High on the back wall of the newly relocated Napa Bookmine book store is a textile design, the shape reminiscent of birds’ wings. The thick teal fabric is patterned in an intricate design. The piece was designed and fabricated by Napa business Yolotli.
“It’s 100% wool felt,” said textile designer Nicole Kelly, owner of Yolotli. “It’s made by tacking, smocking and folding the material. My designs, such as my embroidered samplers, had always been small, and I’d wanted to go large. Bookmine owner Naomi (Chamblin) had asked me about a 3-D design that would be sound dampening. I’d like to do more pieces like that.”
Perhaps known locally more for her minimalistic clothing line, Kelly said, “I can’t stop making things.”
The name Yolotli means “heart,” and comes from the Nahuatl, a native language of Mexico. Since her first visit to Mexico in 2003, she has felt a deep connection with the country itself and culture. Her work is even carried by the Carla Fernández Flagship Store in Mexico City, Mexico.
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Kelly grew up in the Black Forest region of Germany, playing with Waldorf dolls, a simple cloth doll with minimal facial features, made with only natural fiber such as wool, cotton or linen, from their stuffing to their hair.
“A large part of the German curriculum is crafting,” said Kelly. “My mom also handmade a lot of things. I sewed, knitted and crocheted. I was the only child in school who did knitting homework by myself. The others had their grandmothers or mothers help or do it for them. Mom had a closet full of linens. Textiles and traditional costumes, famous internationally, interested me.”
“I like everything about hand embroidery. I also do hand pull, a