Monday, September 5, 2011

Of bumblebees and Taos Fiber Arts

I went to a needle felting class yesterday at Taos Fiber Arts.  Julie and Ashley Cloutman (a mother-daughter team) are a great combination--and they are a lot of fun.  I know Julie because she has sold a whole whack of my tapestries at Weaving Southwest... and anyone who has that much good to say about me must be one fantastic lady. 

Ashley spent a couple hours teaching me the fine art of 3D needle felting--and repeatedly reminding me how not to stab myself.  She was really good at this.  I think she has been stabbed a few times (sharp needles with barbs!).  I only caused myself to bleed once in two hours which I thought was pretty good considering my unfamiliarity with the techniques and my general clumsiness.  Her set-by-set approach and excellent creativity (not to mention humor) makes her a very fun teacher.  (She also has a great line of zombie attire and felted objects. I suspect with the right marketing these could become a craze which would support Ashley for a very long time.)

Julie and Ashley Cloutman of Taos Fiber Arts.

 SHARP needles!

My project started out looking like this (and though it looks simple, it was not easy to get a head and body to the shape I wanted!):
And within a couple hours, had become this funky sort of bee dude:
Notice his little stinger... and purple shoes... and long purple hair...
Ashley started this great Frankenstein figure.  I love the neck bolts... not really sure how she did that.

Taos Fiber Arts has beautiful fiber like this detail of a felted shawl with yarn trapped between the layers (made by Ashley).  They have hand-dyed yarn, roving, clothing, felted scarves, weaving, and will teach you many fiber techniques (including multiple felting techniques--I'm going back for a nuno class sometime and maybe another needle felting class.  Julie also teaches weaving!).

They also have a great collection of old signs (many from Taos Ski Valley) and other fun elements.

Go visit them. 
(P.S. They are fairly easy to find behind the plaza and... they have parking!)

Oh, by the way, the inspiration for the bee I made was this baby sock I knitted this weekend.  Now I just have to knit the other one!  ...unless someone is having a one-legged baby... which might give me some occupational therapy business, but overall would not be desirable to the parents, I'm sure.

I hesitate to give the pattern (because I don't want my ultra knitting-talented relatives to steal my very cute knitting patterns before my niece or nephew is born), but will do so in the interest of not being accused of copyright infringement... because I am not a talented enough knitter to come up with this by myself.  I leave the creative coming-up-with-it-ism to tapestry design.  It is Bumblebee Socks from Knit Baby Head and Toes (ed Gwen Steege).  The pattern is by Barbara Telford.

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