Monday, March 3, 2014

Felting - Expanding the Possibilities in the Art League School Student/Faculty Show

For the 2014 Art League School Student Faculty Show at the Art League Gallery in the Torpedo Factory of Alexandria, Virginia, the felters of the class "Felting - Expanding the Possibilities," put their heads and hands together for an impressive group effort. Under the guidance of teacher Renate Maile-Moskowitz, a color scheme was determined, and the class's participants (felters with varying degrees of experience) aimed to design an exhibit with a clothed mannequin as the centerpiece. The group's efforts included a wet-felted hat, nuno-felted vest, wet-felted wrap belt and wet-felted peplum belt, along with wet-felted jewelry. Further work was shown in two felt sculptures, a purse, a scissor holder and a wet-felted rug. My personal contribution was one of the wet-felted sculptures, which featured wet felting techniques including nuno-felting, pleating and sculptural design. Pictures of the items (and more body copy) are shown below.

Hat (Merino Wool, Dyed Silk, Feathers), by Margaret Cerutti; Earrings by Dominique Cooper; Vest to Dye For by Ioana Razi (Nuno-felted Devore Silk); Peplum Belt with Ruffle (Merino Wool) by Laura Linton ; Elongated Bead Bracelet by Marion Bruno

Cut-out Lace Scarf (Merino Wool) by Dominique Cooper; Necklace Choker by Dominique Cooper; Scissor Holder with Pin Cushion (Merino and Kap Wool) by Renate Maile-Moskowitz

Scissor Holder (Merino and Kap Wool), Stretch Bracelet (Merino and Kap Wool) and Evening Bag (Nuno-Felt on Silk Organza and Ribbon) by Renate Maile-Moskowitz

Dreamscape Rug by Dominique Cooper

Bee Sculpture by Lisa Walsh

Blood Moon Omen Sculpture - by the Author, Susan Hicks

About the Blood Moon Omen sculpture. I knew I wanted to make a wet felted sculpture that would include new techniques with which to challenge myself. I also knew that I wanted to make something on a fairly large scale, but limited to what I could fit into my kitchen work area (i.e. one table's worth). At the time people were talking about the Blood Moon, which happened in January. A Blood Moon is the second new moon within a calendar month, and is said to be an omen and harbinger of change. This seemed appropriate, as I was going through a bit of a personal crisis. I meditated on the problem and tried to visualize what the problem would look like. A big, toothy, awful beast came to mind. Not being one to want to dwell on misery, I decided to twist the topic and make the visualization something fun and playful. The form became big and red, with teeth sticking out from all angles. 

Enough visualization. Then I had to plan something at least somewhat practical to make. The new techniques in this piece involved making the "teeth" stand out in a perpendicular angle from the body of the sculpture. I also broke new ground in the nuno-felt "pebble" technique which created some of the texture on the sculpture's body. The "ripped" pleats were nothing new, but added dimension and a break from the overall color scheme. The original sculpture took up a whole felting table and in the end shrunk to about 3' tall. I played with positive and negative space. Stuffing was another new thing. I had to pick two strategic locations to open the sculpture through which I would insert the poly-fill stuffing. I had no idea how much stuffing would be necessary, so I see a few more sculptures in my future. 

Blood Moon Omen (in progress)