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Hello! My name is Margret-Ann, and I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, where I still reside. I am a needle felt artist. Needle felting creates felt without the use of water. The notches along the shaft of the needle grab the top layer of fibers and tangle them with the inside layers of the fibers. The notches face down towards the tip of the needle so that they do not pull the fibers out as you pull the needle out of the wool.
I am in my fourth year of teaching this art form, primarily at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, Ohio. I do travel to teach needle felting, too. I look forward to teaching internationally shortly. I started a needle felting guild, Fiber of Our Being (FOB), in September 2014. The guild held a felt and art show at our meeting place, The Conn-Weissenberger Legion Hall in Toledo, Ohio, in May of 2015. We called it Poppy Palooza and the proceeds from our needle felted poppies, and other poppy items went to our local Veterans home in Sandusky, Ohio. The show was a great success, and we were able to donate over $1,000. We are now in our third year and still going strong.
In April of 2013, I did my first show with my felted works at Artomatic419 in downtown Toledo, Ohio. I did the show again in April of 2015 where I showed Smaug in the making. The entry was The Making of a Dragon. Many of those patrons came to see me in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September, and October of the same year for ArtPrize 7. They wanted to see Smaug in all his 4ft tall, 8ft long, and wingspan of 7 1/2 ft glory. We had an amazing amount of press at both venues.
2016 was a year of many surprises. I taught several very successful workshops during the first part of the year. The most popular by far was my two-day needle felted dragon workshops. The second half of the year I finished up a family of dragons and wrote a children’s book about them entitled Artie the Needle Felting Dragon. It is about a dragon with a needle felting obsession. It is not a biography, but pretty close. The Artie installation piece had it's debut at ArtPrize 8 in September/October of 2016. Many of the FOB members made felted pieces to add to Artie’s world. It was a such a fun piece to exhibit and talk about.
One of the biggest surprises was hearing from Professor Spencer Cunningham from the Lea Gallery at the University of Findlay in Ohio. He had seen me at the Artomatic 419 show in 2015, and we talked at great length about wool and needle felting. He offered me the wonderful opportunity to exhibit my work in the Gallery in November and December of 2016, along with Megan Nedds. Megan’s specialty is life-like animal needle felted creations. Megan had three gorgeous parrots in the exhibit, and I had Smaug, Balin, and the Artie installation. The opening and exhibit were a hit!
Professor Cunningham then introduced me to the director of the Mazza Museum, Ben Saap. The Mazza Museum is the most diverse collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators in the world and is located next door to the Lea Gallery. I was invited to do a presentation for their Funday Sunday event on December 4th, 2016. They even themed the event Daring Dragons! FOB set up a hands-on table where children and adults alike got to try their hand at needle felting dragon wings. The FOB gals helped me to greet the people coming into the Lea Gallery where we handed out glow-in-the-dark, magic dragons teeth and I Spy game sheets for the Artie installation. Then I spoke in the Mazza Museum to a nice crowd of future felters. They got to see how much wool fiber it took to make just one of Smaug’s wings, see the start of my piece for the following year, and ask a lot of really good questions about felting and fiber. The Mazza Museum gift shop even carries my book! I sold out of my first shipment Artie the Needle Felting Dragon during my month-long stay. My time with the Lea Gallery and the Mazza Museum was one of the best experiences of my life. They gave me the new aspiration of one day having my work in the museum and a signed, illustrated tile on their hallway wall.
The year was topped off by some fantastic coverage on my work. The local paper, The Toledo Blade, wrote an article on ArtPrize 8 and included me and my work. We were also covered by our local television channel, 13 WTVG. In November The Blade did an impressive feature article for their new series, The Artists of the 419, entitled Big ideas: Toledo artist is pushing needle felting to fantastic dimensions. The story started on the bottom half of the cover page of the entertainment section and took up the better half of an entire page inside. They sent a photographer to the Lea Gallery, so they included several photos. I am thrilled with the article.
The start of 2017 will be just as exciting as I have a feature article coming out in the spring issue of Art Doll Quarterly Magazine. This is my first published article in an international magazine. I have no words to describe all the feelings I have about this honor. The spring issue hits the stands the first week of February 2017, so keep your eye out for it.
Thank you for your constant support. I hope to bring you more news and needle felting excitement in 2017! Watch for upcoming news and events via social media.
Featured in Art Doll Quarterly's Volume 15, Issue 1
Hello! My name is Margret-Ann