The Gnomes

The Gnomes
the gnomes

Monday, September 30, 2013

There is No Assembly Line in Handcrafted Felt

            I have been thinking about writing this piece for several months. Many of my fellow artisans, jewelers, silk screeners, illustrators are in production mode right now for the holidays. Many of them are able to make many of the same thing by creating an assembly line type way of  working or in the case of illustrators/card makers and silk screeners transferring the image onto a wide variety of products. Some are even able to hire folks to assemble for them.
         As a felter I have wracked my brain to figure out a creation that I can mass produce in a timely manner. There a  few products that I make where it is possible.
Acorns being one of them. I needle felt and then wet felt the wool balls, dry and acrylic the acorn tops, drill holes, add fishing line and then glue them together. I can do quite a few acorns this way.
Little nest pins are the other that I can produce similarly to the acorns.
     Honestly that is really about it. Every other creation is really a one of a kind piece of art work that is made from start to finish over a period of hours or days. It can't be replicated. Both wet felting and needle felting is not a quick process art form. You can't hire people to help make your pieces because then it becomes their piece since every piece will have a personal spin regardless of how you try to make it uniformly.

     I am always baffled when people ask me how much time it took me to make something. If I really told them and charged for the actual time they would not be able to afford the pieces. Each piece has wool that has been sourced from a Vermont farmer or a small New England company. These days it has wool that I have bought raw, washed and carded to make it usable for felting. Skirting a fleece, washing and carding and sometimes dying is a whole other story.
     So when you see my meager offerings at a craft fair or on etsy and wonder why there is not more of the same or replications that is why, you are getting a one of a kind piece of art. And by the way, price wise you are getting a steal.