Shiny Objects

Hi Friends,

You may be familiar with Eileen Fisher, the fashion brand that features a line of simple, elegant and sustainable clothing. In 2009 the company started a program called “Renew” where they take back their used clothing and resell the pieces that are in good condition.

Many thanks to artist Jane Dunnewold who introduced me to another Eileen Fisher program called “Waste No More”. The clothing that can’t be resold is used to make amazing felted  bags, pillows and wall art using a fascinating needle punch process.

Layers of fabric from cut-up clothing are laid out in an artful design, which is then run through a needlefelting machine to fuse the pieces together. The machine uses rows of barbed needles that punch the fibers together creating a single felted piece of art.

Click on any of these first three images to see a short video showing the process.

Eileen Fisher Waste No More

Eileen Fisher Waste No More

Eileen Fisher Maste No More

Eileen Fisher Waste No More

“Red Space,” wool, silk, linen, 42 x 51 inches

Eileen Fisher Waste No More

“City Fog,” wool, 63 x 62 inches

These pieces of art are so beautiful, and I’m using all of my strength and resolve to not go down the rabbit hole of taking up machine needlefelting!

I’m feeling very tempted to take a deep dive into it, but I’m already spread pretty thin with painting, collage, weaving and other sundry projects. The last thing I need is another project, especially one that involves very expensive equipment. But OMG, that needlefelting machine looks like so much fun!

Instead I’m thinking about how I can incorporate aspects of needlefelting into the work that I already do. Could I apply layers of dyed gauzy cheesecloth over my paintings? How would that look? Could I weave open, lacy strips of cloth and use them in my work?

I’m doing my best to rein myself in, but I’m chomping at the bit to get at that needlefelting machine. The thing is, I can’t jump at every shiny object that comes my way. I have to maintain at least a small semblance of focus, otherwise I’m too scattered and all over the map. And I’m already dangerously close to that edge!

What shiny objects grab your attention? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. I’ve heard of a process that uses cotton (and sometimes polyester) discards and manipulates it into artwork, new clothing and accessories. Some people use expensive machines, but cheap machines work as well. Some also manipulate the cotton by hand. The good thing about working with cotton is there are no rabbit holes or odd compulsions.

    1. Who makes cheap machines? I haven’t run across that yet. I’ve seen sewing maching attachments that have three needles, and you can move the fabric around, like freeform quilting. But for a larger project, that would take forever. As would hand needlefelting.

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