Jan Hurd says, “I’ve always been interested in fashion and fabrics. Years ago I had an encounter with a belt.” She used to make belts and decided “to put my own twist on it.” Her reversible belts are made with colorful fabrics and sport eye-catching buckles. The former interior designer also makes reversible headbands, cases for reading glasses, and decorative key holders. The Lexington resident donates a portion of her sales to nonprofit organizations, including local museums, Children’s Hospital, and the Northeast Animal Shelter. Several of the organizations that she supports focus on children: Room to Read, which establishes reading programs in schools where they are lacking; and KABOOM, which helps devastated cities, such as New Orleans, build playgrounds. Sales of her headbands help Locks of Love, an organization providing wigs to chemotherapy patients.
Inspired by Italian ceramics, Judy Kanigel forms bowls, plates, and pots and then decorates them with images from nature. She often uses a technique known as sgraffito. When a piece has partially dried, she gives it three coats of underglaze and carves the piece so the white clay shows through. When the clay hardens further, she colors the incised design with underglaze, after which the piece goes through more firing and glazing. “Another technique that I find interesting is stamping texture into the clay before it’s fired,” Kanigel explains. “After they’re glazed and fired, the pieces retain their design and color through microwaving, dishwashing, and even baking.” Her work, while highly decorative, is also completely functional.Kanigel enjoys trying new things and recently added glass mosaic mirrors and figurative clocks, all with a touch of whimsy, to her repertoire. A former school principal who lives in Cambridge, she also encourages creativity in others, teaching ceramics to children and adults.
Look for her new offerings, small crocheted baskets, perfect to hold earrings, hearing aids, your keys…
“I delight in the color and texture of hand-felted wool,” Susan Tornheim says. In 1977 she learned to felt, an ancient technique for making fabric. It starts with raw wool fleece, which she washes and brushes. She then makes layers of the cleaned fiber and places decorative additions on it such as mohair yarns. The layers are then wet with hot water and soap, and rolled, rubbed, and pressed until the wool fibers tangle together into a permanent fabric. “I focus on the surface design: combining and coordinating colors, and adding shapes that I have cut from prefelted wool or from knit or handwoven material. Mohair or brushed wool yarns add linear elements and contrasting color. All these additions meld with the combed batts of wool underneath them during the felting process. I shape the felt in the wet stage. By pressing, squeezing and rolling, I coax the felt to take the desired form.” Once the fabric is dry and trimmed, the artist adds hand-knit portions to certain hat styles. These knitted areas let her play with color and texture in connection with the felted part. Knitting also helps shape the hats and makes them fit better. In addition, she makes felted earbands, scarves, balls, and pillows, as well as all-knit hats.