The 100 Day Project

On February 1st, I started down a very long road, and this week I will cross the half way point of my #100dayproject. Every day I’m needle felting a landscape with dyed wool fiber that features a scene from the state of South Carolina. I’m exploring my new home state (since 2010) in person and online, taking inspiration from all over the different parts of this beautiful place.

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Needle felting is something I’m totally hooked on, but I didn’t always work in this medium every single day. This daily goal of creating one piece is pushing me (in a good way) to work even if I’m not totally inspired. It’s been a total surprise how things have worked out so far. Some of the days when I was truly dragging myself to make something turned out to by my best work, in my opinion. Working daily in one medium is stretching me to expand on my skills. I’m really enjoying it so far! For the first time, my landscapes are starting to include man-made structures and animals. I’m starting to include a lot of moons as well. Who knows what will show up in the next half of the series!

Once this collection of 100 pieces is complete, which will be sometime in May, they’ll be exhibited as part of a group show at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. This will be my first large-scale long-term exhibition and I couldn’t be more excited to share the whole series with you. For now, here’s the first 25, and be sure to follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see a daily sneak peek at what I’ve made. I’ve had to make a few pieces in hotel rooms so far due to travel plans - but nothing can stop me from meeting my goal. Well, that’s not true. A broken wrist would certainly stop me…but fingers crossed!

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This program is funded in part by the Metropolitan Arts Council which receives support from the City of Greenville, BMW Manufacturing Company, Michelin North America, Inc., SEW Eurodrive and the South Carolina Arts Commission.

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Art in the Wild Exhibition

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

I’m still bursting at the seams with inspiration, thanks to my time as Artist in Residence at Poinsett State Park. In case you missed it, I spent a week in a cabin in the woods, creating a collection of work related to my beautiful surroundings. Next week, that collection of work will be exhibited at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC.

40 wool paintings are included in my “Art in the Wild” show, and they range from landscapes to birds, to other nature studies. The show runs June 14-16 and if you’re not in Greenville, the gallery will be happy to ship. Once the show is over, the work will be available on my website.

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Here’s an exclusive peek at the collection. Which is your favorite piece? Please comment!

Now that’ you’ve seen these, are you interested in learning to needle felt? It’s so much fun! I’m teaching a class this Saturday (June 9th) and another one June 30th at GCCA in Greenville.

Signup here for workshops: https://www.artcentergreenville.org/summer-workshop-descriptions

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

Photo curtesy of Eli Warren

During my residency at Poinsett, I also created a new landscape pendant series called “Mill Pond” and I’m doing a double giveaway on Instagram this week. Check it out and win a pendant for yourself and a friend.

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Artist in Residence: Poinsett State Park

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Earlier this month, I was honored to have the chance to be the Artist in Residence at Poinsett State Park. I spent a week in the woods, soaking up inspiration and creating art inspired by it. This was my first time doing anything like this and it was such a good experience.

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I stayed in Cabin #2, which was built in 1937 and had been updated with modern conveniences, but still felt rustic. Each morning I’d wake up to the sound of birds, eat breakfast on the sun porch, and hit the trails for a few hours.

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There’s miles and miles of trails in the park, and my favorite ones were the Cowasee, Scout Loop, and of course the trail alongside Mill Pond, which is just about as scenic as it gets. I'm not originally from the south so the sight of Spanish moss is still a bit surreal to me. It looks like a movie set!

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After a few hours in the woods, I’d come back to the cabin and spend the hottest hours of the day painting, needle felting, and sketching. There was no shortage of inspiration in the park. Ideas would come to me while sitting by the fire pit after sunset or canoeing through the lily pads listening to choir of frogs on the shore.

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I definitely lost track of time, and had no idea what day it was for most of the week. I can’t tell you the last time I disconnected like that, and really focused on my work without any interruption. It was so good for my soul!

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I created nearly 20 pieces during my residency and have another 20 in the works that will be ready for my upcoming exhibit “Art in the Wild” which runs June 14-16th at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC.

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A big thank you to the South Carolina Parks Department for this amazing opportunity! If you’re interested in applying for next year, check the SC Parks website in the fall for more info: https://southcarolinaparks.com/

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Check out this short video documentary that shows my week as Artist in Residence in a nutshell. Hard to believe 6 nights, several miles of hiking, hours of working, and a lot of fun in between, can be condensed into 3 1/2 minutes, but here it is! 

Fibers of the South

Things may have appeared to be quiet on the needle felting front these last few months, but I assure you, lots of fiber art has been in the works. Ever since the beginning of 2017, after the craziness of the holidays and tradeshow season subsided, I started working on a series I’d been daydreaming about for about for months. The series only recently received a name, but it’s been on my mind and in my hands for some time.

“Fibers of the South” is a collection of 50 wool paintings featuring landscape scenes from all over this beautiful state I call home. When I moved to South Carolina in 2010, I was in awe of the wide range of beautiful scenery here. We’ve got majestic mountains layered in colors in the Upstate, we’ve got wide open spaces in the Midlands covered in amazing texture, and we’ve got these elaborate patterns of marshes and waterways in the Lowcountry. There’s so much beauty in every corner of this state! My landscape series is a tribute to these places, done in a medium near & dear to my crafty heart.

I’ve been a needle felter for nearly 10 years, sculpting 3D plants, animals, faux taxidermy, and even anatomical hearts. Only recently have I tried my hand at 2D work. My first felted landscape attempts came about last year, thanks to a #CreativeSprint challenge, and I did a trial run with a limited collection of small-scale pieces framed in embroidery hoops and simple wood boxes last fall for Indie Craft Parade.

Fibers of the South takes the idea to the next level, particularly in size. My new landscapes are 4 to 10 times the size of those first pieces! Working this large has been a wonderful challenge, and it also allowed me to collaborate with my woodworker husband to create beautiful shadow box frames custom made for these fiber art pieces. I’m thrilled with how the collection turned out!

From August 5th-19th, my series will make it’s debut at an exhibit at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC. The final day of Fibers of the South, I’ll also have a handmade jewelry trunk show at the gallery.

Curious to see the process? Checkout this #MakersEyeView on my YouTube channel.

If you want to see the WHOLE process, not just time lapse, stop by the gallery (16 Aiken Street, Greenville SC) on Saturday August 5th between 11 and 3 to see my live felting demo. I'm also planning to do a live stream on social media so tune in on Instagram @onceagainsam

For a sneak peak at the collection, click through the image gallery below. If you see one you like, please contact the gallery directly to purchase. They will be glad to ship if you're not in Greenville!