Saturday, April 9, 2011

Felted Gorgeousness From Dana Barnes

Last night I was catching up on some blog perusal and one of my mainstays, Fiona at Cafe Cartolina, had posted these rather brilliant stools from Claire-Anne O'Brien.

 I love huge chunky knit things, and it reminded me of these rugs I found awhile ago, probably via a post on Facebook, I can't remember now. Either way, thought I would dig up that bookmark and post 'em.

The rugs in Dana's SoHo loft.

These photos are a few of the rugs that were conceived by Dana Barnes in her SoHo loft as a way to lessen the noise that having such a wide open space can create. With her two young girls living in the loft with her and her husband, she needed some underfoot padding, and with a background in textile design, the obvious choice was ginormous granny squares crocheted out of merino roving. Her collection is called Souled Objects and features felted contemporary versions of traditional crafting styles such as crochet and macrame. I am completely enamored with both the round crocheted bubble type ones and the flat felted one that has small dome shapes (below, in her bed/bathroom).

Dana is on to her fourth front loading washer, as she uses the machines' hot cycle to felt the large squares after they have been crocheted by hand and they seem to be less than thrilled to be her workhorses... a bag of wet wool roving is pretty hefty. It would seem that Dana is infatuated with felting. Indeed, her home is filled with her work, and she uses a wide variety of techniques to create a number of different styles and functions. Her technical skill is evident, an obvious trait from years working with designers such as Elie Tahari in the New York fashion mecca.

What is perhaps less evident, but more relevant, is her connection to indigenous craft. She has spent a great deal of time in developing countries to be close to the hands that felt, weave and manipulate textiles in a quest to fully relate utilitarian function with the beauty of the handmade. She also credits her upbringing, in the Southeastern US watching a community of crafters and artisans that relied on local sources.

She has help, in the form of a group of young artists and crafters, one of whom is Megan Novak. Megan enjoys the time she spends at the loft, out on the terrace crocheting huge squares with a dowel and her hands in the sun.
Ms. Novak wears an organdy apron to keep the fibers where they belong. Not only do I love the image of giant crochet stitches, but her hair is darling!
Dana has shown at the International Furniture Fair, and her pieces (ranging from $95 to $200 per square foot) are sold at BDDW in New York.

Designer Dana Barnes
Photos from Souled Objects site, and from this wonderful NYTimes article.

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