Danielle Gori-Montanelli’s glorious felt pieces are vibrant with colour. Handcut and handsewn from felts sourced throughout the US and Europe, they are tactile and chunky, radiating playfulness and whimsy with their licorice allsort layers and their exuberant gardens of blooms.
Flowers form a common theme throughout her work. Lilies, chrysanthemums, roses and more hang in garlands around her large neckpieces; simple shapes such as circles, ovals and chains are also frequently used. Her colours are carefully chosen and layered for maximum vibrancy – yellow on orange on magenta on red and all interspersed with black; wild rainbows of hue on hue and tone on tone.
Danielle originally trained as a painter at Sarah Lawrence College, and it was only after moving to New York that she fell into making a living as a jeweller quite by accident. She took a short jewellery-making course simply because she wanted jewellery for herself, but quickly discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed the process and so continued at the jewellery bench for around 15 years. However, she began to long for a return to colour in her work, and that combined with the arrival of children set her looking for other things. Children meant it was no longer practical to continue working with gas masks, sandblasters, flames and harsh chemicals. Along with this consideration, she realised that she had been steadily collecting felt hats and accessories from other artists at craft shows, and came to the conclusion that felt was the perfect solution for her. It was colourful, easy to work with and portable, and it became her new passion.
Now, she takes her work with her everywhere – even managing to have a permanent workstation in the car – and finds the change of environments stimulating.
Danielle’s work first caught my eye way back here, when I was working on my series of posts for Design How-to. Her work has been featured in Vogue, FiberArts and American Craft magazines, and has been exhibited at (among other places) the Smithsonian, Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, SOFA in New York and Chicago, and most recently at the Museum of Art and Design’s “Loot: Mad About Jewelry” show in New York City. Her work is in galleries throughout the world, including the Lesley Craze Gallery in London.