Inspired by the mesmerizing beauty of nature's shapes and textures, I find my creative muse in the union of classical arts and antique philosophy. As an artist, I am Jeanne Akita, and I'm driven to craft unique, seamless, and reversible decorative and wearable art by merging my artistic vision with the ancient felting technique.
Much like 3D sculpting with flexible fibers, each piece I create is a labor of love, meticulously crafted using the simplest of tools: my hands, water, soap, and carefully chosen sustainable loose fibers. These fibers are my palette, and I select only the finest materials, including Merino wool, Tussah silk, Flax, and even raw lamb's fleece sourced from a small farm in Idaho.
The culmination of my artistic journey involves implementing the shibori dye method and brush painting techniques on my felted garments. Through these final touches, I breathe life into my creations, transforming them into tangible works of art that celebrate the inner harmony and peace I find in the world around me.
Each piece, born from my hands and inspired by the beauty of nature, becomes a testament to the enduring allure of classical artistry and the timeless wisdom of ancient philosophy.
ENVIRONMENT CARE / SUSTAINABILITY
I am dedicated to a sustainable creative process that revolves around ecological principles and materials. Fortunately, the trend towards natural, chemical-free, environmentally-friendly, and cruelty-free products is gaining traction.
One of the key ingredients in my eco-friendly recipe is the fundamental technique of felting. It's a predominantly manual process that demands nothing more than hand agitation, a small amount of water, and natural soap. These minimal requirements make it a perfect fit for sustainable creation.
In the Illusions Lab collections, I take pride in crafting fine art and high fashion garments and accessories without ever compromising my commitment to using only natural fibers and fabrics. What's remarkable about felting technology is its waste-free nature; every tiny piece of fabric or wool felt finds a purpose in the creation of the next project.
My luxury natural fibers hail from a vast array of sources, ranging from small local farms to regions all around the world. From sheep and goats to camels and alpacas, silk cocoons, cotton balls, sisal leaves, coconut husks, and the stalks of jute, hemp, flax, ramie plants, and many others, I embrace the diversity that nature offers.
Additionally, I find inspiration in beautiful recycled natural fabrics, like sari silk from India. These materials infuse a fresh and unique touch into my designs, often sparking the creative process in unexpected ways.
My values lead me to support local U.S. farmers who are dedicated to producing natural fibers. By doing so, I contribute to the growth of a local economy that aligns with ecological and cruelty-free movements. It's a small yet significant step towards a more sustainable and harmonious world.
Over the past few years, Illusions Lab's collections have enjoyed a remarkable journey. They have garnered recognition and accolades at some of the top art festivals, including the prestigious Kimball Arts Festival, where I was honored with the "Best in Show, Fiber" title in both 2018 and 2019. My work has also graced the runways of international and US fashion weeks, from New York to Denver and Vancouver, and has even graced the covers of esteemed fashion and beauty magazines such as Picton, New Face, Surreal Mag, and others.
Illusion's Lab online shop has become a hub of positivity, filled with glowing customer reviews, and our social media profiles boast thousands of devoted followers who share our passion for art and fashion.
In 2019, I had the privilege of exhibiting my work at several renowned art shows, including the NY Collective in New York and Sun Valley, the Lincoln Center Craft NY, the Utah Arts Festival, Cherry Creek Denver, Art in the Rockies, Kimball Arts, Sausalito, and many more.
I, Jeanne, always keep an open heart and mind when it comes to collaborations, partnerships, and embarking on new and exciting projects. This journey is as much about connecting with fellow artists and enthusiasts as it is about creating art, and I eagerly welcome the chance to explore new horizons in the world of art, fine craft, and fashion.
ART & ANCIENT FELTING TECHNOLOGY
Though felting is an ancient technique that traces its roots back thousands of years, it continues to evolve with each project, offering the opportunity to create a myriad of artistic effects in apparel and wall art.
In contrast to industrial felt, hand-felted pieces are distinctive in that they boast no seams or stitches. They emerge as a unified 3D entity, sculpted by hand. The exclusive and sophisticated texture that emerges from this artisan hand felting process is a harmonious blend of natural, luxurious, high-quality loose fibers and fabrics.
Felting is a wonderfully meticulous yet time-consuming journey. Crafting a single art piece involves multiple stages, from creating a specialized 3D felting template to layering the fibers, the actual felting process, the filling process, hand-dyeing, and adding other decorative elements.
Typically, this entire process demands a minimum of 40 to 65 hours of dedication. Each hour invested is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into every piece, making it a labor of love that reflects the timeless beauty of this ancient technique.