Oct 14, 2015

A Quick Fall Themed Tutorial - Needle Felted Acorns

Hey guys! I sent a poll to my Art Letters mailing list asking what types of tutorials I should make.  Needle felting acorns was mentioned in the comments, so I jumped right in to making a quick video for you! 

You can do this with any size acorn, but the cap can't be too shallow, otherwise the wool won't stay in.  The acorn cap needs to resemble a deeper bowl. Let me know if you have any questions.

PS: If you have a suggestion for a tutorial or course--if there's something you'd really like to learn how to felt--leave a comment and tell me about it!

Sep 25, 2015

Chicago Recap!

We arrived home from Chicago yesterday, after about a ten hour trip. We had so much fun, and I thought I'd share a bit about our experience at Renegade and as tourists.  We've both been to Chicago previously--I was there just a few month ago for a few days with friends for a "girlventure" weekend, and Brandon visited Chicago around 15 or so years ago.  Neither of us had really experienced much until this last week.

I booked an apartment in Ukranian Village through Airbnb that was super close to our Renegade Craft Fair.  It was handy to be close by, but we weren't close enough to be able to leave the car parked and walk from the apartment with booth set-up and supplies.  Parking was sometimes difficult to find, especially on Saturday and Sunday. 

The craft fair was amazing.  Vendors were top notch, everything seemed mostly well-organized and well-planned.  I really enjoy meeting folks and talking to them about needle felting, and I love meeting fellow felters as well!  I introduced some prints of wool paintings to the Chicago audience, and these will be lauching on my website very soon.  (If you'd like to know when, just sign up for my mailing list on the left side of this page.)

On Tuesday, I taught a DIY Wool Painting class at The Niche Lab, which is a new venue that is going to be a very cool space for the community.  If you're in the Chicago area, they are having their Grand Opening on October 3rd.  Definitely check them out.  I had so much fun teaching this sold out class, and I think all my students were enjoying themselves too!

Garfield Park Conservatory
In between Renegade and teaching, Brandon and I had some time to explore the city.  We visited the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum for a loooong day of nerding out. We found an Indian bar/restaurant very close to the apartment and ate there twice, because it was insanely good.  We also visited the Garfield Park Conservatory, took an architectural boat tour on the river and checked out the views from 103 floors up at the SkyDeck on the Willis Tower.  I'd say we squeezed in quite a lot of vacation-y stuff for the two and a half days we weren't working. It was a nice break and a fun trip.  I'm sure we'll be back.

Aug 26, 2015

I'm Heading Your Way Chicago!

Hey all!  In about a month, Good Natured Art will be in Chicago for a Renegade Craft Fair on September 19+20, AND I'll be teaching a couple workshops on September 22 at The Niche Lab.

So I have just under four weeks to make as much felted art as possible for Renegade, which means I probably shouldn't be blogging, but hey, procrastination is fun too, right? Seriously though, I'm honored to have been chosen as a vendor for Renegade, plus the husband and I will be sneaking in a few vacation days into the mix while we're there.  We're staying in an apartment that I found via Airbnb that is super close to the craft fair location in Wicker Park.  We'd love any restaurant recommendations if you have any!

I'll be teaching another owl figurine workshop and an all NEW wool painting workshop.  These are so fun for me, and I get tons of great feedback from students.  Here's a few shots from a previous owl workshop this year:

They are affordable classes, you'll get to keep the supplies, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

On a related note,  I will soon be able to travel around more to teach even more workshops, so leave a comment below if you know of a space or shop to host one near you.  Let's all learn how to felt!!

Jun 15, 2015

Quick Update!

Hi friends!  We have made the move to Arkansas and have been here for almost two weeks now. Moving from a three bedroom home to a much smaller bunk house with no doors or closets has taught us a few things.  One is that we have too much stuff.  Even after purging (garage sale, craigslist, donations, trash), we have way too much stuff.  We have been really creative with storage, and the folks at IKEA are geniuses.  Even though we've been here for two weeks, we're still not fully moved in and organized, but we will be soon.  Then I can't wait to share some photos with you!

Our Springfield house is under contract (hooray!) and we close on July 3.  We are in the process of making a few repairs, but we don't anticipate any major issues with the remainder of this process.  Fingers crossed, folks.

Lastly, I'll be slowly catching you up on my 52 Weeks of Felt Paintings project soon.  To hold you over, here's one of my very favorite recent hoops.  This is Silo the barn owl, one of the owls I worked with at the zoo.  Such a beauty, this owl.  The hoop is available here and is based from the selfie I took with him below.

Talk to you soon!

Mar 30, 2015

Some News

If you follow me over on Instagram, you've read this news already.  But I need to share here too, because this news will lead to some changes on my blog.  Over the weekend, I announced that I will be working on my fiber art full time starting the end of May. This means I will be leaving my zoo job.  I've worked the last ten years as a zoo educator, and I am so grateful for the experiences, connections and opportunities I have had because of this job.  I've shared my love of animals with countless children and adults. I started a teen volunteer program to allow kids to work with animals and share their passion with others.  I earned a Master's degree in Zoo & Aquarium Leadership.  I've made lifelong friends with coworkers.  I've learned so, so much.

But creating art is my passion.  And now I get to concentrate fully on being an artist.  I am so VERY excited for this new chapter in my life. 

As for my blog, featuring animals has always been a big part of it.  I will be continuing my 52 Weeks of Endangered Animals project. (I am behind, but I'll catch up in May).  My Fur, Feathers & Scales series may not end, but it will be put on hold for a while.  BUT, I do have some other upcoming exciting things to write about, because not only will I be a full time artist, my husband and I are moving back to our home town in Arkansas for a while.  Moving back there is something we never thought we'd want to do.  For many reasons. Some of which I will talk about eventually. But here we are, making the decision to live on my in-laws' land, in a home converted from horse stalls.  Basically, we'll be living in a barn. And we'll have twenty chicken neighbors. And we can't wait to do it!

So with these two MAJOR changes in my life, there will still be plenty stories to be told.  We'll have some barn house renovations to make and lots of farm gardening to do. We'll be making time for outdoor adventures and working on the VW van.  And of course, there is so much wool art to be created. So stick around, friends. We'll have a great time.

Feb 18, 2015


Hi everyone!  I've been neglecting my blog because I have been SOOO busy with orders.  I'll catch you up on the 52 Weeks of Felt Paintings soon, and I've got some fun news to share with you as well (but I can't share it just yet!)

In the meantime, here's a pet portrait that I finished recently displayed with the wool colors that I used to make the wool painting.  Fourteen colors, two needles and thousands of stabs...

Also, I was recently featured in a fun magazine called Bustle & Sew for their Meet the Maker series.  Click here to read the blog post they wrote in addition to the interview in the magazine. So many great things are happening and I am so grateful and VERY excited!!

Jan 11, 2015

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 2

This week I was in the mood to felt a little bird and came across the Kirtland's Warbler.  The good news is that this little bird's population is increasing thanks to local conservation efforts and habitat awareness! (High Fives!)  Before these efforts, the jack pine forests that birds relied on to breed were not being properly protected and maintained as optimal habitats for them. The pine trees that they nest in have to be a certain age and size to provide enough cover for the birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides more information here. Also, you can check out the warbler's IUCN page.

Kirkland's Warbler Facts:
--Referred to as the "bird of fire" for its reliance on pine forests that remain healthy with wildfires
--Eat primarily insects and larvae
--Summer is spent in Michigan (though area is increasing to include other states)
--Overwinter in the Caribbean

Have a great week!

A New Year of 52 Weeks of Felt Paintings! Week 1

So, in typical fashion, I'm a bit late starting this year's project.  I knew I wanted to do more felt paintings, but I wanted a bit of a theme.  With the help of my wonderful instagram friends, I decided to concentrate on endangered animals this year.  I'll be felting animals with varying levels of vulnerability as well as animals that have already gone extinct.  I might even throw in a few success stories--we might need to lighten up the depressing news about all these endangered animals, right?

Because of my zoo job, I'm very familiar with the IUCN Red List.  You can search animals in their database, and they'll report the last known status of that species.  I'll be using this tool throughout the year. I'll also try to provide you with some links to more information about each animal.  Excited? I am! Let's get started...

Our first week's animal is the polar bear.  This bear is classified by the IUCN as Vulnerable, and its populations are declining.  You can see what the IUCN has to say here.  National Geographic has some fantastic information here, including an audio file of a polar bear--turn up your volume for extra impact. ;)

Polar Bear Facts:
--Have black skin to help soak up sunlight and heat
--Prey mostly on seals
--Can weigh up to 1600 pounds
--Females give birth in winter, usually to twins

I hope you like this new series of paintings and blog posts!!