Forces of Nature in Felt

A sneak peak of the textures used in the forces
of nature collection

There are many forces in nature that have the potential to create stunning beauty through fierce, natural events. In life, we are the products of dramatic events that mold and shape us and create beautiful edges. I recently created a collection of dramatic nuno felt costumes to embody these forces in nature and life. The inspiration for this collection came through observing nature in all forms while spending a year traveling around the United States in 2012. Also, the inspiration came from some dramatic events that happened in my life that have shaped me for the better.

I created three heroine costumes; The Ice Queen, Lava Empress and Wood Fairy. Made of 100% natural materials, wool and silk, these costumes are hand felted without seams. Using an ancient textile creation process, felting, and all natural materials, unified my “Forces of Nature” theme for these wearable art pieces.

These Heroines of Nature were brought to life in photo shoots at US State and US National Parks in Utah, Idaho and Oregon. Photographers Ryan Housten from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Kortney Peterson and Jim Harmer from Western Idaho did an incredible job capturing the heroines in their proper elements of nature. Models Stephanie Hooley, Jessica Ayn Lee, Elizabeth Montgomery and Heather Floyd brought each costume and character to life magically. Makeup artists Krista Ann Mua and the Paul Mitchell School students further brought these characters alive with their makeup and hair creations. It was incredible to see the power of collaborating artists bringing this collection to life. The pictures are stunning and I will release these photos at a later date when the time is right. Stay tuned!

The costumes in the making

Laying out the pattern
Laying out the pattern
Laying out the pattern
Getting makeup and hair done at the Paul Mitchell in Boise in preparation for the wood fairy costume photo shoot
preparing for the photoshoot costume design felt artist
Applying friction to blend the fibers
Laying out the pattern

These projects really set me free as an artist and helped me push the boundaries of self-expression through art. I let go of limitations and boundaries I placed on these costumes and myself. I could go anywhere I wanted with these costumes… a true gift and curse. It was a very challenging, draining and enlightening experience.

When I started on the second costume, I nearly forfeited the rest of the collection, just settling on the Ice Queen. In less than two weeks, I had to finish two extraordinarily challenging costumes, the Wood Fairy and Lava Empress, travel 1,000 miles out of town to do photo shoots for these costumes and fulfill a large wholesale order for a client. For an hour, I paced back and forth in my studio thinking about ending the collection and what it would mean. Something told me to just keep going and that I could do it if I just gave it one last HUGE push. I put on some inspiring music, went back to the drawing board and took it step by step. There were many sleepless nights in those 2 weeks. The next thing I knew, I had finished what I thought was next to impossible.

I am glad I did not settle and completed the entire collection. After being so engulfed in the project, when I finished, I didn’t know how to feel about my creations. So many strong emotions and thoughts were flying through my mind. Is it good enough? Wow, I cannot believe I did that! I love them! I concluded that this collection was good enough and were some of my best creations. I have obtained a new level of artistic expression.

Fun facts about the costumes. The Wood Fairy has over 500 hand felted leaves all over the dress. The Ice Queen was taken in an Ice Castle in Heber, Utah. The Lava Empress was shot on a shield volcano at Craters of the Moon National Park in Central Idaho.  The initial layout for these dresses were 10 feet tall and shrunk to fit a 5’8” woman. Over 16 lbs of wool and silk was used to create these costumes.

This intense project is now finished. I am onto new projects and am excited to see where this collection will go!