Tag Archives: needle felted

Bee Now And Mini Later.

This week I turned my attention to some smaller “mini” pieces. I think that I mentioned before that HGA will be having another Pop-Up event in May on the Saturday (11th) before Mother’s Day. Though it would be wonderful for visitors to all want to give their moms one of my larger sculpture creations, I am realistic about Mother’s Day gifts. Most mother’s day gifting is in the form of smaller remembrances, flowers, cards, etc. Much like my one-of-a-kind ornaments for the holidays, I sketched up a few smaller sculpture ideas. So far, I have settled on a few anthropomorphic botanicals. I wanted to strike a balance of sweet for mom, but not too “cutesy.”

Meet the Mini Sculpts

From my work table are some small sculptures that would be at home on a book shelf, or desk corner. Meet mini Mush, Morel, and Thistle. They will make their debut at HGA for the Mother’s Day Pop-up. It may be hard to wait for their arrival, but May will be here before you know it. I will be creating a few more of these in the coming weeks, so check back to see them too.

Speaking of Gallery Debutants

You met Coronation, my queen bee, a couple of weeks ago. She came into the gallery with me today. She seems to already be making friends. I think that she makes a sunny addition to this front pedestal grouping. There is nothing mini about her presence.

Coronation of Queen Bee (anthropomorphic bee sculpture) at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts
Coronation at HGA

Reminder:

This Sunday at 4pm, HGA will be hosting a performance by Mary Rocap, the singer songwriter who served as a muse for our yearly “It’s All About the Story” show. Me and many of my fellow HGA artists will also be in attendance and can guide you through our inspiration for the visual component of the show.

Update: My piece for the “It’s All About The Story” show, Venus Dances For Herself”, has already sold and gone to her new home. Normally, works in a feature show stay with a red dot until the end, but this was a special birthday purchase, so we let the piece go home with the customer. So, just in case you missed her…

Sacred Cow?

A cow patterned coat we all might recognize.

I continued my exploration of altering and reenvisioning animal prints and patterns this past week by considering the cow. The cow print is a friendlier, less threatening, less exotic animal pattern. Cows simultaneously hold wholesome (family farm), villainous (deforestation, climate, health), and even sacred reputations. This variability in how bovines are viewed is intriguing. The term “sacred cow” is equally intriguing. Rising from the Hindu veneration of the animal, it’s usage refers to something unreasonably immune to criticism or opposition. Finding that cows are also held as a symbol of Mother Earth inspired this piece as a “sacred cow” I could agree with.

Gaia - Sacred Cow sculpture, needle felted wool over wire and batting armature with globe patterning
Gaia – Sacred Cow

She is inspired by the ancient Greek godess, Gaia, who is the personification of Earth. I replaced the classic black and white patterning of her hide with the blue and green of the globe. Gaia is my first cow figure sculpture, but she may inspire more.

Gaia is needle felted wool, over a wire and quilt batting armature form, with iridecent glass bead eyes. Her horns are felted wool over a pipe cleaner support. The sculpture’s coat was created “coloring book” style. I marked her globe pattern by hand using outlines printed and cut from a simple world map. I then needle felted the green and blue areas with my colored wool. You supplied positive feedback from previous posts where I included process information and images like those below. I will try to remind myself to keep sharing photos and descriptions like these. It also aids viewers in understanding the creation time involved in each piece.

Though she was quite time consuming, I am happy with the results.

Gaia will most likely make her gallery debut this summer for my feature show at HGA. Stay tuned for further information.

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.

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.

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.

Rabbit, Rabbit (or, Hare, Owl?)

No one seems to know exactly why saying “rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month is supposed to be good luck. To be honest, I never really followed the tradition… But, it is the first of the month, and one of the pieces I’m sharing is a hare. So, I figured, why not?

Boho Bunny (rabbit, hare, lepus)

I mentioned that “Finding True North” sparked a series of patterned figures in my sketchbook. Florian started as one of those sketches. I have produced a number of rabbit figures, and Florian takes them in a new direction. Seems he would be equally at home hiding in your flower garden, on the edge of a meadow, or on the pages of a storybook.

Hare sculpture with boho floral patterning. Needle felted wool - wire and batting armature - rabbit
Florian

I tried to capture Florian in that moment of rabbit stillness deciding if he should remain motionless or bolt. Looking more closely at him, I think he still is a work-in-progress. I see that I want to define his feet a bit more, and want to tweak his position to depict a bit more tension.

Evening Star

Hesperia refers to the direction of the setting sun, or the evening star. I did a search of owl names online, and Hesperia jumped out at me. She looks at the viewer with piercing clear blue eyes that are a similar hue as her distinctive circular and star like markings.

Owl sculpture white with blue patterning. Needle felted wool - wire and batting armature
Hesperia

I tried something different with this bird’s talons. For most bird feet, I “felt” yarn that I have wrapped around the wire armature all the way to the end. This creates a challenge of getting the ends tight enough to not allow the wire to poke through. This time I stopped the yarn at the claws. The claws themselves I fashioned by layering black tissue paper and glue. The result is a more solid end cap that also secures the yarn wrapping of the foot.

Both sculptures are needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. They also both contain internal elements for ballast and balance. In Florian, I used stuffing beads. Hesperia has strategically placed fishing weights in her tail, and legs to allow her to stand.

Show Installs 9/25, reception 9/29

Hesperia, Florian, and many of their friends will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting on September 25th. The reception for my feature show, Reciprocus, with fellow HGA artists Ellie Reinhold and Pat Merriman is that Friday, September 29th. I hope to see you then!

needle felted anthropomorphic animal figure sculptures with patterned surfaces
Patterned series

Finding True North

It is defined as getting on the right course, and proceeding in the right direction.

Finding True North - sculpture of breaching and spouting sperm whale with nautical "tattoo" imagery - needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Finding True North (left view)

My latest sculpture, Finding True North, is a white sperm whale. I depict him breaching far out of the water, and spouting from his blowhole. It is, of course, an obvious nod to Moby Dick, but I hope he is a bit more. My white whale is adorned with a variety of nautical “tattoos”. Some of these images are navigational symbols. I hope he suggests finding one’s way for the viewer rather than serving as a symbol of singleminded obsession as Melville’s whale did.

Finding True North - sculpture of breaching and spouting sperm whale with nautical "tattoo" imagery - needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Finding True North (right view)

Magnetic North

Finding True North is needle felted wool over an armature of wire and quilt batting. Several points of sparkle are incorporated in this sculpture through the use of hand sewn glass beads. Iridecent black beads are used for his eyes, clear crystals for the stars of the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor dipper constellations, and blue seed beads accentuate the spout spray. The symbols are truly wool tatoos as the colored wool is applied through repeated needle sticks to the surface. The piece also features a bit of metalic thread to highlight the constellations that indicate the location of the North Star, Polaris. Additionally, I used some of the synthetic quilt batting I mainly use in my sculptures’ interior form as a fiber source for the bright white of the water spray.

Though my whale is baring his one row of large teeth he doesn’t appear menacing. He will be smiling and providing guidance and navigation soon at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I will let you know when he is available for purchase.

Birds, Balloon and Bling!

What do the three words in the title have in common? They accompany the main figures in this post. I have three new friends to introduce to you, a girraffe with a michevious ox pecker entourage, a baby rhino and her balloon, and a snail with a lot of bling.

First Up, Is Change Up

needle felted anthropomorphic giraffe sculpture with ox pecker birds and color surprise
Change Up

“Change Up” is my newest creation featuring a giraffe as the main figure. This time I had a bit of fun with the giraffe’s patterning. The ox packer birds are applying her distinctive coat pattern. However, it seems that the bird at the back has some different ideas about color. The giraffe looks interested, but it is unclear if she approves of the pop (or is that bling?) at this point.

Change Up is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. All have hand sewn glass bead eyes.

Bling!

Bling! is a snail with an eye for embellishment. They are decked out with a bright blue shell that is encrusted with beaded barnacles.

I began Bling! with a wire armature and a pouch of poly stuffing beads for ballast. That base is wrapped in quilt batting, and the surface is sculpted in wool with felting needles. All the beaded (including eyes), sequined, and fringe elements are hand applied with “invisible” thread. I’m kind of in love with their goofy expression.

needle felted anthropomorphic snail sculpture with highly embellished shell
Bling!

This Balloon is My Bling

My little rhino titled My Balloon, seems enamored wirth her possession. Perhaps it is because her balloon provides a bit of bling too? Whatever the reason, she looks pretty happy. In fact, she appears to be making double sure that her balloon doesn’t get away. She has the string both looped around her front foot, and firmly clasped in her mouth.

My Balloon is needle felted wool over a wire, poly bead, and quilt batting form. The balloon is needle felted wool over batting, with yarn felted around a wire core for the string. Her eyes are hand sewn glass beads with frayed yarn lashes.

needle felted anthropomorphic baby rhinoceros sculpture with polka dot balloon
My Balloon

Stay tuned

I’m not sure when each of these sculptures will show up in the gallery. More than likely Bling or My Balloon will make an appearance first, as Change Up is a more suited to the theme of my September feature show. I have been a playing catch up with inventory these past few weeks (one reason you haven’t seem many posts.) I will let you know when I drop anything off, or make it available for purchase elsewhere.

Octopus Tea, Frog Song, and Mouse Wish

Octopus to the gallery…

but not HGA? I have been quite busy the past few weeks creating something a bit different. I was invited to create a piece for a rather well known reoccuring show, The National Teapot Show at Cedar Creek Gallery. Yes, I did type “teapot show”, but no, I did not create a functional teapot, or did I? Well, to be exact, I created a sculptural piece that is a one-of-a-kind functional handbag, but you cannot serve tea from it. This quirky and slightly surreal creation is titled, Tea With My Octopus Teacher, and features a spotted red octopus encircling a creamware teapot.

Surreal one-of-a-kind needle felted sculptural handbag with yellow polka dotted red octopus on a creamware teapot
Tea With My Octopus Teacher

The piece references two works of mine: “Multitasking” – a tea serving octopus, “Clutched” – a black evening clutch with an aqua octopus, and the award winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher. The sculptural bag measures 10″x 10″x 6.5″. The octopus’ intertwined tentacles serve as a handle, and a button closure secures a fully lined interior. The show opens May 20th, and I’ll share details in a few weeks.

Save to Feature, or Not?

This is a question I perennially find myself wrestling with. I had already started hoarding work for my show in September, especially any that I felt photographed particularly well. However, taking some time to create my teapot and recent sales have stretched my available inventory. I know this is an excellent problem to have, and as a result I’m taking a couple pieces into the gallery this week.

The first piece is completely new, and is titled Songs and Wishes.

Sculpture of Frog and Mouse singing and wishing on a dandelion. Needle felted wool and recycled denim over wire and batting.
Songs and Wishes

This sculpture features a little vignette that includes a singing frog, a mouse wishing on a dandelion seed head, and a dandelion partially fashioned from recycled denim. As I had mentioned earlier, many of the pieces this year incorporate two or more figures. I enjoy the movement and playfulness in this sculpture.

The sculpture is needle felted wool, and recycled denim over wire and batting. I also included stuffing beads in the lower portions for ballast. You can see Songs and Wishes at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this Tuesday, 4/25.

I introduced the second piece going to HGA a few posts back.

two young elephants helping each other climb blocks. Needlefelted sculpture on wooden blocks
Ele-vate

Ele-vate features two small elephants helping each other climb up some wooden blocks. all of the elements are tied together in what is also a quite playful piece. This sculpture will be at HGA starting on 4/25 as well.