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! 

#CreativeSprint - October 2016

I did it! I finally completed the 30 day #CreativeSprint Challenge. This was my third time signing up for it - the first time, I got the daily emails and observed what others were doing, but didn't participate. The second time (this past April), I only made it about half way through the month. But this October, I stretched my creative muscles, and made it all the way through, so I'm celebrating today. I certainly learned a lot in the last 30 days. Creativity takes practice!

CreativeSprintOct2016.jpg

There were some days I had absolutely no idea what to do for the assignment. Other days I knew what I'd make the second I finished reading the email. I tried to experiment and really follow the spirit of the challenge, but I wasn't always able to.  Some days I ended up with something that looked an awful lot like something I've already made (days 3, 7, 17, and  28), but other days I did something absolutely new (days 10, 12, 15, 19, and 21) . Some days I was embarrassed about what I made (days 1, 6, 18, and 20), but I posted it anyway, because sharing your work is part of the challenge. And then there were the days when I had so much fun, and was so darn inspired by what I was working on, I couldn't wait to share it (days 5, 16, 21, 26, 27, and 30). 

My biggest takeaway from this challenge was this: allow yourself time to dabble in the studio, and don't worry too much about if it comes out "right" the first time.

I get very efficient and productive when I'm working in the studio - I've got orders to make, shows to prep for, inventory to replenish, so I rarely let myself play, even though that's how my whole handmade business began, and I enjoy it so much. I'm feeling refreshed and inspired (and a little relieved) now that the 30 day challenge is over, and excited about some new things I may expand on in the future. One series I'm bursting at the seams to explore is the splatter painted jewelry (pendants and leather), and now that I know I can laser cut industrial felt without setting the whole house on fire, I'm excited to try some new designs within that medium as well. 

If you're ever in need of some inspiration and motivation, or just want to have a little fun, be sure to sign up for the next #CreativeSprint challenge: http://www.creativesprint.co/

These jewelry pieces are acrylic and glass that I splatter painted on the backside - I made these a few days after Day 16's challenge (the "seriDRIPitous" pendants). This new series will launch soon!

These jewelry pieces are acrylic and glass that I splatter painted on the backside - I made these a few days after Day 16's challenge (the "seriDRIPitous" pendants). This new series will launch soon!

 

 

When Making & Writing Collide

In May of this year, my second novel was published, titled Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe. It’s a quirky coming-of-age story that takes place on a farm in Nebraska, where a pair of well-meaning but impulsive brothers and their sixteen-foot stowaway spend several weeks falling in love with their newfound freedom, the wide open land, and the book-smart redhead who lives there.

It’s no surprise both sides of my creative mind have influenced each other recently, and that the process of writing & publishing Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe has lead me to create a special collection of work inspired by the story. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new pieces I’ve been working on lately, all inspired by the book. These are available for purchase in my Etsy Shop.

My favorite series features needle felted paintings, jewelry, and laser etched wood blocks that contrast an aerial view of farmland in Nebraska with the patterned hide of a giraffe. I loved that contrast in the story - an exotic African creature living on a rural farm.

To celebrate these two new things, my book release and new handmade collection, I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram this week. The winner will receive a signed copy of Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe, a $10 Amazon.com gift card, plus their choice of handmade pendant (shown below).

To enter the contest, simply follow both of my Instagram accounts @sarahmandellauthor & @onceagainsam and comment on the giveaway image (on either account) letting me know which pendant you’d choose if you’re the winner. Contest is open worldwide now through July 10. Good luck to all!

Landscape Mood

June is for landscapes

I’ve been on a landscape kick for the last two months. This new-to-me obsession has recently appeared in my handmade jewelry and fiber art, and has gotten me interested in improving my painting skills as well. I can trace this inspiration back to 3 specific assignments I received during a month-long art challenge called #creativesprint. Here’s the blog post if you missed it.

Although the assignments were diverse, and I used different mediums as much as possible, these 3 challenges had a similar outcome. On April 9th, the assignment was to create something inspired by water - I painted 3 seascape pendants. On the 15th, the assignment was to work with your non-dominant hand - I awkwardly painted an abstract scene with my left hand. On the 17th, we were challenged to create something inspired by a poem - I chose Whitman’s “Pioneers! O  Pioneers!” and needle felted a landscape inside a small embroidery hoop.

Those pieces were just for fun, an excuse to give my creative mind a bit of a workout, but I’ve been in a landscape mood ever since. I recently launched this series of 7 pendants featuring bright blue skies and wide-open prairie, and just posted this #MakersEyeView video showing the process (time lapse) to my YouTube channel.

This week, I’m excited to be launching this limited edition series of 5 needle felted landscapes. Each piece goes live at 8PM EST, one per day, starting Monday June 6th, through Friday June 10th. Pick out your favorite and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to see the introductions this week!