studio

Open House at GfG+S & December shows by Shana Kohnstamm

There are three art events I'm participating in this week! The first opens this Thursday in East Nashville. It is a group show at the new Red Arrow Gallery called TAKE HOME ART ((I don't know why they are yelling either... everyone wants to take art home.)) Over 35+ artists from Nashville and Joshua Tree are represented and it is, as the name implies, a cash & carry event. The 2nd show opens Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina at Artspace. That show is titled: Fine Contemporary Craft of the Southeastern US. I'm so honored to have two of my sculptures included... like gushy-happy-oh-my-they-really-like-me-kind-of-honored.

And lastly, and probably the one I'm most excited about is my own Open House on Saturday. This will run from 3pm-6pm. Perfect for those on their way to (the insanity that is) Porter Flea and before the First Saturday Art Crawl begins.

OpenHouseposter

As you can see in the picture below, I have emptied my vaults (aka living room/dining room) to clear out space for new work. Most prices are reduced 30%-50%.... the older the piece is, the bigger the markdown. And since I'm practicing a very zen-like dis-attachment, prices start at $45 and nothing higher than $375*. Even for me, it's kind of ridiculous.

IMG_3852So come and TAKE HOME ART! (heh)

**Cash & check preferred.

Twelve inexpensive felt studio tools by Shana Kohnstamm

I regularly find myself on the look-out for items that can be used in the studio, that aren't necessarily intended for studio use. While I don't mind spending more on quality materials, sometimes my most useful tools came to me free or for under $10. Thrift stores, discount stores, hardware stores and yard sales are often a treasure trove of ideas.

For agitation, I was tickled to find this pet food tray. Not only is it a great surface for wet felting smaller objects, but it can be used as a washboard. Same with the soap dish (Thank you, Dollar Store!). It bends easy to go around smooth rounded surfaces. The exercise ball is heavier than it looks. I use it for fulling only.

Ribbed surface (pet food tray), exercise ball, soap dish
Ribbed surface (pet food tray), exercise ball, soap dish

I don't often need to blend my own colored wool, so spending $60-$100 on carders simply didn't make sense. So, when I saw these grooming brushes at my local pet store for $4 a piece, I couldn't resist. Perfect for rolags and small batches. The pink shiny fingerguards have saved my little fingertips more often than I'd like to admit. I've only seen them offered by FiberInfusion on Etsy. Eyebrow & bikini razors are fabulous for shaving finished pieces.

"Blenders", small razors, finger protectors
"Blenders", small razors, finger protectors

One of my favorite "cheap" tools is this salad spinner from a store that rhymes with Shmig Shmots. For quick drying pre-felts or smaller objects that simply won't towel dry easily.  The shelf liner is ribbed and make for a great alternative to bubble wrap.

Salad spinner, ribbed shelf liner
Salad spinner, ribbed shelf liner

I can't tell you how often I use tulle in my practice. It's great for laying out delicate designs. It's great bundled up as a 'scrubber', although it creates a lot of soap foam. Most importantly, its fabulous for blocking (shaping wet wool.) A friend of mine gave me oodles of tulle leftover from her fabric stores. The smaller the weave the better, but even the larger stiffer tulle can be useful in stuffing & shaping a vessel.

Tulle
Tulle

Speaking of shaping, binder clips are a great tool for creasing/pinching felt. I have them in all sizes.  Foam-covered wire comes in handy for stabilizing and hanging wet felt. Some are from New England Felting Supply & some from a leftover kid's toy called Toobers & Zots.

Binder clips, Foam-padded wire, hanger clips, rubber bands
Binder clips, Foam-padded wire, hanger clips, rubber bands

Workspace ergonomics is essential for good studio health. I grabbed some inexpensive PVC pipe and a hacksaw to raise my wet table to a comfortable height. And the padded flooring was the best $15 investment! Before finding it in my price range (Costco), a doubled-up yoga mat worked well for standing on for long periods.

PVC table riser, padded flooring
PVC table riser, padded flooring

I think that was more than twelve, but I hope this has been helpful for both newbies and experienced felters & crafters alike. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite non-traditional tools? Please share!

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Easy wool file by Shana Kohnstamm

If you're anything like me, you've got bins and bags and more bins of wool. Keeping track of which wool came from which supplier is nearly impossible, so when I got my huge (80!!) sample box of colors from Opulent Fibers I figured I should get control of the situation, pronto! Simple wool file

Here's my solution: Business card pages and a 59 cent binder. Just pinch off a piece of your wool roving/batt, tuck in the pocket and transfer the sticker. OR write on the pocket with a sharpie if there's no sticker. Easy and cheap!!

Now to get back to organizing my oodles of woolies. It's gonna be a long day.