unlikely matches and marveling at the results.  Recycled cloth provides a broad palette of textures, patterns, colors and weights, and because it comes with a history of its own, I find it more intriguing and thought-provoking than fabric taken off the shelf.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Featured Artist: Kachina Martin

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Kachina Martin

Aubergine Moss
nuno felting 98"x8"

 Artist’s Statement

My most cherished childhood memories center on fabric - the comfort of a blanket edged in silk, the feel of a well-worn cotton tee, the nubby texture of a hand-knit sweater.  As the daughter of a mother who teaches in the field of fashion and design, I was acutely aware at a young age of the transformational properties of clothing.  My artistic interests were equally shaped by my grandmother.  Guided by her firm hands, unwieldy lengths of fabric were coaxed to behave, ultimately shaped into a variety of forms marked by perfect, crisp seams.  The drama that surrounded the cutting of the fabric felt epic – she possessed such confidence as she sliced thorough layers of cloth, following the edges of the whisper-thin tissue paper that outlined its eventual shape.  My grandmother taught me to decode the language of patterns, to sew, and later, to knit, crochet, and embroider.

Aubergine Moss, detail

When I discovered shibori, I was awed by the limitless possibilities inherent in this ancient Japanese dyeing process.  Areas of pure color are seamlessly blended in an endless variety of tints and shades, revealing where color meets resist, creating a rich visual texture that transcends the notion of pattern.  My experimentation with dyes introduced me to felting, and I am fascinated by the sculptural properties of wool.  Nuno felting enables me to combine my own fabrics with wool to add depth and dimension to my wearable pieces.  I feel that my pieces’ wearability enhances, rather than detracts from, their depth.  That the work will be worn is significant, indeed essential, to its artistic value.  It is when the work is worn—when the wearer imbues it with her own sense of style and integrates it into her daily life—that the work truly comes to life. 

Bits and Pieces
nuno felting, wool roving, silk yarns, silk fabric 78"x11"

While all of my work fiber-based, not all of my pieces are intended to be worn.  I am drawn to old garments that show evidence of the hand that created the piece as well as the person who wore it.  These indelible marks—stitches, stains, mended holes, and spots rubbed almost bare by continual contact with the body—speak to the hours invested in the making of the garment as well as the years that have passed as it was worn, again and again.  I am interested in ways in which to transcend both the utilitarian nature and the inevitable entropy that continually affect these garments and reimagine them as enduring, sculptural artifacts.  In so doing, I aim to defy the viewer’s expectation of what fiber is, can, or should be. 

Bits and Pieces, detail


Kachina Martin is a fiber artist who teaches art and art history at Muhlenberg High School in Laureldale, PA.  She earned a B.A. in English and French with an Art History minor at Albright College; she received her Master’s in Art History from Temple University.  Kachina has also studied fiber arts at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, the University of the Arts, Touchstone Center for Crafts, and Cannon Hill Studios.

In addition to her work as a public educator, Kachina has also lectured at St. Francis University, Albright College, La Salle University, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, and Temple University.
For further information, please visit 

nuno felting 78"x10"

Flume, detail

Kachina Martin is one of three artists exhibiting in our gallery whose work has been featured in the book, 500 Felt Objects.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Featured Artist: Pamela A. MacGregor

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you:    Pamela A. MacGregor

Devils Claw Teapot #2, Side1
Dried Devils Claw Pods., waxed linen, sheeps wool 14"x10"x6"

Devils Claw Teapot #2, Side2

Artist Statement                           

My life as an artist has taken many turns over the years.  Artist as student, artist as teacher and now retired teacher as felt artist.  Since my retirement, the discovery of felt making has charged me with a new artistic energy. The medium pushes me into constant and exciting engineering challenges as I push the medium to its limit.  Each work takes me down it’s own unique path towards new explorations in technique, engineering and presentation. It seems at the end of the day there is usually a sweet surprise to discover along with an “ah ha” moment for future felt works, each bringing with it new and unique possibilities.

Ming Vessel
wool (sheep) glass beads, silk yarn, FELT 9"x7"x7"

My work has been shown in national and international art shows and can be seen in local galleries, private collections, The 500 Felt Objects book by Lark Publishing and on my website,

Tea for Two, side 1
sheeps wool, glass beads, DMC thread, dyed plastic washer monofilament, FELT 10"x9"x5"

Tea for Two, side 2

Pamela A. MacGregor is one of three artists exhibiting in our gallery whose work has been featured in the book, 500 Felt Objects.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Featured Artist: Vicki Jensen

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Vicki Jensen 

Old Man's Beard Moss
Hand-dyed, merino wool, yarn, thread,  welt felting, free-form lace, free-motion-machine embroidery 17"x15"x.25"
Old Man's Beard Moss, detail   

Artist Statement

I have a great passion for nature and the out of doors. I use the natural surroundings as my source of inspiration for the art that I create. From birds to nests to ferns to tree bark to lichens - - - I look at all of the textures, colors and patterns that nature provides to us and interpret them in felt. The medium of felt allows me to combine the elements of surface design I love, all in one piece: dyeing with MX and Acid dyes, along with hand stitching and embellishment.

Fallen Leaves
Hand-dyed merino wool and silk organza, silk thread, wet felting, lamination, hand stitching 20"x16" x2"

Fallen Leaves, detail

Lichens and Moss
Hand-dyed, merino wool, scrim, cheese cloth, cotton floss, welt felting, lamination, hand stitching, loop embroidery 17" x 15" x 1.75"

Lichens and Moss

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Marjorie Fedyszyn

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Marjorie Fedyszyn

Stuck in Montana I, Primordial Felt, Stuck in Montana II
Stuck in Montana I
 Artist Statement:

The spark of creativity and expressing myself through my hands has run deep within me for as long as I can remember. The natural world around me continues to feed my spirit. When I discovered the wet felting process a whole world opened up to me. The metamorphosis from soft and fluffy wool to strong and durable felt through hard work and agitation never ceases to fascinate me. Through felting I have discovered the melding of the natural world with all the technical skills and knowledge I have obtained throughout my life. My work in felt satisfies the “no rules” side of my character while feeding my tactile, visual and exploratory disposition. Each new work provides me with questions needing answers and problems needing solutions.

Primordial Felt
Stuck in Montana II
The themes I am most drawn to are nature related. This current body of work was initiated while on a vacation in Montana. I was heavily influenced by my environment and the materials that were presented to me on our hikes. Collecting the plant and animal matter that came home on our socks or fell from the trees as I worked outside provided new materials to explore. I then incorporated these elements into the samples I created which led me to the works I have submitted.  The integration of leather and other elements into the wool is a process I have been examining for some time. These pieces are a launching pad for larger works I am still developing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anna Kristina Goransson

From September 10, to November 5th, we present "Felt So Good" during which we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog.  Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Anna Kristina Goransson

Growing,  Handfelted and woven merino 44"x22"

Artist Statement

My work has grown out of my fascination with the forested world of my childhood in northern Sweden, along with my intense observation of the natural world that surrounds me. I long for moments that I have experienced in this world and my work focuses on abstracting these moments, bringing new meaning to a seemingly ordinary occurrence. I am inspired by the structures of nature, whether it is the pattern that lichens create on a rock or leaf structures overlapping above my head.

Growth:  Handfelted and dyed merino 40"x40"
Felting is the perfect technique to convey my thoughts. The softness and durability of wool enables me to create dimensional forms that reflect the fragility and strength of nature. Dying wool creates saturated colors that evoke the fantasy quality of the environment I am recreating. Light is absorbed and makes the felted forms shine, much like the natural world.

Anna Kristina Goransson is one of three artists exhibiting in our gallery whose work has been featured in the book, 500 Felt Objects.