Tag Archives: cat

Try, Try and Try Again.

Still a Work In Progress?

I know that I haven’t shared any new work for a few weeks. Work time at the table has been split between pieces for my summer feature show, and smaller items for our gallery’s Mother’s Day/spring Pop-up. I decided not to try to share images of all the mini sculptures. Time spent editing photos takes away from creating. My latest sculpture made me “try again” each time I looked at photos of it. Something just wasn’t quite the way I wanted it.

Meet Snow Joy, I might aptly refer to him as my recent nemesis. I continued my exploration of transformed animal print patterns with the idea of a snow leopard. Specifically, a snow leopard cub with some markings that appeared suspiciously like snowflakes. The result is Snow Joy.

anthropomorphic snow leopard sculpture needle felted wool over wire and batting armature, with "snow" leopard patterning. made artist try more reverse felting
Snow Joy

What wasn’t right about Snow Joy? He just needed more, more expression, more movement, and more fuzziness. In needle felting, a fuzzy surface is usually a no-no. The goal is to achieve a nice smooth surface to one’s work. The exception to this is when you want an intentionally fuzzy or long haired appearance. I encountered a challenge with this. The usual method used is more like rooting one end of the fibers, but this doesn’t lend itself to the surface patterning I was trying to achieve. As you might imagine I was unimpressed with the images I took of the completed piece.

Try Again

So, I reworked his coat some with a reverse felting needle. This unique needle does nothing as you stab into the wool, and pulls fibers up from below as you back out. I took more photos. Nope, still not right, try again. This time, I contorted the sculpture into a more exaggerated posture. I reattached it to the “rock” I felted as a partial base, and more reverse felting.

anthropomorphic snow leopard sculpture needle felted wool over wire and batting armature, with "snow" leopard patterning. made artist try more reverse felting
Snow Joy portrait

He’s closer now to what I had in my mind and sketchbook. Sometimes I need to take another step back and look again with fresh eyes. You may see some updated images as we get closer to show time. Stay tuned.

Snow Joy is needle felted wool over an armature of wire and quilt batting. His “rock” started out life as a wool dryer ball that I beat, squished, and felted into a different shape. I then felted grey and white wool in a marbling like pattern to the rock surface. Snow Joy’s coat has random crystals sewn to it, and his eyes are glass beads. I used fishing line for his whiskers, and dark transparent thread for his eye brow hairs.

Snow Joy may appear as you see in my FA show in July, or I may take another stab (pun intended) at him in the coming weeks.

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.

Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll

A Bard Bird, A Book Cat, and Bags.

Literature often serves as a fertile idea source. Today’s sculptures do not pull from specific stories, but they do have book related themes.

Crow by the Book

My elizabethan crow is titled Upstart. A playwright contemporary of Shakespeare named, Robert Greene, referred to The Bard as an “upstart crow”. Greene was university educated and thought that actors like Shakespeare should stick to delivering lines, not writing them. The joke is now on mister Greene, as most of us only encounter his name when looking up the origin of the phrase. I first read an explanation on the bag of a bookstore with that name, and there is also a British sit-com by the same title.

Upstart Crow anthropomorphic art doll

My “Upstart” is apparently delivering some grand soliloquy. His feathered cap, and white ruffed collar seemed the only elements needed to place him in time and context. Getting his bird form into a human posture and proportion was key with this piece. He commands much more attention than his 12 inch frame would normally attract.

Literary Cat and Her Book

Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll
Literary Cat

I do admit to having favorites among my creations, and the needle felted cat sculpture I titled Literary Cat is one of them. The inquisitive feline appears ready to tell you something she just read in her book. With her wire rimmed spectacles and scarf she is ready to get comfortable and curl up in the corner of a bookstore or library. This calico is right at home in a show titled “Three Narratives.”

Something Different?

I am going to take a little detour in introducing my anthropomorphic friends, to share a couple of additions to my “Available for Purchase” page. Last year I added two sculptural felted purses to my feature show, and they were well received. They each quickly found their way to good homes as functional pieces of art. This year, I went a slightly different route. I’ve up-cycled some old jeans into bags that I then embellished with needle felted sculptural elements.

Both bags are fully lined, and have jean button closures. The Poppy Field bag has an additional interior pocket. The Slow Daisies bag has an adjustable handle that allows it to be used as a shoulder or crossbody. Both are one-of-a-kind originals. Size and price details can be found on the “Available for Purchase” page.