Tag Archives: anthropomorphic

Rabbit Games

… and the Return of the Story.

Some readers out there may remember that The Hillsborough Gallery of Artssometimes pairs up with talented local authors for a show titled “It’s All About the Story.” This year, we will present volume IX of that series of shows with poet Jaki Shelton Greene. My piece for that show is titled Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows.

Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows - anthropomorphic art doll figure sculpture featuring a pair of dancing celestial rabbits
Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows

The show will be on display at HGA from February 14th through March 26th. There are two events connected with this show. The opening reception will be during the Hillsborough Last Friday Art Walk on February 24th from 6-9, and Ms. Greene will be reading in the gallery on Sunday, March 12th from 4-6 pm.

You can read all about Jaki Shelton Green and her work on the website Jakisheltongreen.com. The HGA artists have primarily created work that responds to a collection of her poems titled Breath of the Song.

The themes and topics of Ms. Greene’s poetry are wide ranging. Some are brutally honest and speak to a wide open audience, others are very intimate and personal. I first read through the collection to see if any topics or titles jumped out at me. Though there is a poem titled Paper Dolls, I felt that would be just a bit too “on the nose” and didn’t want to be overly literal, especially when responding to poetry, So, instead I read through again looking for visual phrasing that spoke to me.

Rabbit Games are born

Within one of several poems in the collection with the title Eva, I came apon the following lines…

and only precede midnight rainbows / we played the games of / rabbits

Instantly, I saw two celestially patterned rabbits dancing in the moonlight, and I started sketching Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows. I have to admit that this is one of those pieces where the creator has fallen on love with their creation. I can’t wait until we install the show in a couple of weeks. The two rabbit figures are needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. They have large glass gem eyes. They stand on their own and support and balance each other.

We hope that you can stop in and check out all the other amazing work in It’s All About the Story Vol IX: Jaki Shelton Green.

Blog note from last post: Ususally art work in a feature show that sells stays with a red dot until the end of the show. However, there was a special request regarding my piece, So Many Questions, so the penguins have already gone on to their new home. My piece “Remember Whales” is serving as a stand-in until the show comes down on February 12th.

Penguin Dressed for New Year

So Many Questions is an anthropomorphic penguin and chick art doll figure sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and quilt batting armature
So Many Questions

New Show at HGA

The next featured show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is Melting. Melting is the first of two HGA member artist group shows to start 2023. This show’s title is up to the interpretation of the individual artist, but was originally suggested with a nod to the topic of climate change. My piece for the show features an Emperor Penguin and his chick, and is titled, “Too Many Questions.”

Penguin Dad and Baby Wait for Mom

For this sculpture I recalled watching the Oscar winning documentary, The March of The Penguins. One thing that many will remember from the film, is that the male penguins tend to the eggs and hatchlings. Meanwhile, the felmale penguins walk to the coast to fill up on fish immediately after laying their eggs. The mother’s round trip takes about 2 months. During that time, the males huddle for warmth while they incubate the eggs, and then tend the penguin hatchlings. The fathers do provide some early sustanance for the young chicks, but survival ultimately depends on the timely return of the mother.

At the time of the making of the film (2005) the coast was about 70 miles from the Antarctic ice sheet where the Emperor Penguin breed. As the ice sheets recede, the distance to the shore, and sustanence to survive grows. This, in turn, makes the round trip for fish and back grow longer and longer.

In my sculpture, I have anthropomorphasised my young penguin to be at about the level of a human 2 to 3 year old. As any parent will recall, this is a time when, “why” is a favorite question. I envision my young penguin chick to be asking his dad why it is taking mom so long to return.

Show Runs January 10th through February 12th

Check out all of the work inspired by the theme, Melting, at the Hillsborough Gallery this month. The show will be in the Featured Exhibit gallery January 10th through February 12th, with a reception during the Last Friday art Walk on January 27th from 6 to 9pm.

postcard for Melting show at HGA January 2023
Melting Postcard

Already Looks Like the Holidays

Ok, I’m a couple of weeks late this year in typing up a post about the holiday items I have available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. So sorry for the delay, but there is still plenty of time for you to stop by and pick out that special gift or little remenmberance.

Mice are Stirring

For the past few years I’ve created some smaller one-of-a-kind seasonal mice sculptures for the holidays. The former pieces were trios or pairs of caroling mice. This year I chose to create a couple of solo mice figures.

Coco Nightcap anthropomorphic mouse with cup of coco and a nightcap
Coco Nightcap

Coco Nightcap was the first of these two small sculptures. As you can see he was an adorable anthropomorphic mouse figure wearing a nightcap, and holding a steaming mug of coco. I said “was”, as he was purchased and has moved on to a new home.

After Coco Nightcap vacated his pedestal position, his friend For You took over. For You is a seated mouse figure holding out a brightly colored wrapped gift for you. He also features a bright purple knit cap. He is still available as of the typing of this post (in fact, I’m sitting in the gallery looking at him as I write.)

For You is an anthropomorphic mouse holding a brightly wrapped gift and wearing a purple hat
For You

A Forest of Trees

The little needle felted trees I created last year seemed to be a popular choice, so I contunued them this year with the addition of some soft sculpture ones in denim. The new denim trees are hand and machine stitched, and feature hand needle felted “ornaments” on them. The needle felted trees again are snowcapped with white wool, and decorated with hand-stitched glass bead ornaments. All of these tiny trees measure around 9-10 inches tall, and stand on a natural edge wooden base.

A selection of Lynn's trees for the holidays. needle felted wool with glass beads, or upcycled denim with felted embellishment
Holiday Trees

New ornament

In addition to my puffins and polar bears I added some baby harp seal pups. The little bundles of fluff with the big black eyes are perfect for rendering in needle felted wool and glass beads,

baby harp seal holiday ornament
Seal Pup Ornament

A number of my original anthropomorphic needle felted sculptures can always be found at HGA. I also have a few non sculpture pieces like wet felted vessels, felted handbags, and needle felted wool “paintings.” Check out the gallery website for our hours during the holidays.

Needle felted snail art doll figure sculpture based on imagery pulled from Virginia Wolfe short story Kew Gardens

Summer Work

As Show Closes

My fetaured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is now down. The remaining work has been distributed around the gallery, and I’ve had a chance to sit at my studio table again. Getting new ideas going after mounting a show is sometimes a tricky activity. I always need to rev up my sketching. Not everything that I put to paper ends up executed in 3D, but this seems to be the process that works for me. I also take in a lot inspiration visual and otherwise. This can include anything from scrolling on Pinterest to catching a phrase while reading.

Following the Spark

Meet Persistence.

Needle felted snail sculpture based on imagery pulled from Virginia Wolfe short story Kew Gardens
Persistence

The idea of Persistence came to me from a couple of directions. I first just had the thought of creating a snail, no deeper meaning connected. I like the interesting form of the animal, and the endless variety of the size and shapes of their shells. When an idea occurs this way, I will often do a search of the topic. I look for meanings or symbolosm connected to the image.

Among the results that came up when I searched snail symbolism was a short story by Virginia Wolfe titled Kew Gardens. In this story an unnamed narrator is observing the garden along the side of a flower bed. Several pairs of people walk by each engaged in conversation. In between these snippits of dialogue, the narrator turns to describing the flower bed itself. Several of these descriptive musings note the progress of a snail. One critique I read of the story describes the snail as a manefestation of Wolfe’s depression. I have to say that I disagree with that interpretation. The snail seems to be steadfast in its determination to keep going on its path, and completely unaware of the concerns or even existence of the people passing by. I saw this little snail as persistent.

He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting form that contains a small sand bag inder his shell. The sand bag provides ballast to keep his head up. Hand sewn glass beads serve as his green eyes and tips of his tenticles.

Scary Cute

Scary-Cute

Pandas are often fodder for anthropomorphic art. The real animals are just so full of personality. The giant panda usually gets the attention, but the red panda can be equally as engaging. I came across a photo of two red pandas trying their best to intimidate the other. The result is nothing short of adorable! Much in the oxymoronic fashion of “ugly-pretty” I found their intimidation scary-cute.

My Panda is needle felted wool, over a wire and quilt batting armature. He has hand sewn glass bead eyes, and knotted yarn claws. This work features quite a bit of felting with a reverse needle to provide him with his fluffy look.

Last New Work Struts

Strut

Strut is just what he appears to be. An anthropomorphic rooster wearing spats and an ascot, and using a glass-topped and silver-tipped walking stick. Roosters seem so embued with confidence and flamboyance that depicting one as a bit of a dandy borders on cliche. He does seem to pull it off with flare, however.

Strut features colorful needle felted wool over a carefully balanced wire and quilt batting armature. His tail feathers I constructed by stitching a central anchor line in a strip of denim, and then fraying and trimming the sides. His spats are needle felted wool with copper brad embellishments. I used glass beads for his eyes and cane topper. The walking stick itself is a trimmed down chopstick painted black, with a jewelry ferrule tip, and silver wire and glass bead top.

That’s all the new sculpture work I have for you for now. Stay tuned.

Helping Sunflower Stand Tall

It is impossible to filter out all that happens in the world, and just create sculptures that depict cute happy little creatures. So, I’ve responded by creating some cute happy little creatures trying to say or do a bit more. “Helping Sunflower” is the next piece that will be available during my feature show in May. In this sculpture, three woodland creatures are working together to help a sunflower stand tall and straight.

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower

Ukrainian Sunflower

The whole world is now aware of the sunflower as symbol of Ukrainian national identity. We are also painfully conscious of that nation and its people’s need for help right now. I decided to depict that need and hopefully the resulting aid through this piece. My blossom is being aided by a trio of woodland animals.

Racoon Stability

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower – Raccoon detail

The raccoon at the base of the sculpture is doing more than holding up the stem of the sunflower. I filled his bottom with a small pouch of glass gems so that he provides ballast to this taller than average sculpture. His construction is needle felted wool over foam, batting and wire. His glass bead eyes are sewn and felted in place, and his whiskers are fishing line knotted in place. The fur is purposely felted in with ends loose to provide a fluffy fur coat and tail.

Mouse Has The Leaves

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping sunflower – mouse detail

A field mouse is perched on one leaf while he steadies another. His construction is felted wool over quilt batting. The mouse eyes and whiskers are the same as his raccoon friend.

Robin Provides Sunflower Air Support

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower – robin detail

At the very top a robin in flight grasps a petal in his beak. The robin was the trickiest element construction wise. I wanted to make sure he appeared to be pulling the flower upward. The wire armature travels up through the petal edge and on into the bird. The wing edges are left purposely loose to give the illusion of movement. The robin features needle felted wool over wire and batting with hand sewn glass bead eyes. The sunflower incorporates recycled chopsticks and wire in its stem, a machine stitched center that provides the illusion of seeds, and individually formed petals.

The sculpture will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts beginning May 24th.

Pond-er, anthropomorphic frog needle felted art doll figure sculpture seated in 'Thinker"pose

Three for May

Three to share today

It has been much too long since I’ve shared some new work from my studio work table. I have been busy creating new sculptures, but other computer work priorities have kept me from telling you about them here. As a result they have actually backed up a bit, so I have three new pieces to share today. They are all being saved for my featured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in May.

A Frog to Start the Trio

Pond-er, anthropomorphic frog needle felted art doll figure sculpture seated in 'Thinker"pose
Pond-er

Pond-er is the first of these three new art doll sculptures. Yes, he is reminiscent of Rodin’s “Thinker”, in a lighthearted amphibious way. He is an ultimate example of my frequent aim of minimal anthropomorphism. Trying to create figures that express human characteristic as minimally as possibly, and not by simply dressing them up in clothes. Pond-er is a natural for this approach, as the famous sculpture he is based on is also a nude figure.

Pond-er is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature frame. His eyes are glass beads that are sewn in place. Admittedly, he does just make me smile, and that is why I created him.

Two of Three

Morph, anthropomorphic zebra needle felted art doll figure sculpture with rainbow butterfly wings
Morph

Secondly, I’d like to introduce you to Morph. Morph is a rainbow zebra pega-fly? Tricky nomenclature aside, Morph is just a flight of fancy on my part. In my head I saw a zebra with butterfly wings where the black stripes became the borderlines of the wings, and the white gradates into the colors of the rainbow. I think that my expression of these ideas in Morph is pretty spot on. I will admit that Morph isn’t necessarily imbued with any particular human characteristics, she’s just a feast for the eyes. Though, she may express some thoughts of change and inclusion through her coloring and metamorphic nature. Morph’s construction is similar Pond-er.

A Bear in Solitude

Considered Solitude anthropomorphic needle felted bear art doll figure sculpture
Considered Solitude

The last of these three new pieces is Considered Solitude. It started by looking at the word solitude, and finding that a bear is an animal that is supposed to be representative of that concept. From there, I thought what might a bear do in its moments of solitude? Mine is carefully considering a daisy. This seated figure does have a simple scarf wrapped around his neck (perhaps it’s an ascot?) He just seemed to need something extra. Considered Solitude has the same felted wool over wire and quilt batting construction.

All three of these new works will be available at the end of May at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I will share more details as the date approaches.

Dare To Clash

Next week a new show installs at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Entitled, Stirrings, the show will feature new work by HGA member artists. For my contribution to the show I thought about the first few anthropomorphic pieces I created. Though I had sculpted animal inspired art dolls before, this was a whole new direction. High Fashion, was one of the first of these creatures, and she has remained one of my personal favorites. Dare to Clash recalls her predecessor. This giraffe is displaying her own unique style.

Dare to clash anthropomorphic giraffe sculpture, one of a kind needle felted art doll sculpture.
Dare To Clash

Perhaps she is over doing it just a bit with the animal prints, but her purple flats are on point. She also seems quite happy with her visor and large hoop earrings. They show off her long slender neck.

“Dare” stands a little over 13 inches high. She has bright glass bead eyes capped off with long black lashes. Her custom footwear is hand sewn from faux leather.

This piece really a represents a labor of love. I fully recall how labor intensive adding all of the giraffe spots to High Fashion was. Now I added leopard spots, and tiger and zebra stripes to mix! Needless to say, she took quite some time.

Close up of dare to clash
Dare close up

Dare to Clash will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting Tuesday, February 22nd. Come and check her out along with all new the “Stirrings”.

Happily Hauling Home

Mother and Baby Polar Bear Gather Their Tree

Happily Hauling. Anthropomorphic polar bear sculpture
Happily Hauling

This is the latest anthropomorphic offering from my work table. I’ve been fortunate. The holiday creations that I introduced you to over the past few weeks: Powder Bear, Emperor Coco, and the Caroling Mice all have gone on to their forever homes. Seeing as I had some empty pedestal tops in the gallery, I thought another holiday offering was in order. A new mother-child polar bear art doll sculpture is that piece. This work recalls my sculpture, Winter Ride, from last year. That mother and child polar bear pair were enjoying a sleigh ride.

Happily Hauling. Anthropomorphic polar bear sculpture
Happily Hauling, Mother bear focus

Happily Hauling has the smaller bear perched atop the Christmas tree they are bringing home. The mother bear is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. She has hand sewn glass bead eyes, and a custom harness of bright red chording and steampunk embellishments. The smaller bear is needle felted wool over felted quilt batting. The minature tree is constructed of felted wool over a narrow dowel (chopstick) core.

Happily Hauling. Anthropomorphic polar bear sculpture
Happily Hauling, baby focus

Rerun From Last Year

Time did not allow me to create a bit of stop motion animation of this sculpture. You may recall, that I produced a couple of these videos last year. You can click here to enjoy Winter Ride in motion again.

Happily Hauling is already available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Stop in to see all the art and holiday offerings by the HGA member artists.

I hope your holiday season is cozy, merry, and bright. Now, I must be off to work on more little holiday trees!

Holiday Show Crunch

Now that my featured artist show has come down, it is time to turn attention to my holiday show inventory. Beyond more “gift-able” items like my original design needle felted ornaments, I also enjoy creating a few one-of-a-kind seasonally themed sculptures. The first for this year is Powder Bear.

Powder Bear anthropomorphic art doll polar bear ski sculpture
Powder Bear

Powder Bear is a ski themed anthropomorphic polar bear figure with a vintage look. This art doll sculpture stands 12 inches tall. He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting form. I crafted his ski boots and goggles from recycled leather from an old used journal book. His ski’s are glue laminated card stock and patterned paper, and his ski poles are repurposed chopsticks, faux-leather, and metal gear embellishments.

Powder Bear anthropomorphic art doll polar bear ski sculpture.
Powder Bear side view

Powder Bear will be soon be available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. The holiday show installs on November 15th when the OCAG studio tour preview ends. For now, it is time to get back in the studio and finish up Powder Bear’s holiday friends.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup.

Wonderland Looking Glass Mash Up

Passes Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times

My work travels through Alice in Wonderland’s looking glass every once in a while. Alice makes a number of appearances, and the White Rabbit showed up once as well. My latest trip through the looking glass appears to have taken a number of trips. “Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times” is a mashup of several of the Wonderland denizens. Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, The Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and Absolem all lend elements to the piece.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic rabbit needle felted art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass One too Many Times

The sculpture not only brings together several different characters, but several types of media as well. The rabbit figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Her eyes are iridescent black glass beads, that give the illusion of eyes of many different colors. I created her long eye lashes by fringing black denim, and sewing them in place. Her apron is white cotton and lace with needle felted wool pocket, heart appliqué, and novelty heart button. The “Drink Me” bottle is a compilation of beads with a small paper craft tag. I made Abselom’s hookah from a wooden ball, glass and metal beads, leather chord and metal findings. Her curly Alice locks are dyed wool roving from Susan Hope‘s (HGA artist) sheep.

Take Two, Take Three

Some pieces emerge fully formed in the sketchbook on take one. I create some on the fly with just a concept in mind. Through The Looking Glass was a fully formed concept that I needed to sketch. The first drawing was just too much, and felt forced. My second try also missed the mark. I felt that the figure had to try to accomplish the challenge of combining the figures without getting drowned in costuming. My third sketch served as the basis of this final piece. I hope you’ll agree I found the balance I was looking for.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass … hat

At The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times will also make her debut at HGA in September. I will be sure to share when she and all her friends are available.