One characteristic of art that fascinates me is how, through creativity, vision and skill, an artist can work a sort of “magic” that transforms ordinary things into something extraordinary. For example, I can take a pencil and a sheet of paper and create a portrait. Or I can take a few cans of paint and some brushes and paint a 40-foot wall mural for an elementary school. And I’ve taken a lump of clay and some wire and created figurines that turn characters I’ve created as illustrations for children’s books into three-dimensional figurines.
In the past few months, I’ve discovered probably the most interesting example of this power, wool.
The art of wool-felting involves using a needle to create shapes. Sometimes you need to create a wire skeleton for the wool to attach to the frame. As more and more wool is felted, the sculpture grows steadily. Wool fiber is coarse and with the help of a needle, it attaches to itself, making it easy to sculpt.
With this medium, I especially love how detailed I can get and how it involves so much texture … “texture” and “detail” are easily the dominant characteristics of nearly all of my art. My illustrations are extremely detailed and I’m always trying to develop more texture, for example.
Obviously, wool felting lends itself to creating sculptures of animals, or other fuzzy, furry subjects. But, even so, I don’t accept limits and I love diving into the details and making my wool felted sculptures into the embodiment of my vision. And it just amazes me that wool, can be used to make such extraordinary sculptures. Who would have imagined it?
So the next time you put on that wool sweater, think …