Local Artist Celebrates Tacoma and “Mossington State” With Needle Felt
Kira Fitzpatrick, the creative force behind Woodland Teatime, knows a thing or two about our beloved Pacific Northwest thanks to having grown up, “running around barefoot with moss and twigs” in her hair in the woods.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that this 33-year-old Tacoman has turned to the nature surrounding us as inspiration to satisfy her creative drive.
She tells Grit City Magazine the playful mushroom and moss works she makes and sells reflect her “inner forest gnome.”
It all began when Kira had the idea to sculpt soft wool mushrooms. In the process of blending small bits of green, yellow, and orange wool to create moss for the mushrooms it occurred to her the moss was art on its own. From there she experimented with needle felting mossy shapes inside embroidery hoops.
Not long after, Kira created “Mossington state”, a topographical Washington ‘grown’ in moss.
Since then she’s dabbled in creating Oregon hoops as well, and taking on custom work such as the Live Like the Mountain is Out hoop for South Sound Proud.
A three inch ‘Mossington’ state takes Kira an hour from start to finish, but other mossy creations, like the surely-to-become-iconic Tacoma beard, necessitate a more involved process.
“Before a needle ever touches the wool for a new hoop design, I start by laying out the idea digitally with InDesign,” Kira explained. “After getting the typography and composition right, I then transfer this image onto the fabric I’ve picked out, using my laptop screen as a sort of lightbox. I have industry experience in design and photography and I really enjoy bringing those skills to my own creations!”
If you happen to be living next door to Woodland Teatime’s creator, count yourself lucky; the making of needle-felted moss and mushrooms is easy on the ears. Kira is a metalsmith by trade, and sorely misses the sawing and soldering her jewelry creations demand.
“My jewelry is my most popular work, especially my oversized stone and mushroom sterling silver rings,” Kira, who currently lives in a small apartment, told us. “I hope to be working in metal again soon and I have a lot of new ideas about combining my wool moss with my jewelry.”
Despite having lived in a number of Pacific Northwest cities over the years, showing a little love to Tacoma is easy for Kira.
“I particularly like Tacoma because it’s an old city with a lot of history, yet it doesn’t feel oversaturated with hipness,” she shared. “There’s a perfect balance of opportunity, room to make your mark, and freedom to do your creative thing.
Woodland Teatime creations can be purchased online, as well as found locally at the Nearsighted Narwhal on 6th Avenue.