Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Wooly Room

Several years ago as I was paging through a magazine, I came across a photo of the most wonderful folk art wool appliqué piece. It turned out to be an antique child’s bed rug sewn in a crazy quilt style embellished with animals. I was completely taken by it and decided that,  in order for me to ever have something like it, I would have to make it myself.
This is what began my journey into the world of wool-buying and collecting.
Tulip Wooly currently available for purchase. $95
Up until then my experiences with wool had been through my mother, an avid rug hooker and textile artisan. She would comb through stacks of wool while I stood by, admiring the beautiful colors and textures. As I watched and waited patiently for her, I never thought I would have a reason to buy any. After all, I was a painter! And as such, I had an endless supply of ideas and did not like sewing in the least. As a designer and color consultant, I have always appreciated all that goes into the textile arts and certainly loved using them in my home.  But I was not about to produce them.
Wooly Heart Pillow $55
All of that changed when I fell in love with wool appliqué. I decided that I could not afford the high ticket price for the antique wool appliqué and determined to make my own. What began a s purchasing enough wool to reproduce one piece ballooned into collecting wool. Collecting so much wool it seems that I could use another room in my house just to store and organize it.
No longer can I pass by wool without it catching my eye. I have to make sure I don’t miss anything to be added to my collection. Tucked away in every cupboard and closet is a basket of wool. Large market baskets of it live beneath my couches, and a corner is currently housing my most recent additions.  
Large Table Rug Wooly $385
What do I do with all of this wool besides just store it? Well, it has become an extension of my folk art business.  I design and create wool appliqué pieces based on 18th & 19th century motifs.  All of the wool I use has been repurposed, and I also dye or over-dye most of the wool using natural as well as commercial dyes.  My pieces range from table rugs and pillows to sewing notions and boxes. Recently, I have begun to offer a line of kits and patterns featuring my designs.
With all of these projects, and all of this wool, I realized that I need just one more room. And that will suffice, until I find my next new obsession.

Variety of Wool Applique pieces