Tag Archives: feltLOOM Stories

Introducing New Energy & (Even More) Support at FeltLOOM!

Congratulations to Terri Stramba who recently signed on with FeltLOOM as a Manufacture Rep working with a title and job description of Business Development Manager!  Focusing on generating sales as well as helping to develop the dealer network, pre- and post-sales support, as well as additional products.  We recently caught up with Terri and had the chance to learn more about her interesting background and plans for the FeltLOOM.

FL_Stramba“I love seeing all the creative ways that the owners use the feltLOOM to create truly unique product. I have been surprised at just how many are using the FeltLOOM to make a simple insole product that is very popular and utilizes course fibers.  Then there are art installations, sound curtains, home decor, rugs from simple waste bits to glorious art rugs and then the garments that I am constantly in awe of what some of these artists are turning out. I think every time we expose the FeltLOOM to a new artist we are going to see new great creations as it is only limited by the imagination of the operator.”

TRENDSPOTTING IN FELTChristina_vest black and white_web

FeltLOOM: Do you see trends in felting through your own businesses that you can share with us?
Terri: I am finding people are coming around to Felt.  At a recent FeltLOOM owners conference Janice Arnold from JA Felt challenged us to develop a language of Felt. Simply meaning felt is when the fibers will shrink no more, everything else is pre-felt or a hybrid. Now that people are seeing high quality felt used in fashion, interest in it is growing again.

From the mill standpoint it gives an option to fiber growers that don’t want to be bothered with selling their yarn or have no interest in yarn. We can now take their fibers and turn them into rugs, blankets or fabric that they can use or give as gifts.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Stramba_AlpacasFeltLOOM: What does the day in the life of Terri Stramba generally look like, and how do you manage all of the commitments and find time to be creative yourself?
Terri: I start the day around 5am checking emails and responding to inquiries.  We are a family-run mill, and we all meet around 8:00 to get started on the days’ work.  I return calls and follow up during the day from the studio while also using my studio as a second FeltLOOM showroom.  I have the 66 inch Pro Series and a Lexi in the studio.  We also will take the Lexi to the customer, shows, or offsite workshops.  During the afternoon I check on the alpacas. I usually save my larger projects for early evening. I also like to invite other fiber artists into the mill studio.  It is really fun to bring someone that has fantastic color theory into to show them how and were we blend color in the process of milling effects the outcome.

We are also putting together a schedule of workshops that we will be running on the FeltLOOM out of the studio as well. I tend to get inspired by inspiring others to create. The workshops will run similar to the now popular paint nites. We have done scarfs, wraps and rugs and will be adding a bag, happy feet insoles, a no sew vest and some other fun projects to the line up.

WORDS OF WISDOM
There is a use for every fiber out there, you just have to make sure the fit matches your project.  Compost is a perfectly viable use for short dirty seconds of any breed of animal.  Don’t try to use course seconds for fine fabric or yarn.  But It is suitable for corespun rug yarn, felted rugs, or insoles. Grade 1 baby any fiber is not going to hold up to wear and tear on a garment or home decor item but makes a luxury yarn.  Don’t fear the blends, some people are truly allergic to wool, but for others there are some truly wonderful wool breeds that will make your alpaca felt or spin into a better finished product as well as some fun fibers to sass things up a bit…..  The only wrong thing to do with your fiber is nothing, get it out of storage and let us show you how to turn it into product to use or sell, with the FeltLOOM!

I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the FeltLOOM to contact me at 855 335 8566.
THE FELTLOOM FAMILYTerriStramba

FeltLOOM has worked hard to build a family community feel with continuing education at their annual FeltLOOM owners conference held the first weekend after labor day at Lanmark farm.  FeltLOOM will be bringing on soft goods to help supply the FeltLOOM owners beyond the sale of the machines with high quality fibers, needles, and other goods to help them with their materials needs in one place at a great price.

FeltLOOM Is Heading to the Auckland Textile & Design Lab

It is not every day that one gets invited to conduct a workshop internationally!  FeltLOOM® is bringing needle felting instruction and ‘Fellowship’ to New Zealand! FeltLOOM® has been in business since 2003, founded by Lanette Frietag and Don Bowles, who designed and created the first FeltLOOM®, a large-scale felting machine.

FL_stagedemo2

Creative felting is brought to life with this innovative machine. Direct from LanMark Farm in the bluegrass country of Kentucky, home of the FeltLOOM® felting equipment; FeltLOOM® will team up with Auckland University of Technology (AUT)’s Textile and Design Lab (TDL) with two 1-day teaching workshops on how to use the FeltLOOM® needle-felting machine to create and design textiles, April 14th and 15th, 2015.

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand; New Zealand is comprised of 2 islands, Auckland can be found in New Zealand’s north island. The fertile lands of New Zealand were historically dominated by the export of wool, and today many textile and design factions drive the New Zealand fiber community. AUT’s Textile and Design Lab was established in 2000, and has reorganized itself and its identity a few times since before landing on its present identity as TDL.

FL_TDL

With Auckland being New Zealand’s largest city a trip for learning and exploring would be ideal!  Where else can you learn to create beautiful scarves and shawls, felt based textile products and fabric; and travel to middle-earth for a side excursion??

The workshops are an introductory learning level for beginners and will be comprised of such content as techniques, layers, patterns and textures.

Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the most fundamental FeltLOOM® functions; basic exposure to the procedure and workflow of needle felting technology, hands-on use of the FeltLOOM® tool in creation of original fabric, techniques like fiber to fiber and fiber to fabric, and the overall operations of the FeltLOOM®.
Making your own artwork, creating unique designs, envisioning one’s own fabric design, and learning how to actually create it using tried and true design approaches among other guidelines and techniques.

FeltLOOM also is adding on a visit Massey University in Wellington for the Master of Design Opening on April 9th.

So it is with extreme enthusiasm that we applaud FeltLOOM® for this international opportunity to teach and expand the fiber art community with their knowledge and their tool.

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

FeltLOOM: A Family of “Fiber” Entrepreneurs

FL_LanmarkFarmFeltLOOM founders, Lanette Frietag and Don Bowles, have been operating a working farm since 1984 and started a wool mill to make their farm sustainable. They saw a need for a large-scale felting machine and there weren’t any available, so they set out to develop their own. In the words of Lanette, “We started our mill in 2003 and took 5 years to have a working prototype that we thought was a good unit for a fiber artist. We received a rural development grant from Kentucky Science and Technology to help us through the process of product development with the requirements we had. There were many tweaks to make it an outstanding unit. The farm was the beginning of the FeltLOOM. The US utility patent was allowed in 2008.”

Lexi n rampFeltLOOM, like most family businesses, has a small, dedicated group of people who do all the work. We wear many hats to do the different tasks that need to be done. For example, marketing the FeltLOOM is a challenge because there is a great deal of education that goes with it. This is new thought in a way to make products and it needs to be shown. Goal setting is very important to our focus. It keeps us on tack for growth. However, we try to have Sundays as a day away from typical business activities to refresh our minds.

Don and Lanette have a team of FeltLOOMers behind them, working directly on the business and contributing to the FeltLOOM community through their discoveries and learning of how to expand the possibilities with the FeltLOOM.

FL_SampleYellowRedDon manages the production, new product development, engineering, and warranty piece and assist with sales.
Lanette manages overall operation, website, customer correspondence, fiber art research, marketing and financial planning. We have help to build the units and run the mill.  FeltLOOM has grown consistently since it was first developed, and now they offer various models, depending on the customer needs. For example, an artist may choose a model from the Artist Series and a fiber mill might choose another, larger FeltLOOM model, such as the Pro Series or the Lab Series.

The FeltLOOM Owner’s Event is a major annual event and has become a tradition. In the words of Lanette, “We invite the FeltLOOM Owners to come the farm and have a sharing, learning experience that last for three days. We have special activities the encourage growth in fiber art with the FeltLOOM. It is a fun time and we look forward to it. Many owners have come every year, and don’t want to miss it.”

IMG_20140717_105435

FeltLOOM continues to grow and expand into new areas. It is an innovative tool that serves fiber artists, educators, fiber mills, and light industry.

Learn more by watching the FeltLOOM team live on a recent Fiber Art Now FAN Fare program.