On May 4, artist Denise Tarbox is teaching a folk art workshop, “Needle Felted Blue Bells” at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum in Newark Valley. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Participants will make a 4-inch floral felted pin for a lapel or hat décor. Blue bells are expected in bloom on site, so bring your own lunch and walk the grounds.
A history of felt tells us it’s the oldest known fabric, which predates spinning and weaving. It can be made from wool using water, soap, and friction caused by human hands.
Because that is so time consuming, people wanted a faster way to produce it. Enter the Industrial Revolution. Using hundreds of sharp barbed needles fitted into a machine, wool was “needle punched” into felt-without the use of soap, water and of course human hands.
Using just one or a few of these needles together, artists today can “paint with wool” creating designs on felt fabric. These are sometimes formed into three-dimensional shapes and wearable items. Felt making has gone from the makers hand to machine made and with this art form back to the artist’s hand. If you’ve wanted to explore fiber art, needle felting is a great way to begin.
Come learn the basics with Denise Tarbox, of Newark Valley, a fun and experienced teacher with a love of fibers. Denise has been a felt artist for over 15 years and has studied with American, Canadian and Scottish felt makers. She has shown and sold her work locally and has conducted felting workshops in Central N.Y. and Pennsylvania. Her favorite pieces are hats and vessels with needle felted animal portraits, many of which are done on commission. Her work can be seen at the Black Cat Gallery in Owego, N.Y. and at various fiber festivals.
The cost is $30 for Newark Valley Historical Society members, and $35 for non-members. Scholarships are available. Call Leslie at (607) 427-8373 by April 17 to register.
The Farmstead is located at 9241 State Route 38 in Newark Valley, N.Y. 13811. Visit www.nvhistory.org to learn more. This program is made possible, in part, with public funds provided by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization program, administered locally by Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, Corning.