Monday, February 28

meet a maker

being the inquisitive little feltmaker that i am, i thought it might be interesting to hear about other maker's stories. if you would like to be featured, please leave me a comment and i'll get in touch with some questions for you.

so, grab a cuppa, put your feet up and lets meet ruth of purple pomegranate ...

Hi – my name is Ruth Lane and I live in the beautiful Northwest corner of Montana, USA. I own a fine craft gallery, The Purple Pomegranate, located in Whitefish, Montana and when I’m not at the store, I’m working on my fiber art. I love playing with textures and combining techniques to create unique pieces of art.

When I discovered felting more than four years ago, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. As a self taught fiber artist, the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfils my creative passion.

One technique that I especially enjoy is the ancient technique of felt making. Traditionally to make felt, raw or dyed wool was dampened with soapy water and agitated (usually by stomping or rolling) to “felt” the wool. I use this traditional method of wet felting as well as dry felting with needles, either by hand or machine. I then embellish the felt with free motion machine embroidery, hand stitching and other techniques to develop a unique design.
margaret's vase

I am inspired by the beauty of the natural world, be it an “ordinary” piece of grass, a tiny bit of lichen or the gorgeous Montana landscapes. When you look at my work, I want you to be drawn into the layers and details of the rich, textural surface and to “feel” the joy of its creation.

Since I have owned a fine craft gallery for over eleven years, when I started creating fiber art pieces, it was an easy decision to sell my work through the gallery. However, it did take me a while before I decided that my pieces were worthy of a place on the wall beside other artists work. I started selling small pieces such as felted cat toys, recycled fulled sweater brooches, barrettes etc. I am now selling my one of a kind “felt paintings”, machine embroidered “paintings” and felted “quilts” in the gallery.

Work can be purchased through the store All pieces can be seen on my blog called Permutations in Fiber.

{You’ll also find some great tutorials on Ruth’s blog – very inspirational, but beware … feltmaking is very addictive once you start :) }
what i've been dyeing

By thinking about what I want to do and keeping those intentions in the forefront of my mind, I plan to do more creative work in 2011.
1. Explore surface design on various fabrics including felt, silk and cotton.
2. Explore combinations of machine embroidery, hand embroidery and felt.
3. Take further classes at the Gail Harker Center.
4. Make more work and develop a body of work in my own style.
5. Enter a piece in a local exhibition.
6. Place work in another gallery in the area.
7. Blog more frequently and include more tutorials.

While thinking about the two concepts of picking a word for the year and feeling the fear but doing it anyway, I came up with my word for the year. Choose. I know this sounds a bit silly but it's what came to my mind and it won't go away. I have a choice in how I spend my time. I can choose to come home from work and veg out in front of the television or I can choose to play with fiber or play in my studio journal. I can choose to spend my money on whatever strikes my fancy when I'm at the store or I can choose to save my money so I will be able to attend a fiber art class. I can choose to just have my work in my own shop or I can choose to call other galleries and see if my work can be carried in a different gallery. I can choose to not show my work because "it might not be good enough" or I can choose to enter it into a local exhibition.

So this year, I will make my choices with intention. I will make sure that I am thinking about what I am choosing, not just letting a situation occur by not making a choice.
felted poinsettias tutorial

My perfect day is to spend the day with my husband and our two Yorkies in the great outdoors of Montana. We love to hike, boat, downhill ski and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Of course I’ll have my studio journal along with me and sketch a leaf or a section of bark for use later in my artwork.

Owning your own business takes a good deal of energy and many times when I get home, I am not really motivated to work on my art. It has been good for me to set specific goals to follow and get into the habit of working for at least an hour a day on my art. Even if I don’t feel motivated, the most important thing is to have a project ready to go so I can just sit down and start working. Once I start working on my art, the motivation is there, the hardest thing is starting. I’m keeping a record of my time in the studio this year and it has been giving me motivation to just do something even if it’s only for a few minutes.

I started making art late in life. As a child, I was discouraged from being artistic because I couldn’t draw. Of course, I never was taught to draw and never took any art courses along the way. This discouraged me from being creative. I wished I had known that everyone is creative and as Twyla Tharp says “Creativity is a habit.” It saddens me when people tell me that they aren’t creative. So many people are discouraged from expanding their natural creativity and I am so much happier now that I am creating on a daily basis. My advice for newcomers is to trust your creative instinct and don’t listen to any naysayer in your life (even the one inside yourself). Follow your heart!
using hand-held sander for wet felting

I am always so amazed at the kindness and generosity of the people I meet in fiber forums and blogs. I appreciate everything I have learned from you all and I look forward to meeting more fiber friends from around the world.

thanks for taking the time to chat ruth, i've been a loyal fan of your blog for a while now and really appreciate your inspirational creativity.


Ruth said...

Thanks so much! I am so behind on my blog reading lately but I appreciate your kind comments.

narkeymarkey said...

you're more than welcome :)

it is hard to keep up with it all sometimes isn't it? i have a constant battle between making or reading about what other folk are making online!