Tag Archives: one of a kind

Over The Rainbow

Frogs, Frogs and a Rainbow of Frogs

Continuing my explorartion of distinctive animal prints led me to consider poison dart frogs. These tiny little inhabitants of the rainforest come in a literal rainbow of bright colors. Their patterns say “see me” and also “leave me alone!”

Instead of changing or altering their patterns in any way, I used their natural looks to create a rainbow. I guess it would more acurately be described as a frog pyramid, but the shades of the spectrum are present in an arching form.

sculpture rainbow pyramid of anthropomorphic poison dart frogs in needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Poison Rainbow

This piece stands about 14″ tall. The individual frogs are quite a bit larger than they are in real life (.75 – 1.5″ long.) Each frog is approximately 5 inches from nose to tail. I created the individual frogs separately. All began with a wire armature wrapped in quilt batting. Reference photos provided the colorful patterns that I felted on to the surface of each. Each of the amphibians is finished off with large glass bead eyes that are sewn in place.

Once each frog was sculpted, I played around with different configurations to create a self-supporting structure. An additional wire was run through most of the frogs to provide additional stability to the final form. I then stitched and felted the frogs to each other wherever two connect together. The final sculpture was then secured to two layers of thick felt for additional stability.

This rainbow of frogs will make its debut at my feature show at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts during the Last Friday Art Walk in July.

sculpture rainbow pyramid of anthropomorphic poison dart frogs in needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Poison rainbow side view

So, Not Quite Done

I returned to my little snow leopard cub, Snow Cat. I fuzzed out his coat a bit more, and took some new images against a dark background. He might actually be done now?

Snow Cat update

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.

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.

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.

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