The second project I began working on while in the Hambidge Residency is a collaboration. I had recently partnered with a metal artist, Sarah West, from Raleigh, NC to create a piece of large scale wearable sculpture for an event, Exhibition in Motion. This runway fashion show is a component of SNAG’s (Society of North American Goldsmiths) national conferences, the next being SNAGnext in Asheville, NC in May 2015. Sarah and I both show our work at Mora Contemporary Jewelry in Asheville as well as at LIGHT Art +Design in Chapel Hill, so naturally, with my pursuit of metal armatures for my felt work, I became intrigued with the idea of covering Sarah’s forms as soon as I was familiar with her work. I was passing through Raleigh in late November and so we managed to arrange our first brainstorming in her studio. We discussed the forms she creates and how I might approach covering them in a taut skin of felt as well as how her forms would need to be modified if I was to be able to apply free-motion embroidery to the felt skin shrunk around the wire frame. I brought this collection of steel structures along with me to the Hambidge Center, sprayed them with an enamel to prevent rusting from the soap and water used in the felting process and was delighted with three possible directions for our collaboration.
The first technique I applied was to wrap the wire frame with wool fiber and then lay fibers across the interior of the frame and proceeded with felting the wool. The structure was able to fit and be moved around under the sewing machine foot and I adore how the single line, black stitching mirrors the linear steel structure.