The Felted Garden » Handmade Lookup

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The Felted Garden

Artist: Elizabeth Rubidge
New York USA Artful Home Blog

Artistically Designed Felt Scarves

My husband would say that I started The Felted Garden because I didn’t want to work in a ‘real’ job. But isn’t raising 2 kids real enough?

I believe that doors open and close for you in life.  I had a very successful career as a children’s clothing designer in NYC. I still see my former life in glimpses on reruns on the actors on ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘Full House’. I always loved design, color and patterns. I understood the balance and symmetry of design and continued to cultivate my passion for the creative arts at school and at home with arts and crafts with the kids or in painting and decorating my home. I was waiting for an opportunity  but didn’t know it. And then, a door opened, again.

While at a friend’s home, a package came from her mom with her birthday present in it. I didn’t know that it was really a present for me, and when she opened it, I knew that I had found my passion.

It was a felted scarf. Her mom lives on a sheep farm in Germany and has been felting all her life. My friend said when I saw that scarf, my face changed.  I went home and ‘googled’ felted scarves and artists. I read everything I could about the process.  Havng worked in textiles for over 20 years, I understood what I could do with felt. I knew that I could do something different. I loved wearing scarves ( I live in a 260 year old house, so I’m wearing them 8 months a year! ) and knew that this is where I could start. This was about 6 years ago.

Now, I love felting even more. Every time I take out some fiber, it becomes a blank canvas. Even if I try to make the same scarf twice, something changes; there’s always something different to add or a proportion to change. I love the feel of the fiber. I love pulling in apart, putting colors together, and seeing how far I can go with a design concept. I am not a technique felter. I love and admire their work.  But I work with pattern, texture and color. I want to see a design move and change. My best scarves are ones where the patterns almost become abstract. You know it’s a leaf or a pattern, but the twists and turns of the cloth change and distort the original idea. I also love fashion, so I design scarves for the woman who wants to wear something unique with her camel or black coat, or, like me, an added touch with her favorite sweater. ‘Warm Jewelry’ I call it.  You don’t need anything but a pair of jeans, a turtleneck and a great scarf!