Ode to the Log Lady

Ode to the Log Lady

Location #12

Beth Harwood

Franconia, NH

www. northeastfeltmakersguild.org

Growing up in southern NH on a dead-end road surrounded by woods, Beth Harwood spent many hours among the trees, exploring the flora and fauna of her surroundings.  It was a magical place of mostly hardwoods, wild flowers, and many moss-covered boulders to hide under and climb around. Those little woods were her playground, her place of quiet and reflection (yes, even then) and discovery.  Little did she realize then that the power of that space would stay with her and propel her to study forestry and botany in college, followed by a brief career as a forester in the White Mountains. Later, shifting to a career in medical education, her love of the natural world did not diminish.

Beth has always been a maker.  But she did not discover felt-making until 2006, when she saw a wet felted garment for the first time. The attraction was visceral.  She had to learn about this ancient art/craft.  Felt making requires one to lay out wool fiber (it can be mixed with other fibers), in perpendicular layers, sprayed with water and soap, then manipulated and agitated in a variety of ways to coax the fibers to tangle. The end product is an extremely durable non-woven textile that can be fashioned into many forms.  Beth loves the sculptural and textural properties offered through felting. While her pieces are varied in style and scope.  It is the pieces that represent the natural world that bring her the most joy.

‘Ode to the Log Lady’, is made primarily from Finn Wool, with various other materials added to bring a sense of reality to the logs. In this case, they are a study in the complexity and beauty of the fungal decay we often find on dying trees and downed logs. Out of wood decay we find the cycle of life renewed in the moss and lichen growing there on.  Take a look! Harwood has never lost the wonder of the natural world that began so long ago.

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