Robbin Firth – Artist Statement
I have done different fibre arts for most of my life, and I have been felting for the past 23 years. Initially, I
was intrigued by the element of surprise in the felting process, and that attracted me to this art form. Even
now, while I know very well how to achieve the results I want, felting always feels fresh and exciting to
me. I love working with colors, especially the rich earthy tones of the autumn season. I enjoy designing,
particularly creating one-of-a-kind garments. I enjoy the layout part and find it to be relaxing and
meditative. Natural fibres, including raw wool, are my favourite materials. I also welcome the challenge
of working with different types of natural fibre. I dye a lot of my own fibre (wool and silk) as well as
fabric. I now incorporate eco-printing and eco-dyeing into my feltmaking too.
For the past several years, I have operated a full-time working, retail, and teaching studio in Hudson,
Wisconsin, not far from my home in Stillwater, Minnesota. My husband, Harry Firth, and I collaborate on
our family business, HeartFelt Silks. A number of years ago, Harry, who is a master wood craftsman, and
I worked together to design, develop, and perfect the innovative Palm Washboard® felting tool. Our goal
was to create an ergonomic tool that makes the felting process faster and easier on the body. The now
patented Palm Washboard® line of specialized felting tools continues to be entirely hand-made by Harry
in our family workshop. I use the Palm Washboard® tools in every part of the process, from felting to
fulling, and they have truly transformed the felting experience for me and for hundreds of felters around
the world who use the Palm Washboard® in their work.
Over the years, I have developed a variety of original workshops on various felting and dyeing
techniques. For a time, I taught felting classes locally, primarily at the renowned Textile Center in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. More recently, I have traveled to conduct felting workshops around the United
States and internationally. Last year, I released my first online video tutorial on the felted wool loose lock
shawl with ruffles.
My collection of wearable and decorative fiber art consists of garments, accessories, home decor objects,
and wall art. My work has been in several exhibitions, publications, and is in many private collections in
the US and abroad.
My studio is usually filled with lots of colorful fibre, my latest felting project on the table, bundles of eco-printed fabrics in the dye pot, and, sometimes, one of our Saint Bernards at my feet. HeartFelt Silks is all
about family, and our daughter Kirsten models all of my garments.
I love using social media to connect with my community of friends, colleagues, and students. I regularly
share in-progress photos, video tips, and other feltmaking and dyeing content on Facebook
(https://www.facebook.com/heartfeltsilks/) and on Instagram
( https://www.instagram.com/heartfelt_silks/ ), and I would love to hear from you there.