Fiber artist Michelle DelCarlo is a one-woman cottage industry, running Little Lady Fiber Studio, located in Del Ray.
“I make one-of-a kind pieces that I sell locally, and I’m developing an Etsy store as well,” DelCarlo said via an email interview. “Mostly, I display my art at Del Ray Artisans, a really wonderful space that is incredibly encouraging of its community to present their work and support one another as artists.”
DelCarlo has been playing with fiber since she was a little girl. “My grandmother is a quilter and my grandfather is an artisan who weaves Nantucket-style baskets. I learned a lot from both of them on why to be interested in fiber arts at any age,” she said.
“I’ve been fully participating and showing my art for about a year now, and have been knitting for a little over two years. I’m always eager to learn more about our industry and see how I can participate even more,” DelCarlo said. She currently is pursuing The Knitting Guild of America’s Master Knitter pin program.
DelCarlo describes Little Lady Fiber Studio as having a unique blend of tradition, innovation, mischief and elegance. “All of my pieces are rooted in cherished knitting patterns and techniques,” she said.
Until two-and-a-half years ago, the Pacific Northwest was her home. A job at the Smithsonian brought her to Old Town and, shortly after moving, she realized the pace of life on the East Coast was starting to disconnect her from her creative side. “Visiting fibre space was one of the first things I did to explore my interest in knitting.” And, DelCarlo said, she finds Old Town itself to be a delightful inspiration, with its unique mix of history, tradition, contemporary art, fashion and people.
Another source of inspiration is her day job, where she works at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation as the Spark!Lab National Network Manager. “In Spark!Lab, we believe everyone is inventive, and we provide opportunities for children and families to explore their own inventive creativity through a variety of hands-on activities,” she said.
“Two of the big ideas we support in Spark!Lab is that failure is part of invention, and that everyone is inventive,” DelCarlo said. “When I’m stuck on a new idea for a knitting pattern, or fail at a new knitting technique, I always remember that I need to be resilient in order to be successful. And I’m always trying new ways to use and display fiber, which is a very inventive thing to do!”
DelCarlo said her goal is “to make fiber art that is both beautiful to look at and also makes people think, ‘Huh, I never would have thought to do that.’
“It’s my hope that those are the kind of pieces people want to display in their homes, give to one another as gifts, and treasure for a lifetime,” she said.
You can reach DelCarlo at firstname.lastname@example.org and her fiber art can be seen on her blog at www.michelledelcarlo.com. She will send out emails to those folks interested in purchasing her one-of-a-kind pieces, and she’ll also notify fans when her Etsy store is up and running. Just shoot her a note if you’re interested!