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home : community : arts scene May 24, 2016

7/31/2014 4:33:00 PM
Lakeside Living Design adds local felt crafts
Leslie Cervenka (left) and Veronica McGraw pose with some of their collaborative work.Michael Strasburg photograph

Leslie Cervenka (left) and Veronica McGraw pose with some of their collaborative work.

Michael Strasburg photograph

By Michael Strasburg
of The Lakeland Times

On July 16, Lakeside Living Design in Manitowish Waters held a trunk show to display felt crafts by local fiber artist Leslie Cervenka.

Cervenka is new to the area, but not new to the craft.

“I’ve been working with wool for 20 years,” Cervenka said. “While I was a stay-at-home mom for a long time, I decided to teach myself different things with wool. I did primitive rug hooking, a lot of things with fiber, and now wet felting.”

Cervenka creates many of these fabrics through the process of wet-felting, which is a method of producing felt from wool by repeatedly agitating and compressing the fibers into one single piece of fabric, all while adding attractive colors and designs.

Cervenka had been practicing her craft for years, but her introduction with Lakeside Living Design owner Veronica McGraw proved to be fortuitous.

“I moved here one year ago and came to Lakeside to have some work done, thats how I met Veronica,” Cervenka said. “I wet-felted some fabric to recover a stool and brought the fabric to Veronica to ask if she could recover the stool. She did and asked me to make her a whole bunch of fabric so that she could do more work with it – to upholster and make pillows and things. Thats how it started.”

In addition to wet-felting, Cervenka is also talented at upwolfing, a rare felting method that originates from the Netherlands.

“The only place you can get the tools for upwolfing is one Etsy shop in the United States right now, so its a little tedious but the results are very unique and you don’t see things like it very often,” Cervenka said.

While the finished items that Cervenka makes vary, they all start at the same place: wool.

So why wool?

“I like the colors, the texture,” Cervenka said. “I like that it is very physical to work with. With the wet-felting you’re not just sitting their knitting, it can be such a physical process. You roll some pieces 2,000 times so its very labor intensive, but thats what I like about it.”

The locally made crafts – including pillows, stools, jewelry, and decorations – that were on display will continue to be sold at Lakeside Living Design, located on Highway 51 Road in Manitowish Waters. Special orders can be accommodated.

Michael Strasburg may be reached at mstrasburg@lakelandtimes.com.

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