Browsed by
Tag: community

About The Studio Site

About The Studio Site

Can you believe it’s just over 5 years since we first started the Felting and Fiber Studio site and blog? We’ve had a lot of new visitors and commentors on the blog recently, and lots of new members on the forum too, so I thought it might be time to do a reminder about everything we have to offer here on the Studio site. The main page where all the blog posts appear is the ‘Home‘ page. Whenever you open the website up, this will be the page it brings you to, so after having a good look around, click ‘Home’ to bring you back here.

1-home-pageThe ‘Contact Us‘ page is for getting in touch with us about anything which doesn’t relate to any of the blog posts or other pages. Maybe you have an idea for a Guest Post, or some info we can add to the site, or just want to make sure you don’t miss out on any classes! Leave your name and contact email and send us a message in the ‘comment’ box.

2-contact-usIn the drop down menu under ‘Online Classes‘, you’ll find a list of the classes we offer.

3a-online-classesIf you hover over each one in the menu, you’ll find they all have sub-pages, where you will find more information, testimonials and galleries of work produced by the students who took the classes.

3b-online-classes The ‘About Us’ page tells you a little bit about why we started the Studio site, and there are sub pages for each of us with some info about ourselves and our interests.

5-about-usThe Felting page gives a brief outline about what felting is, and in the drop down menu, different types of felting: Machine, Needle, Nuno and Wet, all have their own pages with more in depth info and sub-pages with galleries of examples.

6-felting-pageMost fibre artists like to branch out a bit from their main area of interest, and you probably know from our blog posts that we do too, so it’s no surprise we have a ‘Mixed Media‘ section on the website. As well as the Mixed Media page, there are sub-pages for Beading, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching and Surface Design. Each of these pages also have gallery pages featuring lots of work and inspiration.

7-mixed-mediaThe Fibers section is packed full of information about wool and other animal fibres. The main Fibers page explains some of the different terms that are used to describe wool in its various stages of processing. The Wool and Other Animal Fibers page has a lot of information about wool, and animal fibres such as Alpaca, Angora goat, Llama and Camel. There is also an explanation of the Micron and Bradford Count systems of measuring a fibre’s fineness or coarseness; and a PDF guide to the most common sheep breeds and their Bradford and Micron numbers. The gallery page features photos of different animal fibres. Preparing Fibers has a guide to processing your own wool, from washing a raw fleece to carding it into fluffy batts ready for felting or spinning. There is a photo set and detailed description. And if you want to go even further in fibre prep, have a look at the Dyeing page for some inspiration.

8-fibresThe ‘Other Fibers‘ section has lots of photos and info about the fibres and fabrics we commonly use in felting such as silk and organza fabrics; fibre prepared into tops like bamboo, banana, viscose, and the more unusual fibres like crimped nylon, plastic and Angelina fibres.
There are individual pages for Silk; other Protein Fibres; Cellulose Fibres, Synthetic Fibres and also Fabrics. The gallery sub-pages for each one feature lots of uses of all the different fabrics and fibres.

9-other-fibresA site full of info wouldn’t be complete without a Tutorials section. There are free Dyeing, Felting, Fiber preparation and Mixed media tutorials all written by one of us, including a video on how to make your own roving using a diz, PDFs on Degumming silk and dyeing it; Stitching on felt, making mixed media wall art, using a sander for wet-felting, a beginners guide to using a drop spindle and dyeing with food colouring.

10-tutorialsAnd if you can’t find what you want there, there are also links to outside sites in the Links/Resources section, including rosiepink’s free felting tutorials and their fantastic e-book showing how to make amazing felt artwork and some felting and fibre suppliers too. A fairly recent addition to the site is the ‘Shop‘, where you can safely and securely buy various books, e-books and tutorials on wet felting and needle felting.

11-shopOne thing the Felting and Fiber Studio site needs and which has helped it be so succesful is a Community.

12-communityWe’ve been so lucky to get to know and become friends with so many like-minded people from all over the world. From 4 of us starting the site 5 years ago with a handful of supportive friends commenting and spreading the word, we’ve grown to have almost 350 regular followers; a very popular forum; lots of fellow fibre artists and bloggers regularly contributing with guest posts; and really popular online classes. So as well as this post being a guide to what’s available on the site, it’s also a chance to say Thank You to everyone who’s been with us since day one, and to those who’ve joined us along the way, and supported us not only with blog views and comments and writing blog posts, but with sponsoring banners on the forum to pay for hosting and to keep it ad-free. Thanks! 🙂

Meet The Artist

Meet The Artist

Today we have a Meet the Artist post, with Leonor from Felt Buddies answering our questions.

Fibre 3,2,1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?
My first obvious choice would have to be sheep’s wool! It’s a lovely fibre to work with and oh so versatile – from felting to knitting, it’s wonderful for just about anything in my world. Although merino is a staple, I find coarser fibres are great for needle felting and love using them.
The second fibre would have to be alpaca hair, because the brown is just perfect for some animals I make, like horses. It’s just the perfect shade, but I have a confession to make: I don’t love working with it, it’s so fine it makes it hard to needle felt!

FB 7Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?
Can’t needle felt without felting needles, and I use aluminium wire a lot in my projects as well.
Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?
Can I say spinning wool? I know it’s not what I do for a living, but it is fibre-related and all things fibre just fascinate me.

felt buddies (6)
General Questions
What is your business?
I own a handmade business (of mostly) needle felted sculptures called Felt Buddies and Co. I specialise in making people’s pets, particularly dogs.

felt buddies (5)bWhat kind of items do you sell?
My bestsellers are definitely my pet commissions, although I also make other things in felt: dryer balls, toadstools… I’d like to increase my ready mades in the future.

felt buddies (4)What do you think makes your business different from similar ones?
I can’t speak for other businesses, but I truly love what I do and care about the quality of items I produce, and that my customers are happy with my work. I try to create a more personalised relationship with them, because that’s what handmade small businesses should be about. I have also made friends along the way, so I’d say it’s a win-win situation.
I am also constantly trying to improve my technique and come up with fun things to make besides bespoke pets, which keeps my brain occupied for most of the day.

felt buddies (1)bWhere are you located?
I am in London, UK. I was born in Portugal and grew up in China.
Where can we find you on the internet?
You can find me here:
Shop – www.feltbuddies.net
Facebook – www.facebook.com/feltbuddies
Instagram – @feltbuddies
Blog – www.feltbuddies.co.uk

felt buddies (3)How did you get into fibre arts?
One day I was perusing a medieval fair in Portugal and happened to come across a stand that sold felting supplies. I was immediately drawn to the many colours displayed, and the items she had on display (3D fun looking animals). I just had to give it a go! It was an absolute disaster, as I didn’t quite get the hang of wet felting. I gave up.
It was when I switched to needle felting that things really started flourishing. I could picture the end result in my head, and my hands just had to follow my brain’s schematics – and the more I did it, the more I enjoyed the process.

Did you study art at college?
I did not. I have a college degree in Psychology because for some reason I got the notion it would be more “sensible” of me to pursue that than arts, but then I just went back to my lifelong passion, making things with my hands. Even my hobbies reflect that: knitting, spinning…

felt buddies (2)bWhat are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m between pet commissions and enjoying the hiatus by making notebooks with felted covers. I’m also in the process of working on a tutorial for needle felting, so here’s hoping that happens quite soon.

FB 9What do you like to do when you aren’t creating art?
I think my brain melted a little with that question. Can time be spent without having my hands in fibre?
Seriously, though: I love reading and can lose myself in a good book very easily. However, if you read my first reaction, this will come as no surprise – I have been trying to master the art of reading and knitting at the same time. I also love baking bread and am enjoying coming up with different types of dough each time.
My final goal is to be able to read, cook and knit at the same time. I’m joking! Or am I?

FB 8Many thanks to Leonor for taking the time to answer our questions. Don’t forget to check out Leonor’s work on her sites and etsy 🙂

Ready, set… plan!

Ready, set… plan!

Have you thought about what your goal is for your business?  To help you incorporate the marketing concepts we’ve previously discussed into a marketing strategy to understand your goal, I am going to use the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum as an example of a business.

goals

Here is a quick recap of our previous marketing concepts blogs:

  • The six P’s of marketing — Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, Positioning, PR/Publicity and People
  • The customer is key.
  • Identifying customer problems and product benefits (Ideal buyers — our strategic assets)
  • Communicating with customers for market research

With these concepts in mind, we’ll develop a marketing goal which will be the basis of a marketing plan for the Forum.

Marketing and PR Strategy Planning Template for:

Company —  Felt and Fiber Studio Forum

  • Who (members/customers)
    • Fiber enthusiasts from all over the world working/playing in a variety of art forms

    pile of batts

  • What (problems the forum solves for members) also the Forum Product
    • Information, sharing, techniques, resources, engaging experts, experience, problem solving
    • What actions does the Forum want members to take
      • Participation
  • Why (How is the forum remarkable?) (Positioning)
    • It is self supported, membership of experienced to novice fiber enthusiasts around the world, full of resources for a variety of fiber arts, free to the user (Price)

internet

  • How
    • Personality — friendly, giving, nonjudgmental  (Positioning)
    • Creative/Design (Look and feel) — fiber graphic, easy to navigate  (Positioning)
    • Tone of Voice — casual  (Positioning)
    • Keyword Phrases — Fiber, Nuno Felting, Weaving, Knitting, Dyeing, Needle Felting, Wet Felting, Spinning, Crocheting, Surface Design, Business, Fiber Festivals, Studio Challenges, Wool and Other Fibers, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching, Fiber Marketplace, General Discussion, Shows and Classes, Take a Stitch Tuesday, Beads/Beading  (PR/Publicity and Promotion) — This is how members find us with search words in addition to word of mouth.
    • Marketing Tactics and Content Strategy –Blog, Facebook, free tutorials, quarterly challenges, quarterly newsletter, welcome email, occasional giveaways, holiday exchange, resources for information, supplies, tools, links to other blogs, resources (Network of People and Promotion)
  • notepadWhen — Things to do today, next week (Actions to take)
    • Blog posts every other day by Moderators or guests (Promotion)
    • Monitor posts daily, encourage members to post new projects, questions, resources, events

 

Generally, the goal of the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum is to build a community of fiber enthusiasts who can share their work, ideas, techniques, resources and get information and questions answered in a friendly, caring environment.

The Driving Action for the goals of the Forum are primarily:

  • Participation
    • Registering to be a member
    • Like on Facebook
    • Subscribe to the Studio blog
    • Participate in conversations and/or challenges on the Forum
  • Download free tutorials
  • Ask questions, submit projects, tutorials, resources (share)
  • Refer the Forum to friends (word of mouth)

road mapThis is a road map of the thought process of planning our marketing strategy and understanding our business goals.  You can use this as a general guideline to ask yourselves the same questions about your business.

Ready, set….plan!  What does your road map look like?

Look for more discussion on the Forum http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com

 

 

 

 

Mega Wool Order

Mega Wool Order

In November I decided I needed to order some more wool. No big surprise there! The bigger the order the more you save on shipping. I decided I would offer to order some wool for other members of my weavers and spinners guild. I was thinking maybe 20-25 pounds and I would make up the rest to get us to the 44 pound shipping rate. Well did I ever underestimate the response. I ended up with 168 pounds of wool to order.

The boxes came before Christmas no problem. then 2 came after Christmas. Customs decided to have a look in these. This is what one of the boxes looked like:

wool box

All the wool inside was fine. then it was on to sorting all the wool. the min order was 1 pound so first I sorted all the one pound bags. I borrowed my hubbies bread cooling racks to organise everything.

me sorting 3

Then I had to separate orders. It’s a good thing we have a good scale.

1488125_10153696850215527_1198658836_nme weighing wool

It took the better part of a day to get it all sorted, Ross helped with sorting and then went off and made dinner while I finished.  The next day my son and I checked  and boxed all the orders so I could take them to the guild and deliver them.  The nice thing about doing this was I got to see so many different wools. I got to feel yak and angora, fake and real cashmere and see many of the wonderful colours and the multicoloured  wools the World of Wool has to offer. World of Wool was very nice and shipping was fast especially when I made the order so close to Christmas.

4 2

I must say that I couldn’t have done this so easily if it hadn’t been for the assistance of Jean. I can set up an excel file and make it sort things alphabetically but that’s it. She was a wiz  with the spread sheet. She made it add things up at this way and that and separate out things and make my life a whole lot easier. I already have people asking If I will do it a gain later in the year. I think Jean and I should ask for a commission next time. :O)

 

 

Exhibition and Sale

Exhibition and Sale

I had a great show. It was busy all weekend. Many people said it was there first time attending.  They really liked it. They liked that it wasn’t a huge show with hundreds of vendors. They were impressed by the quality and variety of the work for sale.

We did have some demo space and they were selling tickets on a raffle that supports our classes.

great wheel selling tickets

There where 3 other felters there. They do mostly needle felting.

nancy

wendoride

Of course there was more than just felt at the sale.

laurie linda and judy rug hooking weavingbrooms

These brooms where beautiful. I think I would have to clean my house before using one though. Might be easier to become Wiccan.

Sadly I did not take a picture of my booth. The fingerless mitts did prove to be popular. So that was my weekend.  My feet where very tired at the end. And then of course we had to pack it up and take it home. My son Colin was a great help both for set up and take down. He is a good packer so everything is packed up the and into the van with room to spare.

Expanding the Felting and Fibre Community

Expanding the Felting and Fibre Community

Most of our readers will probably know that apart from the four of us who do this blog, there are a lot of regular commenters who contribute too. We also have lots of regulars over at the forum and we know from the stats that we get an average of 160 ‘unique’ visitors to the site every day. We’d like to give anyone who’s interested the opportunity to get more involved.

You probably know that we’ve already had a few guest artists and writers. And we want to expand that. We want to do more ‘Meet the Artists’ but we’d also like to meet the suppliers who make all this possible: the people who provide us with our fabrics or wool, fleeces and animal fibres; the people who dye the wool, threads, yarns and fibres we love to use; those who sell haberdashery supplies or jewellery findings…anything we use in the production of our felt, fibre and mixed media artworks.

We’d really like to feature more guest writers. The posts we’ve had before were really popular. So, if you have something you’d like to write about that you think our readers would be interested in…a visit to a fibre fair or maybe a farm; your experience of selling at a craft fair or market; a project you’re working on; a tutorial you’ve written or maybe you just want to tell us about your craft, we’d love for you to get involved. It doesn’t have to be a unique article, it could be one you’ve written for your blog. And it doesn’t have to be new, we’re always interested in reading about felt and fibrey things and we may have missed it. You don’t have to have your own blog either or have written something before, and it doesn’t have to be a certain length.

B and J FabricsSo, if you’re interested, let us know. Leave us a comment in reply to this post and we can email you back, or PM one of us on the forum. If you have something you want to promote or feature for a specific date, like a craft or fibre fair, try to let us know in good time so we can schedule it. Thanks 🙂  Oh, and if anyone missed the post about it on Facebook, the last day of every month is a  kind of Promote your Product day, detailed here.

The Felting and Fiber Forum

The Felting and Fiber Forum

I’ve had a lot of really nice comments and support recently since I published my book. One thing I noticed from the comments on the giveaway was how many people are fairly new to felting or in particular nuno felting, and would love to learn more. Buying a book can certainly be a good way, and most of us have probably learned most of what we know through trial and error, but another good way is learning from each other… and other people’s trial and error 🙂

A great place to do this is a forum. A little over a year ago we posted about starting The Felting and Fiber Forum. We said how we really wanted more interaction with like-minded people to share our enthusiasm for felt, fabric and fibres. We hoped we would get a few members and get to see what people are working on and share tips and get advice. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that it is far more than that. The forum is somewhere I really look forward to logging onto each morning, to see what new projects everyone is working on, see if there are new replies to posts asking for advice, reading about what new crafts or techniques have caught someone’s eye, finding out what the weather is like all around the world! (We get a lot of weather!) 🙂  I was going to say that it really has grown into a great community of fibre artists from all over the globe, but we’re not just members, we’re friends.

zz 200 percent background for 1000 x 210 480 res plus text shift

It’d be really nice if we had even more artists in our community. I’ve been clicking to look at the blogs of recent commentors and there is such a wealth of talent, not just in felting, but all kinds of fibre art, mixed media, stitching and more. I know I’m not the only one who would be interested to know more about a wider range of fabric and fibre arts. And there are lots of members of the forum who would be more than happy to offer help, advice and support to those just starting out on their felting adventures. We even have a 12 step program for fibre addicts (1. Buy more fibre. 2. Buy more fibre 3…. Just kidding!)

The forum is open to everyone, just follow the link at the bottom of this post or click the forum button on the sidebar.  Once you’ve registered, we just have to ‘approve’ you… don’t worry, it’s just a measure to keep spammers out 🙂  The forum is free, which means it does get advert banners, but no one likes a forum full of annoying adverts, so…. we have a novel way of dealing with that… for $7 per month we can make the forum ad-free, so we replace the advert banner with one sponsored by our members which also redirects to their site. If you are interested just let us know. You don’t even have to be a member of the forum if you’d just like to support it while promoting your own blog, etsy store, website etc. but we would love it if you’d come over and join us 🙂

http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/

around the web

around the web

felting around the web 5 small 400

http://www.peaceindustry.com/page.php

Recycled Knits and Fabrics combined with Felt Scarf by Sassafras Design

Heather’s Red and Yellow Scarves

http://mjuliarossi.blogspot.ca/

Have you been following Liz’s journey with her students for Holocaust Memorial Day?

http://www.feltinhand.com/gallery.htm

http://woollove-functional-fiberart.blogspot.ca/2013/01/under-big-top-scarf-part-1-of-2.html

knitting around the web

http://vimeo.com/54243073

stitching around the web

http://www.wendyfeldberg.ca/galleries.html

Nell’s Textile Art Gallery

mixed media around the web

Simple Directions for Covering a Lamp Shade with Felt

Acrylic Leaf Printing for your Art Journal Pages

Shrunken Books Tutorial from Maggie Grey

http://cornit-felt.blogspot.ca/2012/06/about-our-roses.html

dyeing around the web

http://wendyfe.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/eco-prints-to-start-the-year/

Exhibition and Sale

Exhibition and Sale

The guild I belong to, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild, had its annual exhibition and sale this last weekend. I had a booth selling scarves and wraps and flowers and cuffs and hats etc. The guild does a display on a theme and has demos and promotes our classes. It’s our big event for the year. The venue is beautiful it is a community center now but used to be a church and has a huge domed center.

Here are some pictures of my booth and me explaining what nuno felt is to a customer.

 

 

This is one of the organisers wearing an exquisite shawl she knit using her own hand spun alpaca.

This my friend Judy,http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jumaka.com%2Fspinning%2Fpetfur.html&h=fAQGCIXhy , she not only likes to spin yarn, including dog and cat fur she also likes to spin wood on a lathe to make nostepinne for manually making a center pull ball) and  drop spindles in several styles and weights including supported spindles like she is using in the picture. This is her booth, she shares it with another friend who is more camera shy.

 

The Guild display had the theme around the house  and of course we had spinners and weavers demonstrating.

 

Lastly here are pictures of some of the many booths that where there. We had a good variety with both finished goods and supplies.

     

     

All in all it was a good show with not as many people as usual but the ones that came were buying. I hope everyone’s upcoming sales are good.

Demo at the Fair

Demo at the Fair

I belong to the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild. Every year we do demos at various fairs and events. This last week end we where at the Carp fair, http://carpfair.ca/ It is a typical fair with rides and concerts but it is in the country so there are horse shows, both western and english, as well as competitions for cattle, pigs and sheep. There are the quilt competitions and other domestic arts and the best corn, squash and forage contests. After you’ve seen all of that and you make it to the back on the fair there is the antique section with old cars and farm machinery on display and being demonstrated. That’s where we are, in a tent with the antiques. We don’t mind, the men who run the machinery are a great bunch. The only other woman we see demonstrating is the blacksmith.

Here are our display tables. You can see tractors through the windows.

 

 That’s our demo loom on the end. Lots of people give it a try. It has some very interesting patterns on it.

Here I am demonstrating  how to make a needle felted sheep. That’s my coffee in the foreground with its wool felt cozy. You will notice I am wearing long sleeves, my felt vest, my wool cape and some fingerless gloves. When we set up in the morning it was about 10 degrees celsius, or 50 fahrenheit. Once the sun came around to shine on me I started to warm up and shed layers. You can just see the tip on my drop spindle on the table. That’s the other thing I demonstrate.

Here are the ladies spinning.

Jan is out guild librarian and she handles the demo loom and is spinning on a road bug spinning wheel. It is designed to fit on the floor in the front of a van so you can spin while your driver whisks you down the highway.

Here is Linda first carding and then spinning from the rolags she made. She has  a Louet copy she bought second hand.

 

Last but not least is Bernadette who has a very pretty wheel but I don’t know what type it is.

We had a great day together. We met lots of new people , we handed out lots of bookmarks about the guilds up coming exhibition and sale.  We answered lots of questions and got a few people interested in joining the guild and learning more about fiber arts. Do any of you belong to a guild or go our demonstrating to promote fiber? I think next  year we should yarn bomb a tractor what do you think?

%d bloggers like this: