Mother of Invention

I have to admit to feeling particularly dorky posting this latest item, but it was inspired by true life circumstances. For the last few months, I have been making a concerted effort to commute to my studio by bike, a distance of three miles from home. There is a decent change of elevation between the two points, but with consistent effort, the ride has ceased to be a chore. My husband pointed out that I’m actually getting 20 minutes of free exercise. Driving the same distance would take 10 minutes, while my ride averages 30 minutes. The daily 40 minute difference is the only time I’m really exercising – the rest of it is just free time.

As the temperatures began to drop, I realized there had to be some tricks that made bike commuting manageable for the diehards who do it year round. My biggest problem was the chill from the wind whipping across my face. First solution: larger sunglasses, second solution: felt ear coverings. One of my knitting friends made a lovely pair for her helmet, but being a feltmaker, I knew I could put something together that was functional and I could finish it faster than if I tried to knit it.

After a couple of prototypes and several test rides, I can report that my ears are definitely warmer. The ride home yesterday was almost enjoyable. The next task is making a mitten design that lets me use my fingers when I need them, but still keeps my hands warm.

As I said, this isn’t the most flashy item I’ve made,  but if it works for me, there might be someone else out there who will find it useful. Granted, this is a very small niche market and I do feel very fortunate to live in a part of the world where bike commuting is possible year round. There is one set listed in my Etsy shop, and more will be posted shortly.

Winter Song

Days shorten, children sicken, schools close and meetings pile up. Promises made, deadlines pass, apologies offered.  I wonder where the days have gone. Interviews completed, orders filled, deliveries made. Opportunities arise, boxes packed, bookshelves moved, all is good. Sometimes, what I need most of all is a few moments of quiet followed by a little perspective.

It has been such a busy fall it is hard to prioritize the excitement. SpiderFelt has moved down the hall at BallardWorks to studio 2D. I’m sharing a beautiful space with fellow feltmaker Linda Kjarstad. We have twice the space, twice the light and twice the fun. If only there was a way to capture the feeling of working with golden sunshine streaming on my shoulders; it makes the most monotonous work enjoyable.

With these new digs, we will be able to teach classes and host workshops with lots of elbow room to spare. Come see the new work we’ve been creating and start your holiday shopping by supporting local artists.

There were several large wholesale orders for felt soaps and kits that kept me in production mode in September and October. But just in time for tomorrow’s open studio, I finished a pair of new nunofelt vests or wraps, depending on how you wear them.

Out of the blue, I was interviewed for an article about felting that ran on the AP newswire, which means it was published in various newspapers across the country and will continue to run for the rest of November. It was enjoyable to speak at length about a subject that soothes and excites me every day. The author, Jennifer Forker, did an excellent job providing an overview of the various types of felting.

Unfortunately, this will be our last artwalk for 2011 as the building will not be open for the December artwalk. BallardWorks is located at 2856 NW Market St. We hope to see you tomorrow night.