The work known as ‘needle felting’ seen seen here, as far as we’re concerned, screams CHRISTMAS GIFT! Meaning, for someone who has everything, what could be better than opening a box containing a cool, eccentric, and totally unexpected object? I say: Look no further. Dive into the sculptural work of Heidi Bleacher.
It’s not only that these items are whimsical, clever and hand-made; although they are, and we love that, it’s also that they are so simple and delightful and evoke a sense of innocence that we all are longing for right now. Right? Right!
Needle Felting you ask? It’s a relatively new fiber art form that evolved from industrial felt making. Yes it too uses wool fibers that become shaped and compacted by the maker into anything their imagination can envision.
Bleacher, who studied commercial art and graphic design, has spent 30 years working as a florist. She co-owns (with David Huntsinger) George Baker Flowers, a charming high end boutique flower shop in Philadephia. They’ve owned the shop since 1996. Yes there once was a George, he’s alive and well and living in Maine.
Clearly Beacher is gifted when it comes to working with her hands, and when she discovered ‘needle felting’ about eight years ago, she says she fell in love with it immediately. She taught herself the technique which involves working with a special barbed needle and dry wool (or other natural fiber). All of the figures, food, and animals seen here are done using the needle felting technique.
For those curious to know, needle felting starts out with a blob of loose wool fiber that has been processed (washed, carded, dyed). The barbed needle catches the fibers and matts them together with every jab into the wool. And, says Bleacher, “after a few hundred or thousand you have felt.”
To purchase, head to: Stadler-Kahn, a must-see jewel box-like- gift/antique/gallery in downtown Philly, just off Rittenhouse Square, which is where I discovered Bleacher’s work on display.
Stadler- Kahn, 1724 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 1910 Phone:(267) 242-7154