Brookelynn Morris is the kind of multi-talented and multi-disciplined crafter with lots of ideas. Ask her just about anything, and she’ll have either done it or will help you figure out how to make it. She is always working on a number of craft projects and her creative energy is addictive to be next to. I first got to meet this wonderful crafter at the Maker Faire last year and also got to hang out with her at last summer’s Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, where I first got a glimpse of Brookelynn’s cute felted fruits.
Fast forward to today and Brookelynn’s felted fruit project graces the cover of CRAFT: 02. I got a chance to talk more with Brookelyn about her love of crafting and how anyone can get started in needle felting.
Nat: Your needle felting fruit is the cover project to CRAFT:02! How do you feel about that?
Brookelynn: I have been following the indy craft scene for quite awhile, especially in mags and on the internet. I always thought that to be published you had to be a superstar with a name in marquis lights. So I was totally shocked when I got the phone call from the CRAFT design department, saying my art might go on the cover.
Nat: What was the inspiration behind felting fruit?
Brookelynn: I chose fruit for this project mostly because I wanted to show great colors and classic forms. The strawberry is a perfect piece to learn needlefelting with. You can practice all the basic techniques while working on a simple and adorable bit of art. And lucky for me, fake food is really hot right now.
Nat: Needle felting is getting quite the buzz. What are some resources out there that can help a crafter get started? What are the tools you use?
Brookelynn: Needlefelting is blowing up. The Felting Forum is a perfect place to begin learning about the possibilities with wool. Craftster, too. As for tools, my personal favorite is the star shape, 38 gauge needle. The market is filled with multi-needle tools, and even machines, but I’ve always been satisfied with a single needle, sharp as can be. I am the opposite with fibers though. I think artists trying this will soon realize that there is no such thing as too much wool. My favorite fibers right now include Sparkle Fluff, and some baby camel hair that I received as a gift.
Nat: How did you get interested in crafts?
Brookelynn: I think any child is always involved with making things, and I was no exception. I could sit and fingerknit for hours at a time. I think as an adult, my motivation to make things comes from not wanting to buy what I could make.
Nat: What other kinds of crafts do you do?
Brookelynn: I am really into a wide variety of crafts. I love to bake. I try to turn any cake into an art project. One craft that I am always working on is flower arranging. I love to grow flowers and vines in my garden and then combine them wih exotics I find at markets. I love a particular style of Japanese flower arranging called Soshin-Jiyuka. It is very sparse and balanced. And wearable flowers fascinate me. I love creating unusual corsages and floral barettes. Nothing could be more beautiful.
Nat: Can you share a craft tip with us?
Brookelynn: I think that the most useful craft tip I can offer people right now is to tell them all to go to Maker Faire. I truly believe that there is not a better place on the planet to go get inspiration and widen your skill sets. Last year I learned hands on how to sew a simple circuit with conductive thread. I also learned bookbinding, how to make LED throwies, and tons of new clothing re-con techniques. There is one in California and one in Austin this year. It is a big deal, and more than worth it for any crafter.
Nat: Please share with us a few of your past craft projects.
Brookelynn: Some of my more successful completed projects include: making hula-hoops, making wool dreadlocks, needlefelted animals, and sewing hats from fulled sweaters. I am still working like crazy making wool dread extensions. I am hoping they will be successful on the craft market.
Nat: What are some of the craft projects you are working on now?
Brookelynn: My current project is unlike anything I have ever done before. My husband Nat and I are tanning a fox pelt. Working with the skin has reminded me that crafting is something people used to do out of necessity, not as art alone. Tanning is such an involved process; I never would have imagined that I would be teaching myself the techniques. In the olden days, they used brains to preserve and soften the hide. I am using different chemical stages, known as Chrome Tanning, but there are half a dozen different other methods as well. It is an unbelievable learning process. My goal is to use the fur to make a modern heirloom.