A pair of playful seals that form a decorating committee are my latest holiday themed sculpture. I just dropped the two of them and a couple of new holiday trees off at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts today.
These two don’t seem to be phased by the possible delicacy of the ornaments they are going to hang. The bright red Christmas orbs are just too tempting not to play with a bit first.
Each seal is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting form. They feature hand sewn glass bead eyes, fishing line whiskers, and crystal beaded ornaments.
The very earnest pair certainly seem ready to complete their task just as soon as they show each other their balancing skills.
Stop in in at HGA and meet them and all their friends.
Artist Sunday, It’s like Black Friday or Small Business Saturday but for art.
I’ve joined artists, creators and makers across the country for Artists Sunday. It’s earth’s largest art event, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 28th, encouraging consumers to shop with artists. Think of it like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday but for shopping for art!
ARTISTS SUNDAY is one week from today!
I’m thrilled to be participating in Artists Sunday this year. Here’s what to expect this holiday season! Artist, galleries and arts organizations everywhere will be ready to share their work with you for your holiday shopping.
To prepare for the day, I’ve already added new work at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts for you to browse and purchase. Plan a special Artist Sunday trip to HGA. Additionally, I took my Etsy shop off of the “vacation mode” I placed it on for my Featured Artist show last month. So friends, family, and followers who are not in the Hillsborough area can also check out and purchase my work on Etsy.
Subscribe to my blog on this page, and you will not miss updates updates about my work. I try to share each new sculpture as it emerges from my studio. I’ll will also alert you about special shows and events like Artist Sunday!
Make a holiday wish-list so your loved ones can gift you items from local artists and crafters like me. Create a shareable wishlist using one of these tools. Then send your list to your friends and family. Be sure to include your favorite pieces from my collection!
Check back hhere for a link to the HGA online holiday shop when it goes live on Black Friday, November 26th.
A pair of Caroling Mice for the holiday season are the latest creation from my studio bench. As you’d expect they will be coming in to the gallery for the holiday show which installs on November 15th.
Last year I created a trio of mice in mittens and knit caps. This year’s pair is dressed in their victorian finest. They are needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. They feature iridescent black glass bead eyes, and a paper crafted miniature music sheet of Deck the Halls. I’ve decided to make one set of mice per year, so this one-of-a-kind pair are it for 2021.
The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts‘ Featured Exhibit gallery show now houses the paintings of Marcy Lansman and Ellie Reinhold, and the anthropomorphic figure sculptures of yours truly!
From March through September three members of the Hillsborough gallery take over the Featured Exhibit gallery room and present what has been brewing in their studios over the past year. Needless to say, this past year has been extraordinary. The changes and limitations of a global pandemic have effected every part of our lives. Our show titled, “Unmuted”, is a nod to the digital communication that became so necessary to getting work or play accomplished this past year.
Unmuted has so many different possible interpretations. Pops of bright color can transform a more muted palate. A small quiet piece can draw a viewer in to tell its story. Or a bold exciting piece can make a strong statement. I’ve tried to work a bit of each into my collection of sculptures for this show.
This is just a peek, so come take a look!
The opening reception for Unmuted is this Last Friday the 24th from 6 to 9 pm. I hope to see you there. In place of wine and cheese at the gallery we encourage you to visit one of the great restaurants, pubs and bars in Hillsborough. They’ve all had a very hard year too. Don’t forget to bring your mask!
I don’t know about all artists, but I prefer to get in a groove in the studio. I encounter periods where my sculpture seems to flow from one to the next, and though each is unique, there is a connection between them. With luck, these periods precede an upcoming featured artist show, and the result is a cohesive body of new and exciting work in the show.
There are also times where the work comes in from widely varying directions. The last few weeks have been one of these periods. In fact, I would go as far as saying that I didn’t have much of anything to do with the origin of my last few creations. I have instead worked on a couple of commissions, and made a couple of not-for-sale original versions of existing characters.
High Fashion Giraffe Offspring
My anthropomorphic giraffe sculpture from my last feature show, High Fashion, was purchased last year. The owner asked me to create an offspring to accompany her. The finished version sports a pink hair bow, and vintage beaded ID bracelet. The image here is a work-in-progress photo. She will be off to join mom her new home shortly. This commission was fun. It allowed me to revisit a piece I truly love (High Fashion is currently featured on my gallery bio-cards) but look at it in a different way.
This was not the case with another recent commission. One I almost declined. With the exception of my puffin and polar bear ornaments, I prefer to not recreate any of my designs. Though, I will revisit an idea or theme and take a new look at it, I prefer not to simply reproduce something I have already made. To me it lessens the original. I had someone contact me and ask if I make them a new version of a piece that had a red dot (sold) in the gallery. Try as I might with questions about different colors and numbers of items in the piece… The customer was undeterred, and wanted one exactly like the piece they were unavailable to purchase. I’m not exactly sure why, but I did create the piece. In the end it made someone happy, so I guess that’s a positive.
A Real Sculpture Departure
In a real departure for me, I spent a little time making a couple of anime characters. These two pieces were not to be sold, but rather helping out with a club project. Fans might recognize my versions as a needle felted Totoro, and a hand sewn stuffed Pikachu with needle felted embellishments. They were an enjoyable diversion and challenge, as I was going for a definitely handmade while still true to known character aesthetic.
Before anyone asks… Sorry, but no. This was a one time, and not for sale thing.
Back To The drawing Board
Now I guess it is time to take out the sketch book, and see were the next flow of work all take me. At least I hope so.
I’ll start with introducing you to the new friend.
“Journey” is my latest anthropomorphic needle felted creation. He is for HGA’s next show “Share The Love” which will open next Friday, January 8th at noon on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts online shop. This first show of the year will benefit the local OCIM food pantry with 44% of sales proceeds going to the pantry.
As you see, Journey is representing the show in the gallery’s promotional materials this month. This piece stands 5″x 7″x 5″. He is a little sparrow all set to fly off from his perch on an adventure. Sparrows are considered a symbol of hope. That seemed to me to be something we all are in need of as we embark on 2021. Journey is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame with glass bead eyes.
Journey and other new original works by HGA artists will be available in the Share the Love show next Friday. Check back here, I will update this post with direct links to the show page.
Holiday Cleanup and Other Friends
I just took some time to deactivate my needle felted puffin and polar bear ornaments from my Etsy page. The ones currently in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and the HGA online shop will go into storage next week. But many of their needle felted friends will remain in the gallery, on the gallery online shop, and on my Etsy Page. With all that occurred this past year, you may have missed a post or two of mine. So, I think over the next few weeks I may take some time to reintroduce some of last year’s work. “Hands Off The Carrot Cake” is a personal favorite of mine.
I wasn’t really planning on creating any additional holiday themed items. I usually build up my holiday inventory of one-of-a-kind pieces and ornaments before the show installation. Then I start thinking about the next year’s new work. A reimagined local event and and a vacated pedestal changed my mind this year, so I’m restocking items for the holidays.
When “Winter Ride” sold, I replaced it with another polar bear creation “Climate Report“. But, I couldn’t help feeling that the pedestal should have another seasonal piece. So, meet the “Caroling Mice”.
These three little carol singers measure between 5 1/2 and 7 inches high. They are decked out in their warm winter gear and have their mouse-sized sheet music in hand.
Each mouse stands on their own on little booted feet and propped up by a long curving tail. The needle felted wool covers a wire and quilt batting frame. Glass bead eyes are sewn in place, and the sheet music is secured to their mittens.
Light on the Longest Night
One of the yearly winter events put on by our local arts council is a Solstice Lantern Walk along the Eno Riverwalk. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, COVID had forced the arts council to reimagine the lantern walk. In the past, a long parade of participants march together along the river with their “winter white” lit lanterns of all shapes and sizes. This year residents, and businesses in the downtown historic district are displaying their lantern creations for the weekend of the 19th through the 21st. There is a map that will be created so that people can drive or walk by the locations safely distanced.
I’m creating some items that can be displayed in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts window during the walk. The first is a little Lantern House. It is needle felted wool that I’ve stiffened on the interior. A small battery tea light sits in the interior and shines through the windows and open door, and glows through the wool walls.
Restocking Items in the Gallery
The Caroling Mice are now available in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, and I will bring in my lantern pieces on the afternoon of December 19th.
Now that Thanksgiving has past, the holiday gift season is in full swing. It certainly has been an interesting journey to this point this year. With much of the prep work for online sales needing to be completed ahead of time, it is almost a little anticlimactic. I do, however, find myself keeping an eye in several different directions at once. In the past, I only had to attend to my work at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Now, there are new tasks and more things to learn.
Winter Ride went to a new home over the weekend. So, in addition to packing it up at the gallery, it also needed to come off of my Etsy page. It is a strange experience when a piece like this sells, especially early in the season. I had this sculpture front and center on a pedestal in the first room of the gallery. This prime location obviously did its intended job. So, though I love that this one-of-a-kind piece will go somewhere it will be treasured, I’m just a little sad to see it leave.
A New Season
I also experienced my first Etsy shop sale over the weekend. Imagine my surprise when my phone suddenly made a “Ka-Ching” sound. This brought new things to learn, like Etsy’s built in customer communication, and updating the status of the order when shipped.
Since two items came off my LWSculptedShop Etsy store this weekend, I guess I should put something new up. I just completed another of my needle felted pins, so that might be a good place for it to find a sales home? This little relief sculpture measures 1.25″ x 3.5″ and has a hand-stitched rigid back and standard pin clasp. It features some curly wool from the sheep of another HGA artist, Susan Hope’s, farm.
I hope that you will take the time to see what the small local businesses and artists around you have to offer this holiday season. Many like our gallery have had to adjust the way they do business face-to-face, and/or establish online sales outlets for the first time. I can speak from personal experience that the learning curve on both has been steep for some. If you are lucky enough to have the ability to give gifts when so many are struggling it would be wonderful if some of those gifts came from local artisans and shop owners.
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.
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
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!
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.