When a prominent museum gift store asks what new products you have for their store, the gears start turning. Taking a friend up on an invitation to wander around Capitol Hill for a morning, we went for coffee, wandered around Volunteer Park and then visited a few mid-century design stores. By the time I made it to my studio that afternoon, I had an hour to work on an idea that occurred to me as we drove through the city. Pulling out a felt remnant, I stitched some irregular shapes in imitation of topographical maps.
My first prototype received a green light from the buyer at the gift store, so I set to work on the real thing. Inspired by the distinctive colors of Puget Sound, the alpine meadows around Mt. Rainier and the paloose of central Washington, I imagined three colorways reflective of the colors in these regions.
After creating sheets and sheets of merino prefelt, I cut hundreds of circles. Pulling together the colors was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
The riot of color was intoxicating. Once everything was felted, I cut the circles and machine stitched the lines to create greater definition and contrast.
The next project was deciding on the packaging. Price point and hand-feel were the two factors that led me eschew any fussy plastic packaging. People need to touch something this soft. Maude May designed the tags and branded the coasters, inspired by USGS map TWA 1627 Glacier Park, TWA 1623 Frosty Meadow and TWA 1680 Methow Valley.