The celebrated Craft for the 2018 OFFF is felting, both needle, wet, and any technique in between.
My life as a fiber artist began at an early age. I remember as a young girl how much I loved to work with fabrics and yarns. I was mesmerized by bright colors and different textures. One of my favorite places was walking through aisles of fabric and yarn. Although I do not have formal training in the fiber arts, my work encompasses quilting, wearable art, embellishments and beading, and most recently felting. I love the unpredictability and spontaneity of creating a felted piece. The outcome is always a surprise.
Observing is the practice of life. In my studio, I start and everything evolves from there. As with life, I keep some ideas that come to fruition and let go of others. What remains are the patterns of one’s life that evokes familiar forms. I find whimsy, surprise and at times a playful elegance in the process of felting.
Felt making is a centuries old technique of melding wool and other fibers to make cloth. Through the centuries it has been a practical pursuit for making clothing and housing. Currently it has developed into an art form. Creating felt is always full of surprise and wonder.
I have a long standing passion for handmade crafts. After working in several different media, I discovered felting art in 2003 when living in California. It took me by surprise how the fluffy animal fibers could be easily formed into 3-D shapes. I realized I was a sculptor! The love of working with animal fiber led my husband and me to the PNW and now we find ourselves raising our own fiber animals in Brush Prairie, WA. The whole process of fiber preparation from shearing to cleaning, and finally felting the fibers into the finished art pieces makes me appreciate the personal connection to nature and its sustainability. My surroundings inspire me deeply, so naturally I love to choose animals as my subjects. It will complete the joy of my creative process if my critters let you feel the warmth of that went into them.
Learn to make a needlefelted fox with Juneko in a workshop.
Tylar Merrill is the owner of Thimbleberry Felt Designs Studio & Gallery and has been creating felt art and teaching fashion design for over 30 years. She was first introduced to felting in 1984 and has become entranced by this rich and ancient textile. Learning the process of felting was a very natural and perhaps inevitable transition for her art. Tylar enjoys and values working with wool because it is a renewable resource and a healthy component of a sustainable ecology.
Tylar uses her background in painting, quilting, dyeing, and design to create each unique art object. Mixing colored fibers with abstract hand strokes bring together these loves in exciting and satisfying ways. Tylar has always loved color and fiber. Felting has given her the opportunity to combine and explore color, texturing, 3-dimensional form, folk art and fashion design.
Tylar teaches both groups and private classes to aspiring beginners and experienced felt artists. Her textural felts have inspired other felt artists and students for years. She has vast experience of teaching every age group and every ability.
Thimbleberry Felt Designs has won many awards creativity and workmanship. Tylar’s fashions have been featured on numerous runway shows, and can be found at fine galleries, exhibitions, fiber fairs, and other events throughout the year.