Exploring Folk Art with Wool: Interview with collaborator Lori Ann Corelis
Rebekah and my book is out, and many of you have it in your hands! As you begin to look through it and get acquainted with Rebekah and my friends, we thought we would give you a little in-depth look at each collaborator and their work. We love our wool friends! And we love wool techniques that can be friends, too.
Today, get to know our friend Lori Ann Corelis, with whom Rebekah hosts From Our Hands & Hearts. Lori Ann provided the design and instructions for the dimensional wool bluebird featured in the chapter entitled "Nesting." This little pincushion is a great intro into dimensional wool techniques. Along with it, you can make the coordinating wool appliqué bluebird pillow. We are thrilled to bring these projects to you!
Don't have Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More yet? Order it now in the online store.
1. How did you get into dimensional mohair?
“Growing up with a mother who was a seamstress, we made stuffed toys when I was in junior high off of other people’s patterns. The transition to mohair came in the 1980s with the teddy bear collecting ‘craze’ and seeing people designing their own. My mother was a seamstress for a living, so about as soon as you could hold a needle and thread you were playing with fabric. From making little things, to making clothes, we did it all. We all enjoyed making various animals. Along with my mother and sister, I participated in early craft shows, naturally gravitating toward furry things.”
I started making bears and rabbits when I owned a restaurant and sold them from a small stand. The 1980s and 1990s had a lot of teddy bear shows, and from those I transitioned into fine folk art shows. I enjoy seeing (and purchasing) other artisans’ works that those shows featured, especially since I don’t really collect bears, except for a few special antique ones. Eventually this led to exhibiting at wholesale shows, turning a hobby into a full time living. Next year will mark my 33rd.year making a living this creative way."
2. What inspires your designs?
“Mostly antique bears and antique toys. Steiff bears especially, but Bing, Schuco, Ideal and other early teddy bear makers. The really early mohair toys are the most inspiring for me.”
3. What are some “must-have” tools or materials for this technique?
“High quality mohair, hand-dyed wool, different kinds of threads (whatever is best for the job, from sewing thread, to pearl cotton). A screwdriver is the best for stuffing—it’s the only thing I’ve never broken while stuffing. And hemostats are like having another hand while working on three dimensional projects. I don’t have a lot of fancy tools, really; just sturdy ones. I always have favorite scissors to use as well.”
4. Who is an artistic influence for you?
“Marguerite Steiff, who started a lot of the antique toys. She made the first little elephant pincushion for Steiff. But I’m also inspired by my friends in the folk art world. When I see what they do and admire what they do, I want to do more and do it better. You never reach a point where things are perfect. That’s why every artist in history kept going, because you’re never one hundred percent satisfied. I’m also inspired by every early quilt maker, penny rug maker, and everyone who went before me and made these beautiful textiles that we see.”
You can find out more about Lori Ann's work at www.thespottedhare.com