Tag Archives: figure sculpture

Queen Bee.

My thoughts this past week have turned to spring. I know it is a tad early, but living in the south provides this transplanted yankee with a bit of a head start. I have been patiently (ok, not really) awaiting the opening of some of the early blooms in the garden, so I can create some new botanical gell press prints. While those buds have stubbornly stayed closed, I turned my attention to a queen bee sketch I had recently created.

Coronation of the Queen

That sketch is actually the second or third incarnation of this figure in my book. Initial attempts taught me that a more biologically accurate figure might not be wise. For example, insect mandibles make a sweet smile difficult. Likewise, the last pair of legs that should also be attached to the insect’s thorax appeared gangly. So, I settled on a bit more anthropomorphication than usual, even if against my former biology teacher inclinations. The result is my queen bee, Coronation.

Queen bee figure. Anthropomorphic needle felted sculpture with copper, glass bead and crystal embellishments.
Coronation

Queen Bee Construction

Coronation is decked out all her finest regalia. Her crown is felted wool over wire with hand sewn beads and crystals. Her scepter is a painted and wire wrapped dowel with a wire and bead honeycomb head. The hive orb she holds is needle felted wool over batting with crystal embellishments. The bodice of her dress is a metalic trim with a pattern that appears hexagonal when stretched. Her wings form a “robe” over her shoulders. I created these by nuno-felting white wool fiber over a fine tule mesh, and “veining” with metallic thread. The wings are sewn on to the copper wing wires, and then finished by pressing with spray starch. The bottom of her gown’s fitted skirt, is slightly flared and ends in a “stinger” train which allows her to stand upright.

I took process images while I created this piece. I personally enjoy seeing how an artist gets from point A to B, so I thought you might appreciate it as well.

  • Queen bee figure. Anthropomorphic needle felted sculpture with copper, glass bead and crystal embellishments.
  • wire armature of queen bee figure.
  • wire armature of queen bee figure.
  • wire armature of queen bee figure, weighted feet detail
  • felted quilt batting and black yarn over wire armature
  • Queen bee figure. Anthropomorphic needle felted sculpture with copper, glass bead and crystal embellishments.

Instead of holding this piece for my featured artist show this summer, I think I may bring her in to the gallery as a herald of spring. Who know’s, perhaps she is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for someone’s own queen bee.

It’s Not All Springy

This past holiday season taught me a thing or two. One lesson was that people seem to appreciate my one-of-a-kind felted ornaments. A second lesson, was that I could hardly keep them in stock. As a result, I’m trying to spread their creation out over the year a bit. I already put a couple away, but thought I’d share the one that was still sitting on my work table. It is somewhat different from what you may be used to, as it isn’t a figure, but instead a ball that uses a wool dryer ball as its base. It is just the third of this type that I’ve created, and titled Winter Twilight #2.

Zentangle Zebra, Zen-bra? Zeb-tangle?

Either way, it’s a horse of a different stripe.

Continuing my sketchbook exploration into animal patterns, I came up with the idea of a zentangled zebra. Zebra stripes provide a great graphical element, and I have played with zebras and their stripes before. My first was titled Morph. Morph’s black stripes merged into the black lines of a butterfly’s wings, as those wings then diverged from black and white into a rainbow. A second zebra, titled Everything has a Price, has stripes on of one of its side flanks that transform into a barcode label.

I think that I have finally settled on the title Zen-bra for this latest striped figure. This dimunitive equine stands about 9″ tall. She is needle felted wool over an armature of wire and quilt batting. Her eyes are hand sewn glass beads, and I sewed her hooves from faux leather. I played with stylized zentangle patterns within the confines of many of her black stripes and a few of the white spaces. The result is a trubute to the art of the mindful doodle.

Zen-bra will not appear in the gallery until this summer as she is part of the show Natural Patterns.

Something for May

I also completed a couple of small functional pieces this week, They are in preparation of an event this May at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. On Saturday, May 11th the gallery is planning a Mother’s Day Pop-Up. This event will be similar to the Holiday Pop-Up this past December, and will feature items perfect for Mom. I will update you on addtional items from myself, and other HGA artists that will be available that day. In the mean time, a little teaser… Two “Tokyo tie” hand bags with needle felted embellishments. I constructed the bags from commercial felt and a contrasting fabric liner. They each feature original embellishment, and a snap closure.

Peace and Procedure –

First a little Peace.

Seems we could all use a little peace right now. My latest anthropomorphic figure sculpture is a “tie dyed” giraffe named Peace. I looked at numerous sources for the symbolism attributed to the giraffe, and grace, gentleness, and peace came up over and over. You may recall several other giraffe sculptures, like last years’ Change Up. They are an animal that I find I enjoy sculpting. Giraffes have such interesting forms and proportions. I think I find them simultaneously graceful and comical.

Peace is a "tye dye" giraffe sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and quilit batting armature.
Peace

Peace stands about 15″ tall, and casts a glance at her viewer from under long magenta lashes. She is needle felted wool, over a wire and quilt batting armature. Her hooves are hand-stiched faux leather, and her eyes are iridecent glass beads.

close up of Peace "tye dye" giraffe sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and quilit batting armature.
Peace’s portrait

I created Peace using a different approach. Needle felting is usually done with loose wool roving fibers, but this unique hide pattern required something different. I hand dyed wool prefelt using alcohol inks, and then cut the individual blocks of color and needle felted them to the sculpture.

Not Quite Tie Dye Procedure

There is a faux tie dye method you may be aware of that uses permanent Sharpie type markers, and alcohol. I modified that process using drops of alcohol inks in place of drawing dots with markers.

  1. prefelt fabric is stretched across plastic cup and secured with rubber band
  2. drops of alcohol ink
  3. alcohol is dropped over ink drops allowing colors to spread and mix
  4. mixing of colors
  5. complete panel
  6. dyed prefelt after rinsing and heat set in dryer

Peace will probably not make an appearance in the gallery until this summer for my feature show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. She is the first of several sculptures for that show. These sculptures will feature animals that have distinctive “animal print” coat patterns that I have altered in some way.

Venus Dances For Herself - anthropomorphic dancing rabbit sculpyure with celestial designs. needle felted wool

More Dancing Rabbits?

Yes, more dancing rabbits.

Happy New Year! Now that the holiday season has past, it is time to turn attention to shows for the new year. Currently, at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts there is a show featuring the work of past member artists titled, Past To Present. It is definitely worth a visit to check out, and will be up through February 18th.

What about the Dancing Rabbits?

Opening in February, we again will be presenting our “It’s All About The Story” show. This year, we are partnering with a local songwriter and musician, Mary Rocap. We have created work in response to her music, and yes, I have again turned to dancing rabbits. Actually, just one rabbit this time. You may recall the pair of dancing rabbits I created in response to Jaki Shelton Green’s poetry last year. This year’s representative of the family Leporidae is titled Venus Dances For Herself, and she was inspired by Mary’s song Jupiter and Venus.

The song is a reimagining of the myth based on the December sky conjunction of the two planets. My sculpture is a reimagining of Mary’s song. She tells the tale of Venus’s yearly plea to Jupiter to accept her and Mars’ love child. My Venus is dancing to please herself, and doen’t care if she has Juputer’s approval. She is dancing with her own joy.

Venus Dances For Herself is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. Her black coat is patterned with swirls, stars, and a sylized Venus “tattoo.”

Venus Dances For Herself - anthropomorphic dancing rabbit sculpyure with celestial designs. needle felted wool
Venus Dances For Herself – “tattoo” detail

Venus is further embellished with hand sewn crystal and glass beads. Her eyes are irridecent glass gems that are glued and felted in position, and her whiskers are fashioned from fishing line.

I will remind you about Venus, and the story show again as the date approaches.

Ornament, Ornament.

No time to waste, here’s a couple more ornament offerings.

I was out of town a few days last week, and I have just gotten back in the studio. My inventory of ornaments for the holidays was in need of a boost. So, here are a couple of new additions for you to check out. If you are looking for them, I probably will not get them into HGA until tomorrow. As I’m writing, it is already afternoon, and I haven’t even printed their labels yet!

Cephalopoda Adorno

Cephalopoda adorno one-of-a-kind needle felted anthropomorphic octopus holiday ornament with glass bead "mino-ornaments" and Santa hat
Cephalopoda adorno

This octopus ornament may be my favorite of the season. Cephalopoda adorno (decorating octopus) is my own new species of cephalopod. This tiny magenta octopus wears a Santa cap, and has several mini Christmas ball ornaments grasped in various tenticles. He seems quite excited about decorating, and with so many arms will certainly make short work of it.

Cephalopoda adorno is needle felted wool, over a quilt batting core. I did not create an internal armature for this ornament, but rather chose stitch or felt his limbs into their positions. The green sparkling eyes and mini ornaments are all created from large glass beads. Each of the little ornaments I created from the bead, a small eyelet, and a small solid jump ring.

Mouse Musician

Mousician is a white mouse with a red sweater and a matching cap. He carrys in his two front paws a tiny felted lute. Both rodent and instrument are needle felted wool over quilt batting. This piece also features metalic thread strings on the lute, and hand sewn glass beads for his eyes and the lute’s tuning knobs.

Mousician is a one-of-a-kind needle felted anthropomorphic mouse holiday ornament with a lute
Mousician

He appears ready to ask for requests for the next carol to sing. In fact, he may be an inspiration for next year’s edition of my caroling mice.

Well, I must be getting back to the work table, just a few more days of holiday themed work left!

Winter Stag. Nordic patterned white stag sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and batting armatur. Pop-Up date change

Last Minute Change!

Pop-up Date Change

Just when you think you got it all figured out… Nature steps in and says,” Not so fast!”

The Holiday Pop-Up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts has been pushed up to this Saturday, December 9th from 12 – 4pm. The one day shift is due to predictied rainy weather for Sunday. We hope that you have time to change your calendar and stop by to see what’s happening on Saturday.

As I wrote last time, I’ve been busy creating special new items for the Pop-up. and I have several new One-of-a-Kind felted ornaments to share.

They are: Moose Auditions for Santa, Bear finds a Tree, Knit, Emperor Pop, Camel Heads North, Santa Pig, Hockey Fox, and Snow Fairy. All but “Hockey Fox” are still available and will be at the Pop-Up event Saturday. I have been making a single One-of-a-Kind ornament available in the gallery as a teaser for the Pop-up. They have captured attention, and several of the ornaments shared last time already sold (Gallina Nix, Cozy, Deco-deer, Cocoa 2.) But don’t worry, I still have most of them here in my studio, and there will be a varied selection available on Saturday!

Also in the Gallery Now

I created a second nordic patterned sculpture specifically for our small side window at HGA. The gallery elves decorated that side widow in an extra special way for the season in cool hues of blue. I created Winter Stag for that window display. You can stop by and check him out, or even take him home.

Winter Stag. Nordic patterned white stag sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Winter Stag

Winter Stag features fine line needle felted wool patterns reminicent of embroidery. I create this effect by drawing out thin threads of twisted wool fiber, and then felt that down on the surface. In essence, drawing on the surface of my sculpture with the wool. This piece is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. His eyes are iridescent glass beads, and his antlers are wool over wire and wrapped and secured with silver thread.

You will also find the gingerbread house HGA is hosting for the town’s tour and competition in that same window. After your visit, you can vote for the gingerbread house on the Hillsborough Chamber’s web site.

Mice!

I have created a new set of caroling mice again this year. “Caroling Mice ’23” are belting out their carols in a full throated way just for you. They are already at HGA, and would also be happy to find thier forever holiday home.

Caroling Mice 23. needle felted 1-of-a-kind holiday ornament
Caroling Mice 2023

Remember, Pop-Up Date Change!

I will have several other items available in our Pop-Up Shop tent and inside HGA on Saturday, stop by and see what they are. I hope that we made our change of plans early enough for you to change yours!

Holiday Calendar…

Where did the time go?

To the untrained eye it appears to be the beginning of November. For someone, who creates hand crafted art items, it is holiday crunch season. Over the next two weeks, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts hosts the preview show for the Orange County Artists Guild’s – Open Studio Tour. When that show comes down on 11/13, HGA dons its holiday attire!

Each year I create new holiday/winter themed original pieces, and bring back items that have been favorites over the years. This year, I have a bit of both, and something completely new, for a special event.

Pointing North

Polar bear anthropomorphic sculpture with snow motif. Needle felted sculpture
Polar

Polar is the latest anthropomorphic figure sculpture to step off of my work table. He follows several predecessors, both as a polar bear, and my recent series of figures with patterned surfaces. I captured this bear mid-step as he looks up to greet his viewer. His coat bears distinctive markings of swirling snowflakes. Though he is definitely a denizen of the north, I think he’d be happy to be around all year long. Polar will be arriving at HGA on November 13th.

Holiday Pop-up!

I mentioned a special event earlier. This year, along with our usual array of art and gift ideas for the holidays, HGA is planning a special event for Sunday December 10th. This event is so new, the details are still coming together. So far, we are planning extra new and interesting items, some available just for that day. Some artists will be offering specials. We will have holiday treats on hand, and are planning a gift card giveaway. Keep checking back here, and I will update you as the plans solidify.

One thing I’m doing for the Holiday Pop-up, is making some one-of-a-kind ornaments. If you’re a regular reader, you know I make needle felted puffins and polar bears each year. And, yes, I will be bringing in several of each when we install the holiday show on 11/13…

But, this year, for the Pop-Up on December 10th, I will bring in these one-of-a-kind mini-sculptures.

Please meet: Ski Bear, Sugar Plum Bunny, Gallina Nix, Domin, Cozy, Deco-Deer, Aquilo, and Cocoa 2. Each is a unique design created just for this year. They vary somewhat in size and complexity. Don’t ask now, they are not priced yet, and they will not be available until 12/10.

Old Favorites Too

As I said, I will bring in some of my “old favorites” for the holidays as well. Some of these will be available in the gallery starting November 13th.

Preview!

Take a look at new work.

Now that my featured artist show is all installed at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, here is a preview for you. I know that I’ve already shared and wrote about all the pieces you’ll encounter, but here is a look at them in the gallery.

Something almost magical happens when three artist start to install a show in our HGA Feature Gallery. Somehow, no matter how different the work, it just seems to make sense together. My little howling wolf Loup Nouveau appears to have a moon painted just for him in Ellie Reinhold’s Reciprocus.

Preview of works in Featured Artist show 2023
Loup Nouveau and moon in Reciprocus

A trio of my patterned pieces greets you at the Featured Exhibit room main entrance. They are all examples of my treating the figures’ surface as a canvas for pattern.

Preview of works in Featured Artist show 2023
Florian, Hesperia, and Finding True North

Tea With My Octopus Teacher, came home last week after being part of the National Teapot show at Cedar Creek Gallery. This piece is doubly fun, as it is also a functional work as well. It is a sculptural handbag. The octopus’ clasped arms form a handle, and a small button clasp secures the teapot lid. Inside, is a fully lined compartment. It is displayed in a grouping with My Balloon, and Prince Frog.

Preview of works in Featured Artist show 2023
Tea With My Octopus Teacher, My Balloon and Prince Frog

Change Up, the giraffe with ox pecker attendants applying her colored spots is displayed alongside Kanga And Roo.

Preview of works in Featured Artist show 2023
Change Up, and Kanga & Roo

Dance is a pair of cranes captured mid step in a courtship dance. You see them here in front of my pair of elephants working together to climb wooden blocks titled Ele-vate.

Preview of works in Featured Artist show 2023
Dance, and back of Eye-vate

Hope you enjoyed the preview, and hope to see you tomorrow! The Show opening recepition is 6-9pm during the Hillsborough Last Friday Art Walk event.

Reciprocus Open

Featured Artist Show “Reciprocus” Installs Today

After the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts closes this afternoon, changes in the Featured Gallery room will occur. The gallery elves, otherwise known as the member artists, will set about taking down one show, and installing the next. Reciprocus, and the new work I’ve shared with you here will be ready to view starting tomorrow, September 25. The show will run through October 22nd. The opening reception will be this Friday, the 29th from 6 to 9 during the Last Friday Art walk.

postcard design for "Reciprocus" art show at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts featuring Lynn Wartski, Ellie Reinhold, and Pat Merriman

I will be sure to share some images of the installed show with you in a few days. Hope to see you all on Friday!

Loup Nouveau

Art Nouveau Inspiration

I think Loup Nouveau is the last figure sculpture that will be included in my featured artist show. We install at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in just a little over a week. Next week, I will share more show specific details, so stay tuned!

His name is Loup Nouveau. He is the next in my series of patterned figures. I captured this rather young looking little wolf mid howl. I adorned him with an art nouveau inspired floral pattern.

needle felted howling wolf art doll figure sculpture with art nouveau inspired floral pattern, titled Loup Nouveau
Loup Nouveau

Loup Nouveau is needle felted wool over an armature I created of wire and quilt batting. For the figure itself, I used natural colored wool fibers. The leaves and flowers are colored wool from various sources. Some I dyed with natural food colors.

Perhaps it is this young pup’s first howling attempt. He certainly appears to be giving it his all. As with my other patterned creatures, I’ve applied them in a manner that I hope flows over the figure. I want them to have a harmony with the form and appear to have grown with the sculpture.

Loup’s eyes which appear blue in the images, are iridecent black glass beads. I prefer, as I have mentioned before, glass beads over more realistic doll making eyes. It is a personal preference. I find that doll eyes tend to cross a bit into the creepy realm for me. Glass beads, as seen in this case, provide the sparkle needed without the creep factor.

Loup Nouveau, and his art nouveau florals will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Art beginning Monday, September 25. He and all his fuzzy felted friends hope to see you at the opening reception during the Last Friday Art Walk from 6-9 on Friday the 29th. The show will run through Sunday, October 22nd.