TOWN Magazine Feature

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Greenville SC people probably already saw this, but for everyone else, I wanted to share this article in a local magazine about my time as Artist-in-Residence at Poinsett State Park back in May. The full article can be found on TOWN's website. It's such an honor to be featured in the July issue! I enjoyed recounting my experience and sharing how all of my expectations were blown away. 

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Flip through the entire issue if you like...and stop on pages 49 & 50 ;-) 

Photography by  Eli Warren   Thank you all for being so patient while I listed all of the wool landscapes from The Poinsett Collection. Everything is now available on my new website:  www.onceagainasam.com   Several of the pieces sold during my 3-day Art in the Wild Exhibition a few weeks ago, but everything else (plus a few more) are listed online. If you've had your eye on any of the work I've been sharing post-residency, incluing the piece I'm holding in the photo above, now's your chance!    

Photography by Eli Warren

Thank you all for being so patient while I listed all of the wool landscapes from The Poinsett Collection. Everything is now available on my new website: www.onceagainasam.com

Several of the pieces sold during my 3-day Art in the Wild Exhibition a few weeks ago, but everything else (plus a few more) are listed online. If you've had your eye on any of the work I've been sharing post-residency, incluing the piece I'm holding in the photo above, now's your chance! 

 

Share What You Know

I’m a big believer in this simple statement. I’ve learned a great deal from others and I’m always happy to share whatever I can. If you’ve ever contacted me to ask about my laser cutter, tips on opening an Etsy shop, or are curious about needle felting, you know this to be true. In the coming weeks, I have several unique opportunities to share my skills and experience with you!

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Needle felting workshops: 

https://www.artcentergreenville.org/artschool-adults

I’m teaching two needle felting classes this summer at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. Each session is suitable for any experience level (ages 8+). The first class (June 9th) will focus on 3D needle felting, and the second class (June 30th) will focus on 2D felting. All materials are provided. Space is limited and registration opens Friday May 5th.

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The State of Making online summit:

https://academyofhandmade.com/thestateofmaking/

Are you an artist, small business owner, or just curious about the maker life? I highly recommend checking out The State of Making, which is a yearly conference made possible by Academy of Handmade. I’m one of the speakers on Day 1 (Thursday, May 3rd) and I’ll be talking shop and sharing what I’ve learned about the Etsy economy, diversifying your income streams, and keeping your chin up when you’re having a down year. Registration is FREE!

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Artist in Residence Daily Documentaries:

www.video.onceagainsam.com

I’m starting to pack my bags (which are mostly full of art supplies) in preparation for my upcoming South Carolina state park residency. This amazing opportunity is giving me the chance to live in a beautiful state park for a week and create a body of work inspired by my surroundings. I’ll be sharing photos and going live on Instagram and Facebook daily, as well as posting a video journal (WIFI permitting) on YouTube so be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss an episode. You’ll get up close and personal as I explore the park, create art in real time, and you’ll see the ups and downs of my creative process. The work created during the residency will be exhibited in mid June at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC. 

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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!

The Bunny Project

There’s something about bunnies. Sure, they’re utterly adorable and their skittishness is sweet, but they’re also quite clever, and perhaps a little bit spooky at times. Their secret lives make me awfully curious. Bunnies are my most beloved muse, and after months and months of holiday craft shows, holiday orders, and the holiday rush in general, I finally took a little time to make something just for fun. This collection was purely for my own enjoyment, but since several of my handmade pieces sold within hours of being posted, it would seem I’m not alone in my obsession with bunnies. Bunny lovers unite!

“The Bunny Project” had been stewing in my mind since early October, but during that time of year I simply don’t have the luxury of working on anything ol’ thing I feel like. I’m swamped keeping up with orders and preparing for craft shows, and getting ahead or developing new product ideas is just not possible in those busy months. As a reward for getting through a record breaking fall season, I treated myself to some time off after Christmas and finally made the bunnies I’d been imagining for so long. Some of them, at least. I have a list of about 30 cotton-tailed characters and was only able to produce 9 of them so far.

Will there be more bunnies in the future? YES!!! I don’t know when exactly, but I promise to add to #thebunnyproject as soon as I can. After all, bunnies are my favorite thing in the world to create.

So how are these creatures made anyway? Each bunny is needle felted with dyed wool fiber - no glue, no sewing, no hot water is involved. Just a bundle of roving (sheep’s wool that’s been cleaned and carded), a barbed felting needle, and lots of patience. These pieces took anywhere from 2 to 7 hours to make by hand. It’s a very time consuming craft, but I enjoy it!

Here’s a peek at what goes into making a small bunny. This time lapse video documents the 2 ½ hours it took me to needle felt a fairly simple rabbit, so you can see how it all comes together from start to finish.

Click Below to watch me make, or CLICK HERE to watch on my YouTube channel:

My material list is short:

-Polyfill wrapped in yarn (to create the form for the body & head)

-Pipe cleaners (to give the legs and arms rigidity)

-About 3-4 oz. of roving

-Flat sheet of felt (which I cut then covered in wool to make the ears)

-A set of plastic eyeballs

Alpaca Dreams

One day, maybe five years from now, or perhaps twenty five years, I would love to live on a small farm and raise alpacas. They are by far the sweetest animal I've ever encountered. They're fairly small, the tallest ones are about eye level with me, they hum, have long long eyelashes for flirting, and they each have their own unique hairstyle, it seems. But, the real reason I want alpacas in my life is because they are the source of one of the many materials I use in my fiber art. I spend a few hundred hours each year needle felting, and truly enjoy this tedious but highly rewarding form of fiber sculpture. It would be a joy to raise the creature that provides what I need to make more "felted curiosities", so I hope one day my alpaca farm dreams really do come true.

Sweet alpaca face

Sweet alpaca face

For now, I live in the burbs and sadly cannot keep an alpaca in the garage, so I get to visit the animals and buy their fiber from local farms at events like the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, NC. I've attended the festival for the last four years, and always come home with a couple of pounds of raw material, felting tools, and sometimes other things too. This year was no different! I scooped up several ounces of my favorite wool: corriedale, finn, and romney. I also got some alpaca fiber, which is a lot softer than sheep's wool, but is wonderful for felting and spinning. My big investment was a 24 needle holder, which looks dangerous (and it is, if you're not paying attention when felting!), a single needle holder, and a few fun things like a handmade ceramic alpaca magnet, alpaca socks, and a sweet ram sculpture made by an artist local to Asheville. It was a pretty good loot, a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, and I got to indulge my dreams of one day having a farm of my own, sourcing the fiber I need from my own backyard. 

Click through the gallery below to see photos from SAFF, my loot, and some more alpaca pics (okay, there's quite a few llamas in there too!)