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34 Front Street
Springfield, MA, 01151
United States

(413) 427-5323

Valley Vogue New Lines is owned and operated by Susan Cagan. VVNL features fine quality wearable art using techniques of hand dyes, hand spuns, handwoven, knit and fabric manipulation.


What's nuno felting?

Susan Cagan


Recently, I started to felt wool. My initial experience felting took place in my friend, Deborah’s, kitchen several years ago. We happily soaped and splashed away making some rather colorful, misshaped blobs of felt. We had a blast! At that time, my focus was weaving and the night of felting was just a fun arts and crafts activity. I stored the pieces of felt I made in my mill studio.

This year, I used a portion of my long ago felted pieces for the hair on my piece titled “Stood Up”. As i worked with the felt, I considered felting a background for my next piece. I called Deborah and we made a date to once again take a stab at felting. This experiment grew to include a foray into needle felting three dimensional features on one of my next pieces yet to be finished. Needless to say, I was hooked on a new dimension of fiber. Summer beckoned and I began to envision days of dyeing and carding to felt in new ways. I searched the Internet to discover ideas and rediscovered the art of nuno felting. Nuno felting is the art of felting with a lightweight fabric and thin layers of wool and embellishments.

After an adventure to purchase fleece at a local sheep shearing with Deborah and the grandchildren, I had new fleece to wash, dye and card. I studied how to begin to nuno felt and created a plethera of materials for a summer workshop for friends.

To insure that we were ready to share what we knew, Deborah and I had a dry run last week. What fun! We learned a lot; particularly what to do and not do. For instance, during the “thwaking” stage (our technical term for throwing the piece on a hard surface), do not have glass anywhere nearby. Breakage will occur. Thwaking can get seriously out of control when women find how deeply satisfying it is to violently slap around a hunk of soaked wool and silk.

Prefelted Neck Warmer

Prefelted Neck Warmer

Caleb may be only four years old but he is a fiber artist at heart.

Caleb may be only four years old but he is a fiber artist at heart.

Finding New Directions

Susan Cagan

I have struggled to find new ways to be sustainable in my art, as well as producing art that is unique and affordable. My neighbor at the mill suggested I make canvas prints of my recent collection of fabric manipulated faces of women. He is an excellent photographer and offered to support this by photographing the last three pieces. I now can offer them in canvas prints and note cards. I hope to showcase the results at the Indian Orchard Spring Show.

In addition, I am working in two different directions. One is to continue work on my latest face, “Mother Earth” and the other is to begin a new slant in mending for sustainability and renewal. Times are getting tougher and the clothing market is impacted. Although clothing can be cheap, it is most often exactly what you pay for - not very durable and often poorly sized. There are fine clothes that can be purchased at a higher cost. I think that they may the real bargain if we know how to repair and maintain them in artistic ways. This is not an original thought. There is a movement to use fiberarts to sustain a lovely and unique wardrobe. I hope to offer and teach new ways to look at mending and adapting a wardrobe for the individual. Mmmm…

Spring Show? So soon!

Susan Cagan

I have been enjoying going to the studio and dabbling in a variety of directions so much so that I totally lost track of time. Time is so relative. It is so slow at school. Summer vacation seems to taunt me with its closeness and year end events that are all consuming. At the mill, time sails by. I arrive with hours to work and glance at the clock and see closing time has come. Really?! Already time to leave.

Sometimes I am productive. Other times I spend hours learning how to use a new thread or design a new hanging. The show date crept up on me without making itself a huge presence until I received the email about having my artwork at the gallery on Monday. Tomorrow! How did that happen?

I finished an order and discovered I no longer have bags. That's right. When we decided to close up shop in the winter, we sold a lot of our things at a very good price. Now I need to purchase more at a much higher rate. A business woman, I'm not.

So come see the studio. It's a work in progress. Products are at an all time low but that's okay. There's no bags to put them in.

Oh no, we sold all the display racks ... And so it goes.

Reinventing Valley Vogue

Susan Cagan

The past two years have been hard ones. I experienced and learned how to survive different kinds of loss. My partner in Valley Vogue, Fran, found her life consumed by caring for her elderly mother and rehab for a severe injury to her wrist. We agreed that the cost and expectations of our business too much to maintain and decided to close up shop. I was devastated as I began to sell looms and supplies. At the same time, the middle school I had taught in for 23 years closed and was absorbed by the town's high school. I packed up my classroom and condensed my classroom materials and supplies to teach at the high school via a cart.

Close to the end of the process of terminating my lease at the mill, the owner offered me an opportunity to move to a smaller studio instead of leaving. My family encouraged me to consider the move. Their encouragement changed from a nudge to insistence that I reconsider. I think they shuddered to imagine me without a creative outlet. Whatever it was, I am thrilled to say it worked. I now am rebuilding and reinventing Valley Vogue. I am happy to add that Fran still stops in and hope she will collaborate on future projects.

New Look

Susan Cagan

Fran and I are polishing up our old website and giving it a new look. We are featuring only new products on this site. We are in the process of of setting up shop online to broaden our market. Lately, our time is limited and we both want to spend what time we devout to Valley Vogue in the artistic end. In order to do this, we are pulling back on our attendance in local fairs and limiting it to our favorites. We are available by appointment and hope to increase our presence online. Please help us by commenting on our changes to the website and our new product lines. Right now we are excited to offer changes in our offerings from the triloom in new fibers and colors. We are working with new dyes to make kettle dyed yarns and with our spinning to make handspun and art yarns. We hope to add images soon. As always, thanks for your support.

The Next Step

Susan Cagan

After years working together in the classroom, beginning a business, producing wearable art and entering the age of retirement, Fran and I are ready for another adventure. We are beginning to explore the possibility of marketing online. Our product line is limited. We are the owners, operators and designers. Sometimes we work like the dickens (whatever that is) and sometimes we talk family and laugh like the dickens (that word again). We are trying new things as always. Now it is spinning art yarn and incorporating it into our shawls and more. Fran is trying out zentangles in her pins and jewelry. We are replenishing our stock with more triloom shawls and a new design in a mobius twist. We are carding, dyeing and and drafting away the winter. For those of you that don't like wool, we are creating options in bamboo and alpaca. Then there is the necessary evil - revamping our website. Let us know what works and what doesn't. Thank you to our family, friends and customers. You all help to make this fun and something we want to persevere.