Sculptures in Motion

I strive to capture movement in many of my sculptures. I’ve also managed to make a few of them move on their own. Or, at least they appear to be in motion.

I’ve recently written about the fact that transitioning work to online venues requires more than one or two good images. I’ve started providing multiple angle views, scale views, and images of work “in use.” Now, I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with stop motion animations. The hope is that using these videos on my social media can help capture a few more looks during the holidays. Having work that resembles characters from classic holiday specials helps in their creation. They are also just plain entertaining and fun, though they are rather time consuming to produce.

Puffin Pyramid

I’ll start here with the most recent. I just created this playful video of some of my puffin ornaments forming a pyramid. My puffin and polar bear ornaments will be available on my Etsy shop, the HGA online shop, and at HGA. I create them several at a time following my own original design. However, they are each truly an individual handcrafted item, all just a little bit different. This allows them to be a small, unique, and very gift-able piece of original art.

A Winter Ride in Motion

The first stop motion I produced a couple of weeks ago is a silent short for my piece titled Winter Ride. This anthropomorphic sculpture is already available on my Etsy shop, and may be on view in-person at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts soon. Winter Ride can be that future holiday heirloom, but I certainly hope whomever takes it home would want to display it year round.

Winter Ride in motion

The complete sculpture assemblage is 12 inches long, 6 inches high, and 4 inches deep. Momma bear is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Baby bear is needle felted wool over quilt batting form. The miniature sleigh and harness I constructed from wood craft sticks, copper coated flat wire, leather, metal brad fasteners, and jewelry findings. Both bears have hand stitched iridescent glass bead eyes.

Winter Ride anthropomorphic needle felted art doll sculpture
Winter Ride

I will be sharing both videos on various platforms over the next two months. I hope that you enjoy them, and take the time to follow the links to their sales pages.

Holiday Planning and Preview

procession of needle felted puffin ornaments
Puffin Procession

I am doing a bit of holiday planning this week. It is more involved than in past years. Before, I just had to decide what I was bringing to the gallery, and if I would have items in any other shows or shops. The complexity comes in the form of now having an Etsy shop, and HGA also having an online shop.

Surviving in the age of COVID makes an online sales presence pretty much a requirement. This means choices need to be made where items will be. Pieces that will be online, need more photography to provide shoppers with different angles, idea of scale, or context. To have popular holiday items, like ornaments in all locations, I have to generate more inventory. Items going in to my Etsy need to be weighed and boxes found because you can’t list them without shipping info… even if you are offering free shipping.

Choices, Choices

Feet on the Ground is an anthropomorphic reindeer wearing snowshoes art doll sculpture
Feet on the Ground

My newest anthropomorphic art doll sculpture, Feet on the Ground, is an example of a hard choice for placement. He is so fun and eye catching, I want to list him everywhere. Listing an item for sale online, and having it available in a gallery is not a great idea. It raises the possibility of crossed sales. In his case, I think I have decided that he should go into the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts holiday show, and sit proudly on top of a pedestal. Never fear, if you aren’t local, you can contact me here, and we can get him to you.

Feet on the Ground is a stable anthropomorphic art doll sculpture. He stands on four custom made snow shoes. “Feet’ is constructed of needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. His hat and scarf are needle felted wool as well. I made his distinctive snowshoes from polymer clay, toothpicks, embroidery floss, leather, and metal brads. Iridescent black glass beads are used for the eyes.

Something New for the Holiday Season

I recently made a miniature version of one of my needle felted panel pieces and attached a pin back to it as a gift. The recipient asked if I was going to have these items available in the gallery. At first I said no, as I don’t especially enjoy working on lots of small gift items, and would rather concentrate on my sculptures. After a bit of consideration, I admitted that it couldn’t hurt to make a few and see how they fare over the holiday season. Above are a few examples with a large paperclip for scale.

Old favorites Too

puffin and bear ornaments
Puffin and Bear ornaments

I will have my needle felted puffin and bear ornaments available in all three (gallery, Etsy, and HGA online shop) locations. I will let you know when all are available. There is still a bit more inventory background work to complete, and two locations (HGA and HGA online) have specific dates the shows open. I will let you know all those dates and times, as we get a bit closer!

Independent Art Doll Figures

An artist’s work quite often reflects what is happening in the world, and right now there is almost too much going on. I’m not sure one could successfully escape current events even if they wanted to. I’m also not sure one should try. So very much of consequence seems to be at stake. It seems no surprise that such things might be on my mind in the studio, and find their way into my art doll creations.

Mice Can Roar, My RBG Art Doll

The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the rush to fill her seat are just two news items from the past few weeks. She was a model of intelligence and strength expressed with class and grace. Her rise to cultural icon status seems to be incongruous with her role as Justice, her age, and small stature. She seems truly a mouse that was able to roar. This is why I’ve titled this small anthropomorphic art doll sculpture Mice Can Roar. I didn’t want her to be derivative of other artists depictions of RBG, so I based her off of a recent piece of my own, Adventure Begins. I also wanted to stay away from the now all too common representations with a crown or holding a gavel.

Mice Can Roar

The sculpture stands about 7 inches high. She is needle felted wool over a quilt batting frame. Her shape and size allowed me to construct her without an internal wire armature. I used iridescent dark glass beads for her eyes, and her Dissent Collar I created by sewing glass beads to a felt base. Her eyeglasses are also needle felted without an internal structure. Mice Can Roar is now available in my Etsy Shop.

Placing Her Own Crown

Another recently completed, and quite independent art doll now found in my Etsy shop is Placing Her Own Crown. This frog princess isn’t waiting around for a coronation. She is placing her crown on her green head by herself. I like twisting fairytales around from time to time. Placing Her Own Crown doesn’t necessarily erase a prince from the story, but doesn’t make him a requirement either. While not inspired by a specific event in the news, Placing Her Own Crown does seem timely. I don’t suppose having a college age daughter has any influence on this fairytale reinterpretation.

Placing Her Own Crown

My frog princess is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. She features large blue glass bead eyes and glass bead accents on her crown. “Placing” sits about 10 inches high on her wood block display base.

In need of an Inked Art Doll?

An Art Doll With a Bit of Ink

This latest anthropomorphic art doll is a bit off the beaten path. Inked is a needle felted and “tattooed” squid figure sculpture. Several types of cephalopods produce ink like substances that they use to deter would be predators. Playing with idea of being tattooed as “being inked,” my squid creation sports a jellyfish tattoo. The inked connection is reinforced by the needle felting process itself. Wool fibers are felted together by pushing them with a felting needle as ink is pushed with a needle in tattooing.

"Inked" - anthropomorphic needle felted squid art doll sculpture with tattoo.
Inked

Inked is not the only cephalopod in my recent body of work. I created the piece ‘Multitasking”, a tea serving octopus, for my gallery feature show. I wrote about him here earlier this year

Construction of a Squid Art Doll

The under structure of this sculpture is somewhat more involved than most, as you might imagine. Quite a bit of wire twisting was needed to form the base of the head, eight arms, and two tentacles. Once that somewhat unwieldy structure was complete, I felted quilt batting over the wire to provide the more sculpted form. Over this batting form I then felt the wool “skin” of the creature. I set large glass gems for the reflective eyes, and felted the socket surrounds of each.

Inked’s distinctive jellyfish and bubbles tattoo was needle felted in place on the the figure’s tube and head.

Not Your Typical Doll

detail of Inked's needle felted tattoo
detail of Inked’s tattoo

Inked is certainly not your typical art doll sculpture. It is neither pretty, nor cute in the usual sense. I do find it both intriguing and visually interesting, and hope that others do too. Playing with ideas and forms that others might not helps to keep work fresh, fun, and surprising. I have added Inked to my Etsy store so someone else intrigued by its distinctive nature can take it home.

Adventure Mouse

Adventure Begins…

Adventure Begins anthropomorphic needle felted mouse art dol
Adventure Begins

I named my newest needle felted anthropomorphic art doll creation Adventure Begins, as this little mouse is all ready to set out on a journey. His backpack is on and his travel journal is in hand. With the addition of his hat and scarf, he is ready for what ever conditions he encounters.

Adventure Begins is also the first sculpture I have created since setting up the Etsy shop I told you about in my last post. As you can see, that means I also happen to have more images of him than past pieces. Why, you may ask, is that? Well, selling and showing sculptures online is quite different than in a gallery. In the gallery, a viewer can see the item from all angles. They can take time to notice all the little details incorporated into the piece. In the gallery there is also no real need for dimensions or an image next to something to provide scale. Online I want to show you the little handmade journal I created for him. You can see that his backpack has a little brass closure button, and that his hat fits neatly between his ears. So, a greater variety of images is needed.

Thinking Differently

I began making Adventure Begins in much the same way I make all my figure sculptures, But, I have to admit that knowing where you will display a piece of ahead of time, can influence some design decisions. As the piece is a mouse, you would expect him to be rather small in comparison. This does happen to make him easier to ship. As a result, when I listed the piece on line I decided to offer free domestic shipping on him.

Etsy tells its sellers that they are more likely to highlight pieces that offer such perks as shipping or special coupons. His small size also makes Adventure Begins easier to store in the studio. The piece also provides my customers with a choice that has a slightly lower price point. Im not sure any of this will make any difference in who visits my shop, but it’s worth a try.

Adventure Begins anthropomorphic mouse needle felted art doll
Adventure Begins

face of Moose Call, anthropomorphic moose art doll sculpture

Moose Call to Etsy

Moose Call is my newest anthropomorphic art doll sculpture, and he seems an appropriate piece to announce the opening of my new Etsy shop.

Moose Call anthropomorphic moose art doll figure sculpture
Moose Call

I have gone back and forth on opening an Etsy. As you know, you can inquire about my pieces available for purchase here. Additionally, I have pieces listed on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts shop pages.

Driving traffic to stand alone websites mine or HGA is multifaceted. It is easier and more effective to let those whose job it is take charge. So, I made the decision to let the web marketing pros on Etsy take the wheel in that area. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have to do as much posting and sharing, or even perhaps more. But, it does mean that the audience is already gathered in one place.

Having work available both online, and in the physical gallery, takes a bit more inventory finesse. I am learning as I go. Taking more and more varied images of each piece. Weighing and measuring each before listing them for postage calculations. Also, making sure that inventories in the virtual world and physical gallery don’t intersect. Not sure, but it may be possible that this last one could cause some cross dimensional rift to form. As a result I have only a few pieces up so far. I will be working to round out the inventory soon.

The Moose Himself

Moose Call sits about about 14 inches tall on his “stump” base. He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. I used dark slightly reflective beads for his eyes that provide a nice extra sparkle. He is dressed for a brisk day in the woods with his wool vest, scarf, and cloven mittens and boots.

face of Moose Call, anthropomorphic moose art doll sculpture
Moose Call close up

My Etsy Shop is named LWSculpted Shop, and you can purchase Moose Call there right now!

If you do take the time to visit my new Etsy shop, please give us a “Favorite ❤️.”

Thanks.

Hedgehog Folk and Giving Back

I was about to start musing about 2020 already being half over, but let’s start with an introduction instead. One gets the feeling that right about now we need some poignant, soon to be classic, protest songs. Ironically, I created a piece titled “Protest Songs” last October. Now, I just finished an anthropomorphic folk singing companion piece I’ve named “Dylan.”

Dylan anthropomorphic hedgehog art doll figure sculpture
Dylan

Dylan is a hedgehog and he stands about 10 inches high. He plays a custom made acoustic guitar, and sports a hat that seems vaguely familiar. He is loosely inspired by Bob Dylan’s look from his 1975 “Rolling Thunder Review” tour. As Dylan often serves as the quintessential model of a folk singer, I chose him as my model too. Who isn’t in need of a little folk singing hedgehog right about now? I’ve added Dylan to my “Available for Purchase” pieces, so you can let me know you need him to live in your home.

Giving Back

The gallery currently has a new online show up that opened last Friday. You can shop this new show, “Surfaces,” and work by all the Hillsborough Gallery artists in our online shop.

Opening later this month will be our special “Giving Back” show. This show will donate a percentage of the proceeds to local first responders. I will have two pieces available in that upcoming show. I will be sure to share the link with you as soon as the show goes live on our website.

Wish on a Breeze needle felted relief on up cycled denim
Wish on a Breeze 9″x6″

The first piece is a twist on some of the little needle felted relief sculpture panels I have created. This panel, titled “Wish on a Breeze” combines techniques I’ve incorporated into my one of a kind handbags. I needle felt, and then stitch secure artwork onto denim recycled from old jeans. This 9″ x 6″ dandelion panel can be hung by the chord stitched into its back, or tabletop displayed on the included easel.

Squiggle Heart needle felted wool on leather chord necklace
Squiggle Heart

I will also have available this needle felted Squiggle Heart pendant. The heart element measures 2″ across, and slides on a leather chord with hand forged hook clasp.

Keep an eye out for the opening of Giving Back.

Wings and a Whisk –

Let’s start with the whisk. Titled Hands Off The Carrot Cake, my anthropomorphic rabbit chief appears to mean business. This art doll sculpture appears cute and fluffy, but also not afraid to use his whisk if needed. This needle-felted figure sculpture stands about 15 inches high, and is ready to oversee things going on in the kitchen.

Hands Off The Carrot Cake - anthropomorphic needle-felted rabbit chief sculpture
Hands Off The Carrot Cake 15″x8″x 8″

Hands Off The Carrot Cake features a custom chef’s hat, apron, and hand formed copper wire whisk. This piece recalls an earlier singing chief I created in paper mâché and paperclay, and two early terra cotta figures I made in school.

About the Wings

Titled Stretching Her Wings, this piece is about a foot tall and stands on four of her delicate butterfly legs. She is using her top two legs to help get the last bit of stretch in her new wings. We can only imagine that she is happy to have emerged from her metamorphic phase.

Stretching Her Wings - anthropomorphic butterfly needle-felted sculpture
Stretching Her Wings 11″x 13″x7″

I’m not sure if I will just make these two new pieces available online, or if one or both will take a trip to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I’m still figuring out the the ins and outs of maintaining an online inventory. For now, both are available on my Available for Purchase page.

Going on at the Gallery

Due to Covid-19, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is currently open on Saturday afternoon from noon to 4, or by private appointment. I will update you as we add more open hours to the schedule. You can see an ever growing and changing collection of art from all the HGA member artist in our online Art Shop.

Anthropomorphic Art Dolls Moving On?

…But they’re not gone!

This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.

Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
Multitasking 12″x7″x12″

At the Gallery

Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion 7″x18″x10″

Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.

Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.

Blue Butterfly Bag
Blue Butterfly bag 8″x11″x1/2″
Flower Necklace -purple and turquoise needle felted flowers on leather chord
Flower Necklace

ART UNDER 100

Click on the image below to visit the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts’ newest online market, Art Under 100. This special page features works donated by HGA artists. All proceeds go to keep our favorite gallery going while we are still closed for stay-at-home. I will be sure to share any and all reopening information for the gallery. We are working hard behind the scenes to be able to welcome visitors in a safe and healthy way.