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Norma Lehmeier Hartie

 Artist Statement

My artwork involves digitally manipulating photographs of my fiber felted art balls. The images are printed on both canvas and fine art paper.

My art is abstract, but with hints of tangible entities like flowers and female genitalia. There is a sense of movement, vibrancy, and joyfulness in the pieces. There is a playful aspect, as I delight in surprising you with the unexpected. (Why, are those flowers or something a little sexier?) The intricacy of the details in the layers of the fibers invite you to linger—and meditate—over the smallest of details, while the perceived movement cause the eyes to roam and enjoy the many parts of the work.

A project begins with wet felting, the initial layers are created loosely and my main concern is even application of materials and a pleasing melding of colors. Then many layers of fibers are added with felting needles; it is like painting but with wool, metallic thread and other fibers. The artwork is very intricate and is three dimensional. As the final layers are added, the smallest details unfold, my perception shifts to a quiet, meditative state and every tiny piece is deliberate. In this space of creation, a metallic thread or a snippet of silk must be placed just so; when it works, it feels alive.

The current pieces being shown on the website were from a very labor intensive project that took over a year to complete. It is a large “fiber ball.” As a globe, the fiber ball has countless facets. And, by using technology like the Better Light digital camera with its megapixel capability, I make multiple scans of the ball, capturing its varying surfaces with breathtaking accuracy and transforming the work into a whole new dimension. The scans are further manipulated by cropping or magnifying them until the desired effect is achieved. Each image in this gallery is thus “related,” as they are all from the same fiber ball.

I am currently working on the photographs of a new felted fiber ball and those will be available soon. 3/22/2019.


I grew up in Cortlandt Manor, New York and currently live in New York City.

The “Craft Boom” was having its heyday in the Seventies and my middle school had a unified arts program where we learned how to make a wonderful variety of crafts, including rug latch hooking, print making, macramé, batiking and much more. It was very inspiring.

I was also lucky enough to grow up near a yarn store called the Niddy Noddy, an inimitable shop in Croton, New York, with two floors filled with hand-dyed and unique yarns. The owner was the talented (and legendary, in fiber circles) Irene Miller. Her passion for the fiber arts was infectious; and she started me on my lifelong journey as a fiber artist.

In High School, I wanted to go beyond the basics of what I had learned and turned to the school and town libraries and bookstores for their books on making fiber art. I spent countless hours studying them and worked on my own with supplies from the Niddy Noddy and elsewhere.

Through the textile and art books, I was inspired by Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago and other pioneers in the fiber arts.

I have become proficient in a variety of the fiber arts, including felting, rug making, stitchery, quilts, sewing and sculpture and most recently, digital photography.

I am a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and attended Parson School of Design to study Interior Design. While I always worked on my craft, I pursued her other interests in writing and interior design.

My work as an interior designer led to writing the award-winning book Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet and Sell Your Home Fast in a Buyer’s Market: Secrets from an Expert Green Feng Shui Staging Designer.

While I enjoyed writing books and my design work, the discovery of felting, sewing with felt material and photography became new passions and I decided to devote myself full time to the arts. With felting, I work primarily with wool, but also fibers such as silk, metal thread and cotton.  Felting is a process whereby individual pieces of fiber become fused using hot water, soap and friction. Going beyond classic felting, I add many layers of fibers for complexity and detail and dimension until the piece becomes very intricate. My current work is a series of felting three dimensional balls.

The photography came into play when it became apparent that the complexity and details of the fiber ball could be revealed in an alternative way for further expression and appreciation. The solution was to scan the ball from different angles and then digitally manipulate them. The result is dynamic and striking photographs that capture the minute details and movement of the fiber pieces and showcase them in a new and exciting light.

Copyright © 2021 Norma Lehmeier Hartie