A Handmade Transformation 7

A Boulder fiber artist’s deeply rooted style naturally evolves along with her.

Definitively describing the work of Boulder-based fiber artist Lucia Francis is a difficult task. Her aesthetic? Both whimsical and sophisticated. Her palette? Sometimes bright, sometimes all natural. And her medium? That changes regularly, too.

Perhaps the intriguing variation in Francis’ work comes from a shifting focus and influence on her work. When Francis began her creative business, Uccellino Designs (uccellino translates to “little bird” in Italian), in 2014, her children were very young and naturally affected her work.

“I wanted to have a creative say in what was going into their spaces and what they were playing with.”

So, she started making children’s toys and decor — think crocheted snakes and hand-sewn mobiles with friendly feline faces.

As her children grew, so did 
Francis’s aesthetic.

“My vision was to create items that were joyful, colorful and whimsical, but modern and with a very handmade feel. I found myself wanting to explore more sophisticated pieces for adult spaces as well,” she says.

Today, Francis says her artistic style is rooted in two major influences: First is her background growing up in Italy.

“Growing up surrounded by such beauty in the natural landscape, as well as in the architecture, textiles and arts, really lay the foundation for my aesthetic design values,” she says.

Couple that with the vibrant, bohemian aesthetic of her husband’s homeland in the Caribbean, and you find her mélange of cultural influences.

These influences take form in all kinds of projects, from contemporary woven wall-hangings to crocheted wraps for potted plants. Francis is a jack-of-all-trades with experience in weaving, crocheting sewing and more. Even more impressive? She’s mostly self-taught, though Francis gives credit to her family of artists who all practice and value hand-work.

As Francis’s style has matured, so has her appreciation for natural, high-quality materials. When she first started weaving, she went to craft store chains to purchase synthetic or acrylic yarn that looked like cotton or wool, but lacked the natural feeling.

“There is a certain warmth that radiates up your hands working with real wool yarn and roving, a cool crispness with cottons and linens,” Francis says. “Synthetic materials simply cannot replicate [it].”

Now, Francis favors local farms and fiber mills over big-box stores, and she recycles yarn whenever possible. Her hardware is all natural, too:

“Finding driftwood for the dowels [for wall hangings] is also a joyful part of the process for me, as I love foraging in nature to collect beautiful, unique weather-bleached pieces of wood.”

While Francis says she’s “still learning and experimenting daily, and finding my own voice,” she has some big dreams for the future: perhaps a large-scale textile art installation, or a yarn-bombing project around town. Whatever the future may hold, she’s committed to reviving a love of fiber arts.

“Part of my aim [has been] to bridge the divide between this ancient, somewhat dated art form, and bring it into the present with a modern design concept that also appeals to a younger generation,” she says. “I am grateful to be on this path.”