Emily Felderman's artwork is the embodiment of a beautiful journey.
A gathering of lucky folks joined us at Bolt & Spool a few weeks ago to learn a bit about this journey. It was an exquisite demonstration of not knowing where you will end up once you let yourself be cajoled by shape, texture and color.
About 10 or 15 years ago, Emily - already a clay artist and art teacher at Laurel School for girls here in Cleveland - came into possession of items from her grandparents' home. Not the usual antiques and heirloom china that, she says, her siblings scooped up; but containers of old buttons and thread belonging to her grandmother and a box of old gears of her grandfather's.
Having young children at the time, Emily says they all spent time sorting buttons by size or shape as a game. And then she took to stitching them onto pieces of fabric. This was the beginning.
She brought the button pieces that were her first works including things she said she looks at now and doesn't like at all.
But, like her box of gears, each subsequent iteration was a cog in the development of her current work. While her work remains bright and playful, it has certainly matured with time.
After the buttons, she started experimenting with just stitches and then layering colors, and then sketching out the designs before stitching, and then just free-form stitching with, perhaps, a simple basting stitch as a guide for form.
More recently she dug into the box of gears and began stitching those onto fabric and then actually cutting up larger pieces and incorporating the stitched parts into the gear openings...and then she moved onto to antique scissors!
While we all stood aghast at the intricacies of her tiny tiny stitches, questioned her eyesight, and marveled at the time it takes to make each work of art (about 4 hours for one square inch on her more densely populated pieces)...Emily says she finds the act of making all of the thousands of tiny stitches meditative.
"I even love the the feel of the thread as it pulls through the fabric,"
she says smiling.
I'm guessing she's blown through her grandmother's stash of thread, because Emily now uses simple Gütermann poly thread and a #11 embroidery needle for her creations. She mostly stitches on cotton with a wool felt backing. Hmmm, but she sure loved the Merchant & Mills linen we gave her for the demonstration!
To end the evening, Emily offered a hands on demonstration to those who wished to try her technique. We had hoops and linen and floss available. Those who took the five or ten minutes to experiment were equally attracted to the calming aspects of the mistake-proof, no-pressure nature of this art form. (Once they got the needle threaded, that is.)
Her current textile/stitching experiments lie in working more texture into her pieces and layering the stitches so densely that they pull the fabric and felt interfacing into almost a three-dimensional form.
Calm and passion permeate her lovely works; and her smile and wonderfully warm persona is an absolute delight.
We are honored to have the amazing artwork of Emily Felderman hanging in our boutique for another week (through April 21st) so stop by and see her work. There are a few unsold pieces left!
...thank you to whoever left us their practice piece 💕