I’ll start with introducing you to the new friend.
“Journey” is my latest anthropomorphic needle felted creation. He is for HGA’s next show “Share The Love” which will open next Friday, January 8th at noon on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts online shop. This first show of the year will benefit the local OCIM food pantry with 44% of sales proceeds going to the pantry.
As you see, Journey is representing the show in the gallery’s promotional materials this month. This piece stands 5″x 7″x 5″. He is a little sparrow all set to fly off from his perch on an adventure. Sparrows are considered a symbol of hope. That seemed to me to be something we all are in need of as we embark on 2021. Journey is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame with glass bead eyes.
Journey and other new original works by HGA artists will be available in the Share the Love show next Friday. Check back here, I will update this post with direct links to the show page.
Holiday Cleanup and Other Friends
I just took some time to deactivate my needle felted puffin and polar bear ornaments from my Etsy page. The ones currently in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and the HGA online shop will go into storage next week. But many of their needle felted friends will remain in the gallery, on the gallery online shop, and on my Etsy Page. With all that occurred this past year, you may have missed a post or two of mine. So, I think over the next few weeks I may take some time to reintroduce some of last year’s work. “Hands Off The Carrot Cake” is a personal favorite of mine.
Now that Thanksgiving has past, the holiday gift season is in full swing. It certainly has been an interesting journey to this point this year. With much of the prep work for online sales needing to be completed ahead of time, it is almost a little anticlimactic. I do, however, find myself keeping an eye in several different directions at once. In the past, I only had to attend to my work at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Now, there are new tasks and more things to learn.
Winter Ride went to a new home over the weekend. So, in addition to packing it up at the gallery, it also needed to come off of my Etsy page. It is a strange experience when a piece like this sells, especially early in the season. I had this sculpture front and center on a pedestal in the first room of the gallery. This prime location obviously did its intended job. So, though I love that this one-of-a-kind piece will go somewhere it will be treasured, I’m just a little sad to see it leave.
A New Season
I also experienced my first Etsy shop sale over the weekend. Imagine my surprise when my phone suddenly made a “Ka-Ching” sound. This brought new things to learn, like Etsy’s built in customer communication, and updating the status of the order when shipped.
Since two items came off my LWSculptedShop Etsy store this weekend, I guess I should put something new up. I just completed another of my needle felted pins, so that might be a good place for it to find a sales home? This little relief sculpture measures 1.25″ x 3.5″ and has a hand-stitched rigid back and standard pin clasp. It features some curly wool from the sheep of another HGA artist, Susan Hope’s, farm.
I hope that you will take the time to see what the small local businesses and artists around you have to offer this holiday season. Many like our gallery have had to adjust the way they do business face-to-face, and/or establish online sales outlets for the first time. I can speak from personal experience that the learning curve on both has been steep for some. If you are lucky enough to have the ability to give gifts when so many are struggling it would be wonderful if some of those gifts came from local artisans and shop owners.
I suggested you to check back here for links to holiday sales sites. Your patience has been rewarded. The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts online holiday show, The Art of Giving, went live yesterday at noon! Here is the link to find the gift offerings from all of the HGA artists… https://hga-store.square.site/holiday-shop
You’ll find Feet On The Ground under Holiday Items, my puffins and polar bears under Ornaments, and my felted brooches under Jewelry.
Take time to browse around the holiday show categories, there are plenty of unique gift ideas from all of my artist partners there.
If you are local, you can stop in to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Take in all of the amazing artwork there. Some of the items in the HGA online shop are available for pickup at the gallery after purchase.
This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.
At the Gallery
Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.
Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.
Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.
I admit it. I fall prey to finding humor in puns, and some of my new creatures are obvious candidates for punny titles. My swan dancing in her toe shoes titled, “Too En Pointe?”, is a prime example.
Swan Lake is the world’s best known ballet. I choose to depict this most recent dancing figure as a swan. I think that choice might be a bit too “on point” for some. For those not familiar with dancing terms, dancing up on toe shoes is called being “En Pointe.” I suppose I could have made her title an even greater head shaking pun if I had called her “TooToo En Pointe?”
Title aside, I enjoy how this sculpture came together. She is a commanding figure at 18 inches tall and her wings spread wide. That she somehow can maintain her en pointe posture dancing on water makes her just a bit magical.
More Performing Creatures
If you are familiar with the romantic comedy Notting Hill, you might recognize the title of “Happiness Isn’t.” There is a painting, La Mariée (The Bride), by Marc Chagall that plays a role in the story. The main characters Anna (Julia Roberts) and William (Hugh Grant) discuss the imagery of the painting. Anna states,”It feels how love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky.” William quips, “With a goat playing the violin.” To which Anna responds, “Yes, happiness isn’t happiness without a violin-playing goat.” That clever exchange was the inspiration for “Happiness Isn’t.”
Even though the goat in the actual painting appears to be holding a cello, I chose to depict my figure with a violin too. He is one of those figures that just brings a smile, and has no other job than to contradict his own title.
Things are changing quickly as we navigate sharing and marketing artwork online. I’m not sure this month’s Featured Artist show (changes Friday, April 24th) on the HGA website will be presented in the same way as the current one. There are some new gallery offerings going up just about every day. Keep checking in both here and on our Hillsboroughgallery.com site to see what is new and available. I just made some pricing updates on my own “Available for Purchase” page. You may want to recheck your favorites. I’ve revised the newest back to last year’s scale, and I have taken in to account the need to add on shipping costs.
It is not very hard to come up with a topic today. There is seemingly one thing on everyone’s mind, the Covid-19 pandemic. Artists and galleries are no exception. I’m guessing you may recall that I am an artist/owner of a collectively run gallery. We shuttered the brick and mortar Hillsborough Gallery of Arts for the duration of the North Carolina stay-at-home order. We have not, however, stopped showing and selling art. Last week we launched our first online art show. The March Featured Artists show “Glimmer to Spark” opened online last Friday at noon.
My Featured Art Show
I am one of the three artists scheduled to be featured next month in HGA’s April art show. Our show, “Three Narratives” is scheduled to open on April 24th. That will not be occurring, so like “Glimmer to Spark” we will be opening online. While the work from home concept is certainly conducive to getting studio time in, the challenge is sharing that work with an outside audience. This is especially true when that audience has many other things on their minds.
Clicking around my site here will reveal some new items. There are images of new work for you to take a look at in the Available For Purchase gallery. I switched my purchase inquiry to that page as well, so you do not have to click elsewhere if something catches your eye. You will find two image galleries on the Past Works Gallery page. One contains most of my sold art dolls, and the other a selection of previous mixed media pieces.
Burying the Lede (just learned that spelling)
From the images on this pages, you may notice that my work for this next show is a bit different. All of the new pieces I created for this show are somewhat surreal anthropomorphic figure sculptures. After sculpting a white rabbit titled “Alice is Late” last year, I decided to look a bit more at anthropomorphic figures. I was happy with the form and effect of the finished sculpture, and viewer response to him was great. I love how now that I have a dozen of these figures gathered together for photography that they look like a mass escape from some bizarre and unknown piece of children’ literature.
In the past, I shared just one or two pieces from an upcoming art show because the idea was to entice people to come and see them in person. It is best to see any art, especially sculpture, first hand. This time around I have several weeks to share at least 12 new friends with you, so I’ll be posting a new piece or two every few days. Keep an eye out. My posts will certainly be much more frequent then they’ve been in the past.
It really has been much too long since I updated readers on what’s going on in the studio. I have been busy sculpting away in the studio these past few weeks. Much of what I’m working on is for my yearly featured show this coming April, so I’ll keep that under wraps for just a bit longer. In the mean time, let’s look at “Tattered Swan”. She is my piece for HGA’s next show, “Green”.
But First, Some New Year’s Resolutions…
Each year, somewhere in late summer HGA puts out a call-to-artists across North Carolina. This call is for our yearly state-wide juried show “Resolutions”. Some 200 or so pieces were submitted from artists across the state. 38 wonderful works in a wide variety of media were chosen for inclusion. The show “Resolutions 2020” will be on display at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts January 6-26.
Following our yearly Resolutions show, the member artists of HGA mount two yearly group shows. The theme of the first of these shows is “Green”. I chose to interpret the word green as sustainable. Sustainability being my focus, I decided to begin with my material choices. As felted wool has been my material of choice for the past year or two, I looked first at the source of my fibers. I first purchased wool roving for this figure directly from the farmer at a local farmer ‘s market. My second fiber choice was to recycle. I saved dryer lint from loads of laundry over a period of months. and used it for my second source of fiber. You find this unconventional material used in the figure’s wings, hair, and costume.
The dryer lint presented me with a puzzle to solve. Its fibers are quite short, and their varied sources make the “Felt-ability” highly variable. I first turned to wet felting. The result was something that resembled home recycled paper, but was devoid of any tensile strength. It crumbled to the touch. I took this fragile material, and sandwiched it with paper thin layers of recycled quilt batting that I had peeled apart. This provided much needed long fibers, and crosswise stability. I needle felted these layers together. The result was a tattered and weathered looking fabric.
I often have my iPad propped up with something playing on it in the background while I work. I had just rewatched the movie Black Swan the idea of creating another dancer figure seemed long overdue. My intension was not to pull directly to the movie imagery, but rather relate to the way it captured both the distress and beauty of ballet. I also strove to create a figure in a snapshot of movement, caught at an instant without connection with the ground. The result is the piece I’ve titled, “Tattered Swan”. I chose to utilize the local wool and the felted lint just as they were without additional coloring through dye or bleaching. I like that this has the effect of the piece looking somewhat classical. Almost as if she were carved out of some sort of material.
Check out Green
“Tattered Swan” and all of the HGA artist’s interpretations of green, will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts beginning January, 27th. The opening reception for “Green” is Friday, January 31 from 6-9pm.
Before something different, I think I will start with a schedule reminder. If your calendar looks anything like mine this week, a reminder might be a welcome thing. This Friday is the first official Last Friday of the season in Hillsborough, NC. That means that the Art Walk will be accompanied by music on the court house lawn, vendors, outside activities, and more. But, most importantly, this Last Friday is the opening reception for my featured artist show April Showers, Art Flowers. I hope to see you there Friday from 6-9!
A few years ago when my work was more mixed media of a steampunk flavor, I created a little steampunk bag for the holiday season. I fondly recall that piece, and how happy I was that it was purchased for a friend as a gift. I am enjoying my creative play with needle felting so much, that I though that I’d include a couple of sculpted bags along with my cast of figurative characters for this show. The first bag I created is a fantastical evening clutch being “Clutched” by a aqua octopus. ”
I titled my second sculptural bag “Lush.” This shoulder bag features bright blue butterflies and sunny yellow flowers. Tendrils and leaves complete this bag that looks as though it grew, rather than was made. Both bags have a large glass bead and loop as their closures, and hand sewn linings. I really enjoy the idea of creating items that will be a wearable pieces of art.
See you at the gallery
If you have the chance stop in at HGA this Friday night from 6 to 9 pm. You can see these one-of-a-kind bags, my new sculptures and have the chance to say hello. You can also check out the amazing new work By Chris Graebner, and Susan Hope.
Any regular reader here might predict that my newest works are created utilizing needle felting techniques. My most recent felted wool creations will be featured at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday, April 22nd.
April Showers, Art Flowers
“April Showers, Art Flowers” is the title of my upcoming feature show with painter Chris Graebner, and glass artist Susan Hope.
“Rain or Shine” is the first art doll sculpture created for this year’s Featured Artist show. I like to start with a piece that speaks to the title of an upcoming show whenever possible. This sunny little figure popped straight into my head and onto the page of my sketchbook
As you can see, I took a a departure from the almost monochromatic look of many of my paper and book based art dolls. I embraced the vibrant color available in wool roving fiber. The wool allows me to use the same materials for the sculpting, costuming and wigging of the figures.
I have a few surprises for this year’s show, but I’ll save those for next week’s post after the show is installed. For now, here are a couple of other figure pieces heading to HGA on Monday.
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.