We continue talking to each Maker competing for the title of “Master Maker” and a $100,000 grand prize on NBC’s “Making It,” airing on NBC Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The crafting series is hosted and executive produced by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. We’re watching to see who crafts (and SEWS) their way to the finish line.
Finally we get to talk to someone who does applique and loves felt! Yay! Billy Kheel is a Massachusetts native who attended boarding school and then moved on to Wesleyan University where he played sports and pursued his love of art. Kheel spent time in New York before moving to Los Angeles, where he met his wife. Now a full-time artist and visiting art teacher at schools across Los Angeles, his focus of applique and felt is very unique from other mediums in the competition and sets his work apart. Kheel’s children and students are the inspiration for his work as he tries to see things from their perspectives.
What is your craft of choice?
Appliqué . Felt Appliqué. Plush.
How do you think your craft specialty prepares you to win the competition?
Appliquérs and sewers are the cream of the crafting crop. Woodworkers are creepy and no one takes paperworkers seriously. I’m kidding, but to be honest I’m counting on my creativity and coming up with inspiring ideas for the challenges more than my crafting skills, which are still considerable.
How has your craft helped in other areas of your life?
Felt is a soft, inviting material that can be used in many different projects which enables me to meet different people and do projects with them. I always take inspiration from their ideas and feedback. In my workshops and classes, felt also gives children safe stuff to play with as opposed to, say, welding steel sculptures or something.
What would you say to encourage someone who wants to learn your craft?
Lets get going! I put a quick how-to up on my website at bkheel.com/howto go check it out and head down to the big box crafting store near you and let’s get going. I’m not one of those crafters that needs have 16th Century Japanese scissors and organic free range baby wool felt to get started on something cool.
Did you get to try a craft you wouldn’t normally have done for the competition? If so, what did you learn during the process?
Yes, I worked on some crafts that I never thought I would do before. It was great being challenged but I learned that I should probably stick to felt.