Sheila Morissette

Baton Rouge, LA

All through my life I have been fascinated with the discovery of how things are made and have always strived to explore this curiosity.  I have worked as an artist in numerous mediums, most notably as a potter for 18 years.  Design and fine craftsmanship continue to motivate my ongoing learning.  My husband and I made a big life decision in 2013 to move down south from Vancouver, Canada and the change of scenery and climate inspired me to drastically change directions and focus in my creative endeavors.  I reintroduced myself to fiber arts partially based on the practicality of working in a smaller space and realistically being able to pack up whatever I create into a smaller overall footprint (and happily much lighter to boot).  But I fell in love with Nuno Felting and its’ similar tactile qualities that I enjoyed as a potter.  The making of felt is also very physical and process driven which I enjoy.

My materials consist of fine merino wool and silk habotai that I color using acid dyes.  Nuno felting is a technique in which loose wool fibers are gently coaxed to migrate through silk fabric at which point they are felted onto and through the silk by means of rubbing, rolling and fulling with soapy water.  As the wool eventually shrinks during this laborious felting process, the silk puckers and creates a lovely ruching texture and an entirely new fabric.   It is always thrilling and magical to savor this transformation.  I enjoy training my hands to have the memory to do the work while my mind can be free to wander and daydream. My influences of nature continue to lead me towards the joyous exploration of surface texture and tactile wonderment.  The work reminds me of the precious lichens that decoratively cover the rock bluffs and dangle from the trees at our west coast cabin.  

With increasing homogenous style in the world, creating one of a kind objects fulfills a need.    Fostering my desire for the handmade, I strive to create functional scarves, shawls, accessories, cushions and lap blankets using luxurious materials that are extremely soft and airy, enveloping us each to express our personal tastes, allowing us to distinguish our individuality and celebrate our differences.  The surprise of color and pattern formed by using dying techniques that can only lead to randomness paired with the felting technique that is repeatable, create an overall consistency in the individual works but also unique decorative fingerprints where no two could ever be the same.