Category Archives: Art Shows

Journal Cat side view, asleep or winking?

Winking Or Sleeping?

Winking Journal Cat…

Journal Cat - needle felted wool and mixed media anthropomorphic cat sculpture
Journal Cat

Perhaps she is sleeping with one eye open? I’m not exactly sure. I started out wanting her to be sleeping, but couldn’t resist the temptation to have her peek at the viewer with one of her bespectacled eyes. Depending on the angle, the cat appears to be either sleeping with one eye open, or winking knowingly.

Like a predecessor named Literary Cat, Journal Cat is a calico. For some reason they strike me as the cat that hangs out in bookshops, libraries, or one’s favorite reading nook. She looks like she would be equally comfortable curled up in your lap as you read as well.

Journal Cat isn’t actively reading or writing, but rather reclining on a fabric covered journal. The journal is no longer operational. The pages and cover have been glued together providing a comfortable base for our feline to rest on. The journal, hand formed “pince nez” specs, and fishline whiskers create a more multimedia piece. The primary media is still needle felted wool. You can view a short video from my last post to see how needle felting works, and how I incorporate it into my sculptures.

back of Journal Cat sculpture
Journal Cat back view

As is the case with most of my anthropomorphic figures, Journal Cat expresses her human-like characteristics in minimal fashion. Her bright scarf, glasses, and literary perch tell you what she is about. The viewer is left wondering exactly what this cat’s journal entries would look like. I would suspect a lot of naps among the prose and poetry.

Another Show Reminder

Journal Cat will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts‘ September featured artist show, Unmuted, along with all my other new works. The show installs in the gallery on 9/20 and will having its Last Friday reception and will go live online on 9/24.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. Needle felted

Plague Doctor Rhinoceros?

Being Unmuted During a Plague

Did you spend any time in a Zoom or other e-meeting during the last year? If you did, you understand the phrase “unmute yourself.” Unmuted is the title of my upcoming featured artist show in September. The show title is a reference to the recent COVID lockdown. I spent time this week thinking about all the meanings of muted and unmuted while writing my statement for the show. You can mute a voice, mute a color, or mute a message. I try to look all the different interpretations in my pieces for this show. Some are bright and colorful, and some appear to be speaking or singing. Hopefully, one or two have something more to say.

Speaking Seriously and Playfully

My latest piece has something to say about this past year. We lived this last year through what might be referred to as a plague in history books. Looking at historical references we encounter the image of the plague doctor. Accounts place these figures anywhere between physicians and record keepers. Whatever their role, they have a distinct appearance, one that conveys the seriousness of their job. Most often we see a figure wearing a long beaked mask. I decided to go with something a bit different than the expected bird beak. My Plague Doctor is a rhinoceros in a spiked mask.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. needle felted
Plague Doctor

This anthropomorphic figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. I hand stitched his mask and hat from faux leather. His stick staff supports a glass bead lantern and finial of his trade. Additionally, his staff provides a third balance point that allows this art doll sculpture to stand on his own. I also created tiny sandbags within his feet that supply additional stability. Plague Doc has an oxpecker assistant riding on his shoulder.

My intent is the plague doctor juxtaposed with the absurdity of a rhinoceros conveys the seriousness of the past year in a playful manner.

Into the Process

Colleagues and collectors have asked questions about how my sculptures are constructed, especially the needle felting process. I took some work-in-progress images and video clips, and cobbled them together in this short video.

The felting is done with flat surfaced needles that have notches along their edges. As the needle(s) pass through, the wool gets pushed and pulled by those notches. The wool fibers have overlapping scales along their length. The scales catch as wool fibers are drawn across one another. This is what felts the fibers together.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. Needle felted
Plague Doctor detail

See you in September

Plague Doctor joins the friends I’ve already introduced (and a few you’ve yet to meet) at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September. The show also features the art of Ellie Reinhold and Marcy Lansman, and installs in the gallery on September 20th, and goes live on the HGA store site on the 24th. The official show opening is during the Last Friday Art Walk also on the 24th. Mark you calendars, and keep an eye out for additional pieces before then.

"Roll" anthropomorphic elephant art doll sculpture on handcrafted steampunk push tricycle. Needle felted wool figure.

On a Roll?

Where are the posts?

Hi reader. I was working on a commission piece. I can’t write about that yet, because it’s a surprise. As a result, you haven’t heard from me in a while. After I put that work to rest, I was able to get into the studio and start working from my sketchbook again. This is now a bit of a crunch. I need to get together the body of work for my featured artist show. I’ve shared a few pieces already that will be in that show, and will continue to do that until the show opens. I’ll save you the full litany of the things aside from creating the art that needs to happen between now and then (photography, editing, inventory, writing statements, social media…) I will just say it is a lot, and get to work.

Roll on

My newest piece is titled, Roll. She is a young elephant who appears to be having a great time on her trike. She is the latest in a line of art doll figures on bikes that I’ve created.

"Roll" anthropomorphic elephant art doll sculpture on handcrafted steampunk push tricycle. Needle felted wool figure.
Roll (left side view)

Roll brought me back into my garage work space for a while. I fabricated her handlebars, and bike frame from heavy gauge copper wire and brass tubing. The bike seat is hand sewn purple faux leather. The wheels are caster parts. The trike’s back deck is a piece of painted wood trim. Once the trike was finished, I knew how big to make the wire armature for the figure.

Roll herself herself is needle felted wool over a quilt batting wrapped wire frame. She has iridescent black glass beads for eyes. I finished this figure off with a small pink bow on her head, and light turquoise colored skirt.

The intention for this piece was to both capture motion, and to be able to provide motion. Yes, the sculpture does actually live up to her name and rolls.

I also wanted to make sure that Roll conveys the joy of her movement. Her bright expression as the wind blows back her trunk and ears says it all.

"Roll" anthropomorphic elephant art doll sculpture on handcrafted steampunk push tricycle. Needle felted wool figure.
Roll (right side)

Rolling into HGA in September

Roll and all her friends will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the last week of September.

"Roll" - anthropomorphic elephant art doll sculpture on handcrafted steampunk push tricycle. Needle felted wool figure.
back of Roll

Naked Anthropomorphism & Friendly Debate

Perhaps Minimalist Anthropomorphism & Friendly Debate?

I’ve mentioned before that I try to imbue my anthropomorphic figures with human traits as simply as as possible. I find it a challenge to make them appear human without merely dressing them up in clothes. My latest piece takes this to the limit. Friendly Debate shows a sparrow couple locked in discussion. Or, are they singing to each other? Perhaps it is a little of both.

Heated Debate anthropomorphic sparrow sculpture
Friendly Debate

I took my inspiration for this piece from a image I found online. The photo showed three house sparrows on a branch. The three birds appeared engaged in a heated debate. I loved the interactions shown, however, I decided to concentrate on just two of the birds. As a result, I created a sculpture that I’m not sure would still classify as an art doll, but it is definitely anthropomorphic. I find that result intriguing.

Friendly Debate is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. I approached the bird’s feet and legs differently with this piece. In the past, I have felted a bird’s feet too, but the result is usually thicker than I like. For these bird’s feet I wrapped the wire with thread. I like the more proportional result. I was able to leave the end of the foot wires exposed, and then glued them into holes I drilled in their perch. The end effect is more realistic looking feet that really appear to grip the stick.

Also for Unmuted

Friendly Debate is also intended for my feature show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September. This piece definitely fits one of the definitions of the word Unmuted… To produce sound again. You can almost hear the two sparrows in their Friendly Debate. Do you hear squawking or something more melodious?

Waiting To Be Sheltered

Last time, I introduced you to a new piece, Too Familiar, that you’ll have to wait a bit to see in person. That is the case this time around too. Let me introduce you to Sheltered Harvest.

Sheltered Harvest - anthropomorphic needle felted chipmunk sheltering acorn under a toadstool
Sheltered Harvest

This little anthropomorphic chipmunk is sheltering his acorn harvest under the umbrella provided by a toadstool cap. His sketch started out a bit differently in my sketchbook, but I’m happy with the changes I made. The rain and the toadstool were not in that original sketch. Their addition turns this sculpture into a complete little story.

Where will Sheltered Harvest be?

Sheltered Harvest will also be sticking around in my studio until my feature show in September. In addition, I also submitted him for the same publication as Too Familiar as he has an autumn harvest vibe. Holding back pieces is as hard for the artist as it is for the viewer. Generally, the last piece completed (assuming you’re happy with how it has turned out) is an artist’s current favorite. Some are even a special favorite. I have to say I feel that way about the charm of this particular sculpture. So, since we have to wait a little longer to enjoy him together, here’s a second view.

Sheltered Harvest - anthropomorphic chipmunk sheltering acorn under a toadstool.
Sheltered Harvest

Sheltered harvest is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. His eyes are iridescent black glass beads. The acorn features some thread detail on the cap to create texture. The raindrops and the toadstool stem are attached by both felting and careful stitching onto the figure.

Sheltered Harvest will be with Too Familiar and several other new creations I will introduce over the coming months. They all will make their debut at my scheduled featured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September. We all hope you will come and see us then.

Something A Little Too Familiar?

“Too Familiar” is the latest creation to exit my work table. Her genesis came from an external source. You may recall my last post, where I described a couple of pieces that weren’t exactly born in my sketch book. This latest sculpture was born on those pages, but in response to some thing I came across.

I saw a posting regarding a new issue of a defunct art publication. The post announced a new issue in the fall, and included a link to info for a call for submissions. They were looking for art dolls that fit either a Halloween or autumnal theme. As my feature show this year is in September, and I was in the midst of sketching ideas, I decided to play with the idea of animals that are known as “familiars”. They are the animal companions of witches and wizards… cats, owls, etc.

Too Familiar Taking Form

I first started my sketch of “Too Familiar” animal as witch, as a cat. The cat just appeared a little too precious to me. So, I refined my idea as an owl. Owls hold mystery and the appearance of wisdom. They are also a symbol of truth which fits in nicely with one of the many interpretations of the title of my September show “Unmuted”… to speak up.

Anthropomorphic owl art doll sculpture. Needle felted wool, one-of-a-kind artist original
Too Familiar

Too Familiar is a barn owl who is busy simmering a potent looking brew of some sort. She holds the viewer in a direct gaze. The owl stands next to a clump of toadstools that look as though they may be part of her potion recipe.

The anthropomorphic art doll sculpture is needle felted wool over a frame of wire and quilt batting. She features glass beed eyes, and Swarovski crystal embellishments on her satchel. Her hat is needle felted wool over a synthetic felt base.

We Have to Wait

As I plan to have this piece in a show that opens at the end of September, you will have to wait a while to see Too Familiar in person, or for her to be available for purchase.

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

Holiday Sales Sites Up!

I suggested you to check back here for links to holiday sales sites. Your patience has been rewarded. The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts online holiday show, The Art of Giving, went live yesterday at noon! Here is the link to find the gift offerings from all of the HGA artists… https://hga-store.square.site/holiday-shop

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

You’ll find Feet On The Ground under Holiday Items, my puffins and polar bears under Ornaments, and my felted brooches under Jewelry.

Take time to browse around the holiday show categories, there are plenty of unique gift ideas from all of my artist partners there.

And on Etsy

I also have ornaments, brooches, bags, and one-of-a-kind needle felted original sculptures available on my Etsy shop. They can be found at… https://www.etsy.com/shop/LWSculptedShop

In the Gallery

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

If you are local, you can stop in to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Take in all of the amazing artwork there. Some of the items in the HGA online shop are available for pickup at the gallery after purchase.

Hope you had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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.

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

Look at the Screen

Artwork looks much different through a computer screen. Some views are actually enhanced by an image. I see the details of the Mona Lisa much better in high resolution scans than when I looked through glass from the midst of a pack of tourists. I’m sure the experience would be very different if I were able to view the masterpiece face-to-face. In the real world, however, the computer screen may be one’s best option.

My Sculpture on the Screen

  • High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
  • Climate Report anthropomorphic art doll
  • Emu Incognito anthropomorphic art doll
  • Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
  • Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll
  • Too En Pointe? anthropomorphic art doll
  • Stroll anthropomorphic art doll
  • Upstart Crow anthropomorphic art doll
  • Happiness Isn't anthropomorphic art doll
  • Out of Water anthropomorphic art doll
  • Pierre anthropomorphic art doll
  • Secrets Locked anthropomorphic art doll

My much humbler artwork is definitely viewed best up close and in person. Sculptures of relatively compact scale need the viewer to move in close, and see all around. Needle felted wool adds a textural warmth to the surface of my pieces that does not translate as well in photographs. I could provide multiple views of each sculpture, but even those run up to the barrier created by the two-dimensional screen.

Experiencing an art show from the side of the artist has also been altered by the computer screen. I posted here presenting a few pieces each time, and then shared each post on social media. Then, I sat back and waited for blog comments, or likes and shares. Even though I had done these things in the past for my shows, now they are the show. A conversation with someone at the opening about what made one piece their favorite is replaced with a “thumbs-up” emoji. Seems that the show has been distanced in both space and in time.

On The Horizon

I am waiting on some direct links to share with you for other things we are working on for the gallery. HGA’s website will soon have a couple of additional pieces for sale by each of our member artists on the HGA website. The Square market where we have virtually shared our featured artist shows (like my current Three Narratives) will also feature a special new offering. Each of our HGA member artists donated a piece priced $100 or less with all proceeds going to the maintenance of the gallery. Shipping is included for all of these wonderful works. This up-cycled denim bag with needle felted embellishments is my donation.

Blue Butterfly bag
Blue Butterfly bag – 8″x11″x1/2″

I will share links to these two new places for you to access our art as soon as they are available.