Monday, April 21, 2008

Artist Spotlight - TheFunkyFelter

Although she was an imaginative child and loved to doodle, her passion for creating didn’t begin in earnest until her college days, according to Shalana of The Funky Felter. “A few years into a computer science degree, I realized I just wasn't fulfilled. Searching for another major, I came across graphic design and grew to love all the fine art classes such as drawing, painting, and ceramics.” More recently, she discovered the fiber arts. “Now that I have found feltmaking, I feel like I have truly found my artistic calling. Fiber art is very fulfilling to me as an art form, and I believe the medium where I express my creative abilities best.” Her favorite materials to work with are natural animal fibers such as raw sheep’s wool, alpaca, and plant fibers. “It is a thrill for me to really start from scratch when I make my felted items. Essentially, I am starting with the most basic of materials, usually in their unprocessed states.”

Shalana draws inspiration from the things she loves best: her husband, dog, rabbit and home. Her first concern is the palette she‘ll work with for her next project. “When I think of design, I think of color first. I love color and color schemes.” Her passion for vivid color is evident in the bright array of hues she chooses for her work.

“I really like experimenting with new three-dimensional, wearable forms. Currently, I like making hats and purses. I've always liked to make things that are beautiful art yet wearable and utilitarian in nature.” But a new direction is also on the horizon for Shalana. “I am planning to do some wall hangings and sculptural pieces this spring and summer. Ordinarily my felted works are wearable and fashion accessories, but I am very excited to create some strictly art pieces. I'm also experimenting with some plant fibers to felt. Some people find wool to be ‘itchy’ or are even allergic to wool, so I would like to create some of my smaller needle felted items out of a plant based alternative to wool or even out of alpaca, which is a non-allergen for most.”

Shalana’s day job is teaching computer design courses part-time for a local community college. “Teaching is my other career passion, and I really enjoy working with the students and helping them to appreciate art and design.” What does she find most challenging about being an artist? “Probably having the time to accomplish all the things that I want to do. There just never seem to be enough hours in the day or energy for me to be able to carry out all of the ideas swimming in my head.” She loves living and working in Kansas City, and finds another source of inspiration in her students and co-workers.

Shalana’s items can be found for sale locally at Gifted Hand Gift Shop in Crown Center, where proceeds from sales are used to educate the local community's teen girls about domestic violence prevention. “I am very happy to have my items carried in a shop that contributes back to Kansas City in such a way.” Shalana discovered Etsy while searching online for a place to sell her wares. On the web, visit her shop at

*Written by AJs Country Cottage

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