Collector’s Choice: Sylvia Brestel



Sylvia Brestel

Elegant Wearable Art, Hand Felted Silk and Wool

On a hot July day in 2012…

I sat at my kitchen table to make my first hand felted bowl from wool. The sensation of manipulating the soft, natural fibers in my hands seemed comfortably familiar to me and led me to ask “what if I tried this…or this…”

As a child, I enjoyed working with pieces of this and that – cloth, paper, thread, yarn, and anything else that I could find to keep my hands busy creating dolls, clothes for my dolls, wall hangings, pillows, and little bags.




Time appears to stand still while I am intently putting pieces in place to create a whole, especially if the work involves hand stitching or beading. Creating art is a very deliberate and meditative act of process. Like writing music or putting a puzzle together.

Felting is a lot about putting pieces together to create a whole. Throughout my handmade journey, the “what ifs” continued. I explored nuno felting, dyeing and painting and shibori binding using techniques of hand tying and hand sewing. I applied what I had learned from working with fiber and other media and researched information online. The processes of surface design and ways to create texture are abundant.



When I cook, I scan the recipe and then do my own thing adding a little of this and a little of that. Cooking, like many things I enjoy, is intuitive to me. A piece of this, a piece of that.

For me, working with fiber is very much about using this and that to create a whole. Small pieces that have the opportunity to fit together to create a design that wasn’t there just a few minutes ago. It is amazing to watch as seemingly disparate parts come together into a unified whole. Sort of like working on a puzzle that has many, many possible outcomes. Each idea delightful simply in the potential it invites.





It is my hope that my art will resonate my love of the process of working with fiber as I follow along the pathways of “what if…” one small piece at a time.

When you wear my fiber art, it is my wish that you will be wrapped in the happiness from my heart that is lovingly hand felted into each piece.





KIRSTEINFINEART gives many thanks to Sylvia Brestel for sharing her work with us. For more informative features on some of today’s best contemporary artists, go to the bottom of this page and click the subscribe button. Thanks so much!

The Art in Our Lives

This world is what we create. Always remember that we are all creators. And when the craziness in the world feels overwhelming, always create what you are. Surround yourself with fine art. Fine art is the music of the human soul.


Justice Series

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Wear Water Colors











Wear Fine Art


The above designs all by Janis Kirstein

Meditation and Fine Art

I am presenting the opening of my Etsy store today with prints, totes and pillows with my designs inspired by my meditations on the seven chakras found in the human body. Also, I am presenting thoughts on art and meditation as well, so please enjoy a tour!

Click on thumbnails to enlarge design I created after meditating on my root chakra




Art Is Meditation
Inspired Life
Why making art is the new meditation

By Maia Gambis August 25
Many of us have heard about the benefits of meditation, but sometimes find it hard to do. Fewer of us know about the profound benefits of artistic expression. Creating art, however, is another way to access a meditative state of mind and the profound healing it brings.
“Art is a guarantee to sanity,” said Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist who died in 2010 at the age of 98. She even went on to add, “…This is the most important thing I have said.” For Bourgeois, art — making art — was a tool for coping with overwhelming emotion. She says she remembers making small sculptures out of bread crumbs at the dinner table when she was a little girl – as a way of dealing with her dominating father. Art was more than an escape – it kept her sane.
Art therapy has a healing effect for a variety of ailments, including depression, trauma and illness. and is effective across age, gender or ethnicity. In a recent study of cancer patients, an art therapy intervention — in conjunction with conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation — not only diminished symptoms typically associated with cancer such as pain, fatigue and anxiety, but also enhanced life expectancy. The study, its authors said, was based on the belief that “the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life-enhancing. It is used to help patients, or their families, increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, and adapt to stressful and traumatic experiences.”
[Five ways to thrive in an uncertain world]
Art is not only healing for individuals suffering from severe illness. Here are four reasons why creative activity is such a potent recipe for psychological well-being:


  1. Art is a vehicle for meditation and self-connection
    Most of us can understand that art provides an escape to a sometimes harsh reality, but where does art’s healing potential come from? It impacts the state of our minds: Enjoying emotional stability is largely about taking responsibility for how we feel.
    Research has shown the power of meditation and the science behind it. One of the reasons it is so powerful is that it fosters acceptance. Creating art is a type of meditation, an active training of the mind that increase awareness and emphasizes acceptance of feelings and thoughts without judgment and relaxation of body and mind.



Click on thumbnails to enlarge design I created after meditating on my Solar Plexus chakra.

Art, like meditation, allows us to create space between our often negative, anxious thoughts and connect with our true selves – as opposed to with the fleeting or false sense of identity we sometimes have when we are caught up in our thoughts and emotions. Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher, writes: “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past… This false self is never happy or fulfilled for long. Its normal state is one of unease, fear, insufficiency, and non-fulfillment.” Creating art is about reaching a state of consciousness and breaking free from the constant debilitating chatter of the mind.



Sacral chakra meditation

  1. Art provides a feeling of flow and freedom
    Similarly to meditation, art can help us tap into a deeper and more quiet part of ourselves. We enter into a state of flow and present-moment awareness. “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness,” Tolle writes. Artists experience that creative activity has the potential to tap into a space of true consciousness of being, void of interpretation. In this space, there can be a sense of having no physical parameters; no body, or form to separate one from the other.


  1. Art allows for true self-expression
    The process of making art overrides the need for verbal communication. Creativity is its own language and enables humans to connect with one another — and themselves — on a non-verbal level. In therapy it can be an effective way of saying the unspeakable as is shown through the use of creative therapies with children. This also explains how we can be moved to the core when looking at a work of art, or even listening to music, without necessarily knowing the specifics about its origin. Art exists within its own non-verbal parameter and thus frees us up for unadulterated self-expression.
    [Do these exercises for two minutes a day and you’ll immediately feel happier]




Meditation on Heart chakra


  1. Art helps us become steady and centered
    As a plus, it is interesting to note that Bourgeois, when asked to comment on her extensive body of work spanning her entire lifetime, says what impresses her most “is how constant [I] have been.” Perhaps we need to redefine what we consider to be a storybook happy ending. Happiness may be less a matter of experiencing sharp highs (often followed by deep lows), and more a matter of nurturing a space that provides stability and a constant connection to our true selves.

This article is republished from our content partner Fulfillment Daily: Daily Science-Backed News for a Happier Life, founded by Stanford University psychologist Emma Seppala, who is also Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford’s School of Medicine.



Throat chakra meditation



Comments from Jan Kirstein

The manifestation of creative abundance, for me involves the practice of Reiki, daily meditation, Tapping, self hypnosis and positive affirmations. I think something is coming together with all this activity and I invite you to share what you do to enhance your creativity.

The musician Rachmoninoff used self hypnosis at a certain point in his career. Up until that point, his music was not well received by the public. After he began the discipline of self hypnosis, his music became an overnight sensation. Tapping the subconscious mind… Most probably the best way to actualize your creative potential.



Third eye chakra meditation



Meditation on the Crown chakra