Rachael Grochowski, Felt Artist
Rachael Grochowski has a thing for felt. She loves its soft texture. She loves that it’s eco-friendly and, since it’s 100 percent wool, entirely renewable. She loves that it’s durable and moisture-resistant. She loves it so much she spends hours every week hand-stitching her felt tabletop pieces. “I’m such a visual and textural person,” she says. “Felt in the hand fulfills that.”
At her mother’s urging, Grochowski started sewing at age four and became an adept seamstress. She studied architecture and opened her own firm, RHG Architecture + Design, almost 12 years ago in Montclair. But the siren song of felt continued to call. On a creative whim, she crafted some placemats for herself. “I enjoyed the architecture and the materials, so I picked up the needle and thread and felt,” she says. In 2012, she launched a new enterprise named, simply, “felt.”
Using thick, industrial-grade felt, Grochowski hand-stitches her pieces with three different stitching styles. The stitching is carefully haphazard. The result: No two pieces are the same.
After crafting placemats, napkin rings, runners and coasters, Grochowski started displaying her collection of tabletop pieces at craft shows. “People can’t stop touching it,” she says. Her designs are sold on her website and just two retail locations—Verdigreen Home in Montclair and Curate in Millburn. Placemats are $20 each; a set of four coasters is $35.
Grochowski is drawn to an earthy palette of browns, grays and neutrals, often paired with dandelion yellow, rich burgundy and mossy green. While she will take custom orders, “there are certain color combinations that I won’t work in,” she says. “I’ll help a person down a path, selecting colors that are calming.”
Click here to read about other New Jersey artisans.