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Four Questions with Janice Arnold of JA Felt


As the daughter of a cartographer, Janice Arnold grew up looking at the world in landscapes rather than countries, contour lines rather than boundaries, textures rather than cultures. Fine fabric was always a passion. Throughout college she was enamored with folk art, hight fashion and studied a wide variety of textile traditions. She traveled extensively to learn traditional techniques within cultural contexts. JA started making handmade Felt in 1999 for a large scale sculpture commission for the Nordstrom Corporation stores. She has focused intently on making Felt as functional fabric and art form ever since. We recently caught of with Janice and asked her about her experience with the FeltLOOM.

How did you come across the FeltLOOM?

In 2008, a volunteer assistant who was helping me during my Palace Yurt project for the Fashioning FELT installation at the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum, located information on the web about it. I immediately made contact with them, and started a conversation about the FeltLOOM. I had hoped to get one after I was done with that installation, but my hopes for funding it were dashed when some winter storms took out my outdoor felting tents and I had to invest in repairs instead.

Tell us about when you visited the farm to really spend time on it.

I visited Casa Del Arboles Fine Fiber Farm in Monroe Washington the winter of 2011. Maggie DiUlio, who owns the farm, has a FeltLOOM. On occasion she rents the use of it in her fiber studio. She let me run a sample through it to see if it would solve a problem I was incurring with a project. My first trip was mostly an experiment – I had not used one before, and the way I was using it was also something she had not tried before, as an early step in a many step very complex and delicate process. Her experience with the machine, her expertise with fine fibers, and her suggestions were invaluable.

What strikes you most about this equipment? That is, what was most surprising or remarkable, that you think others would want to know?

I think it is remarkable on many levels: It is beautifully designed, and constructed. It seems to be very user friendly, once you get over the learning curve of knowing the details about it. It is much quieter than I had expected. Even so, it was capable of handling the 55′ lengths of fiber I was putting through it with ease and relative speed. Not to mention the customer service that the FeltLOOM provides is very comprehensive.

How could you envision adding the FeltLOOM into your installation works in the future?

That is a question I can’t answer easily. I think I would be limited only by my imagination!
See more of Janice’s work at JA Felt.