Monday, May 16, 2016


I'm back in the saddle again and bursting with creativity. I'm ever more comfortable with my own efforts, doing things on my own terms, and feedback from the public is slowly starting to build. First I'll touch upon my newest work and then I'll get down to praise and acceptance.

In the realm of fiber, I've veered away from class assignments (only because I couldn't chase family members down for size measurements) and done a few things I've always wanted to do. Each was a new challenge that built upon my previous years of experience.

First off, I made a cat cave. Since the kitties concerned are very large, I started with a layout that was about as big as a manhole cover. Wool, of course, shrinks. I used a secret mixture (shhhh) of Merino and rough wool, composing the top layers in such a way as to keep the rough wool from taking over the definition of the design. The design was inspired by the mosaic work on beautiful felt coats by Nadin Smo, combined with my longtime fascination with making geometric square designs.

The big question was as to whether the cats would like wool or not. Turns out they do! The first thing they did was sit on top of the vessel which I had decisively made into a bulbous cocoon form, requiring much beating with a vessel tool. That's a cat for you. Turns out the kitties needed an even bigger hole, which is easily taken care of. They've shown great curiosity in entering. Patience, kitties, patience.

cat cave
The Bulbous Cat Cave - Nice and 3D

Cat on Cat Cave
Initial Appreciation of Cat Cave

Next I've worked on interchangeable covers for my NobuBag. The flap attaches by velcro and the company sells many covers, which are nifty in their own right. I have used it as an opportunity to make my own covers. The following is a nuno-felted cover made from a cotton gauze scarf (yayy, thrift store!) with skulls over purple hued Merino wools, featuring a cut-away technique. The second set is nuno-felted silk, merino and rough wool. If you've ever heard of shaving wool, this cover was a hairy beast! The silk is a combination of an Etsy find and some silk I dyed myself.

customized Nobu Bag
Customized Nobu Bag Front

Nobu Bag Back
Cutomized Nobu Bag Back

Nobu Bag
First Customized Nobu Bag Cover

The next project, which needs to be sewn still, is a sheep curl pillow. I've had the curls for 2 years, but never could quite get my nerve up. Turns out that I love the project. It's somehow quite meditative to lay out the curls, one at a time, row by row. One curl was so perfect that I almost wanted to go congratulate the sheep. Good work! Since it was my first time I didn't know how densely I could lay the curls in and allow for shrinkage. The effect is partially separated rows, but I like it. Kind of like corduroy curls. The most wonderful thing is that the curls really don't felt together into a big clump. *That* is why I sat on the curls for so long. I couldn't get my head around it. It blows my mind. Then again, sheep don't felt on humid days, so it's only logical. This is to be made into a pillow. I'll post a pic later, or better yet, follow my Instagram account Melasdesign.

Wool curls
Wensleydale Curls - Soft and Fluffy

Next up my drawings. One is a bright and colorful ode to the Mokapot coffee brewer. The best way to get a coffee that tastes like Europe! Then, an image I'd had on the back burner for decades until now when I have apparently decided I can draw. Then a meditational flower. All three images are available in my and CafePress shops.

Moka Pot Joy Drawing
Moka Pot Joy
UPDATE 7/27/16: Moka Pot Joy was selected to be a featured print at my latest sales portal Society6. Quite an honor!

Free Thinker Drawing
Free Thinker - Available in Yellow and Rainbow (Pride) Versions

Transformation Flower
Transformation Flower

On to laud and honor. Somebody else seems to have decided I can draw too. I got 2nd place out of some 44 entries in the RedBubble group All About, All About Drawing challenge for my drawing Calvin the Courageous. This was indeed a fair contest, because I didn't tell a soul I had entered, so every vote was unbiased. Also below, enjoy my latest commission work, Jack Karten. If you want your own cat portrait, visit http:/ for portfolio and ordering details. This, along with the sales that brighten my inbox fairly regularly now, make me feel like going where my heart leads me really is the way to go. A big thanks to my fans and followers.

Cat Portrait by Melasdesign
Jack Karten - Commissioned Cat Portrait with Proceeds Benefitting the Animal Welfare Charity, SCAT, Inc.

Lastly: How did I "decide I could draw"? I've always first and foremost thought of myself as a textile/fiber artist. Drawing was never something I took too seriously, and when I did put pencil to paper or brush to canvas, I definitely leaned towards abstract work. Then I could concentrate on color and let that be interpreted freely without the bias of having a specific form connected to it. Then the magical tool came along - one I had always dreamt of, but which was super unaffordable until as of late. I got a tablet computer with a drawing program. The interesting thing is, it's not that I depend on erasing. I really don't erase much. My drawing is what it always was, but I have the confidence that one stray line won't be the end of the world, letting me work more intuitively and freely. Combine that and my former propensity for working with Photoshop, getting used to layers and transparencies, well, it was a great fit. The method I have used for my cat portraits has caused me to see my models more accurately and I can finally make truly representative depictions.