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At Greenbelt Artful Afternoon, balls and beads are fun

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. In his classroom, fiber artist Russ Little shows a mother and daughter how to layer and roll a small wad of wool into a ball.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. In his classroom, fiber artist Russ Little shows a mother and daughter how to layer and roll a small wad of wool into a ball.

Published on: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Wanda Jackson

Did you know that you can transform shapeless wool fibers into colorful balls that really bounce?

Making a felt ball is incredibly easy. Simply wind wisps of wool into a blob, dip it in hot, soapy water and gently roll it into a ball with your hands. But don’t squeeze. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes, dipping as it cools. Colors and patterns can be added to make the results resemble marbles or Super Balls.

Smaller versions can be used to make necklaces and barrettes. Use a toothpick or needle to poke a hole through each ball before it hardens.

Fiber artist Russ Little draws from his “creative side” to teach a packed room of adults and children “how to create felted beads” during Greenbelt’s Artful Afternoon.

Artful Afternoon is a monthly arts program, held the first Sunday in each month, at the Greenbelt Community Center, where Little is a resident artist.

One of the first things that you notice about the class is that everyone is having a good time.

For Little, that’s probably a good starting point.

“Letting go, loosening up, shaking off my fears and inhibitions, connecting with the good creative force at work in the universe, sharing the experience, the journey and the vision with others — that’s what I want my art to be about,” he said.

Little has always been “drawn to printmaking and to textile.”And he has been a quilter for nearly 20 years.

“The things that interest me most are printing, dying, painting and stitching cloth. Often my cloth reaches completion when it’s quilted, but sometimes it’s content to remain in its art cloth state,” Little said. His artistic creations range from wall-hangings to bed coverings and wearable art.

Little has trained alongside seasoned artists in various art centers nationwide and is professionally associated with Studio Art Quilt Associates and the Surface Design Association.

His work has been selected in juried exhibits including “Beyond the Line,” sponsored by the Art Cloth Network, in 2011 and “What Remains: New work by the Greenbelt Community Center Artists in Residence” in 2011.

His commissioned works include Advant Altar Hangings for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in College Park and Liturgical Stoles in private collections.

For information about future Artful Afternoons at the Greenbelt Community Center, and to visit Little’s studio, call 301-397-2208.

The Greenbelt Community Center is located at 15 Crescent Road.

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