Create art that takes you out of your usual display space. This is the challenge we gave ourselves for the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts group themed show, “Other Dimensions”. The initial idea was for 3D artists to create wall hanging art, and 2D artists make pedestal top pieces. However, each artist interprets the challenge in their own way. The results will go up on the walls and pedestals of HGA’s Featured Exhibit room this Thursday. Opening reception for Other Dimensions is this Friday, February 22nd from 6-9pm.
My Other Dimensions
I decided to take this themed show challenge at face value and create some wall hanging art. Currently, I am working on several needle felted art doll pieces for my upcoming featured artist show in April. I shared in earlier posts how much I am enjoying working with this new and versatile medium. The results are two felted “tapestries” that I am calling my “travel photos.”
I took a “slice” out of a couple of photographs from our family’s recent trip to Iceland, and used them as the basis of needle felted hanging relief panels. The result of the first of these is “Travel Photo #1.” I took the original photo for this piece at the first of many waterfalls we encountered. There were several more dramatic falls along our itinerary route, but something about the moody sky and bright wild lupins in the foreground drew me in. The finished hanging is approximately 12″x 22″.
Travel Photo #2 Collaboration
My second “travel photo” is based on an photo by my talented student photographer daughter, Alexcina. Alex’s original image is of an Icelandic horse who appeared to be very aware of just how magnificent he looked with the wind blowing through his mane.
This diminutive hanging is approximately 5.5″x 10″. Both of the “travel photos” are muslin backed and wired for hanging, and you can see them at HGA starting this Thursday.
I am often asked where I get ideas and inspiration for my art doll figure sculptures. My quick answer is, “anywhere, and everywhere.” Boleyn’s Ghost took her inspiration from a book. I pulled from a Degas painting for Local Star. The genesis of my latest sculpture was travel.
This past summer we had an adventure in Iceland. We chose a “you drive” tour. For eight days we traversed Iceland’s surreal and otherworldly landscape. Mountains, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and icebergs were some of the breathtaking sights we encountered. We also passed what seemed to be a never-ending supply of sheep grazing wherever they pleased.
The beautiful wool products and the inspirational scenery of Iceland percolated in my head following our trip. The result of this marriage is Aurora Dancing.
Aurora Dancing art doll
We visited in the summer, and therefore did not get to experience the northern lights dancing in the night. As a result, my figure’s felted coat employs an imagined interpretation of the aurora borealis over a snowcapped landscape. Aurora is papier mâché and paperclay over a wire armature. I needle felted this art doll’s coat, mittens, boots, and flowIng hood by hand, as well as the cover of the base. I aimed to integrate my material and visual inspiration with the magic of Icelandic lore.
More Needle Felting
Aurora will find that she is just the beginning of a number of art dolls that will have felting techniques incorporated in their construction. Needle felting is like painting with fiber. It provides an opportunity to add another dimension to my sculpture. Needle felted wool lends itself to completely different creations as well. I wrote earlier that I have already created a small herd of Icelandic inspired animal ornaments. Those ornaments will be making their way to the gallery in a couple of weeks as the holiday shopping season begins.
Some may find being home bound for several days as a slow moving hurricane passes very frustrating. I am fortunate enough to currently have power and materials close at hand. This presents an opportunity to sit down to some extended workbench sessions. This time of year part of my attention turns the coming holiday season. In addition to my art doll sculptures, I create handcrafted original ornaments and some extra jewelry for the gallery.
Iceland Inspired Ornaments
Usually, these ornaments reflect what is currently occurring in my sculpture. One influence on the items populating my sketchbook is a recent trip to Iceland. A charming addition to the amazing and other worldly landscape one encounters is sheep everywhere. In response to this, I have planned both art dolls and this season’s ornaments utilizing the technique of needle felting. I am still very much in the design phase, but thought I’d share a couple of works-in-progress images.
Polar Bear Ornament
I snapped both of these quick shots in my studio with my phone. There is one more arctic inspired creature, a reindeer, that I’m designing. I will refine each a bit for production efficiency, and have a selection in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting in mid November.
I was also finishing up a small completely sculpted little figure piece this week. In stead of wigging and costuming as I do with my art dolls, I sculpted minimal clothing and hair from paperclay. I decided to do a bit of experimentation with the surface treatment of this piece. I created a “faux bronze’ finish with the layering of metallic bronze paint and a moss patina glaze.
Seated figure with faux bronze finish
With any luck Hurricane Florence will allow me to get a bit more accomplished today as well.