Nuno Felt and Light Sculptures

Published by Kelley on

What do light sculptures and nuno felt have in common? I confess… I haven’t figured that out yet. But ideas are cooking in my creative brain.

light sculpture by Kelley Buck Adams

I never have been able to focus on one thing at a time for very long. That means my artwork keeps changing, and styles morph together with every “what if” that pops into my mind while I work. That lack of focus is also the reason that I have so much experience with so many different artistic media.

I’ve been away from the illuminated sculptures for awhile, focusing on fiber art, mostly. I’ve fallen in love with nuno felting: a textural wet felting process that includes bits of fabric, silk, and other fibers embedded into a wool base.

nuno felt painting fiber art

It follows naturally for me to combine fiber art techniques with the sculptures. One day, I was drying a nuno felt painting, “Lava,” and the sun was shining through it, giving me all sorts of inspiration! Here is a detail of “Lava” with the sun behind it.

detail of scarlet red and black nuno felt in sunlight
Detail of nuno felt textile art white silk and wool on white merino wool with light shining through.

Because I loved the way the light shone through the felt and revealed textures that weren’t visible with regular lighting from the front, I decided to try a white-on-white felt piece. This is a detail of “White,” backlit.

“White” is basically shaped like a felt hat, which I intend to adapt into a light cover, but I’m going to have to develop this idea a lot further before I’m happy. “White” looks like… well… a lampshade.

I have a problem with calling my light sculptures “lamps.” I brought my illuminated sculptures into a tiny, intimate little gallery once, where they absolutely loved every one of them but didn’t have the wall space or shelf space to show them. They sent me across the street to a large art gallery. It seems they phoned ahead with a description of my pieces.

The large gallery owner didn’t even glance at my work, but said, “We don’t sell lamps. Go to a furniture store.” I’m easily crushed, and that did the trick. I stopped making them at all for over a year, before they started calling to me again and out-shouting the dreaded inner voice of self-deprecation. So, they aren’t “lamps.” Never “lamps.”

When I started again, I was thinking of ways to use the felt with my usual style. I’ve seen many light sculptures done with similar materials, but mine are always intricate with a strong emphasis on flowing lines. This was what happened while I tried to focus on “simple.”

Illuminated sculpture with cholla wood branch base and clouds of white paper over reed

So… I made another one, aiming for more simple lines and areas that invited embellishment. No felt on this, but “Desert Flame” features a really beautiful cholla wood branch and handmade okra pod paper.

Papermaking is another passion of mine, and this highly textured paper is one of my favorites. I know a lot of people don’t care for okra, but I have some Southern roots and I really love eating the tender little pods. This paper was not made from those. It was made with pods that got left on the stalk about a week too long which had turned into wood!

Light sculpture "Desert Flame" with paper over reed, okra handmade paper accents, and cholla wood base

Making a couple of these sculptures sparked some obsession, and I’ve rarely been seen outside my workroom for a few weeks. Here is a couple of works in progress that are almost finished:

showing light sculptures in progress

One of those from a different angle. This photo is a few days old, and there have been several additional layers of paper added. The base is sculpted, and I’ll cover it with mosaic work soon.

light sculpture in progress

This one is pretty close to done. There are a few finishing touches needed, including a name!

side view light sculpture almost complete
back view of lighted sculpture nearly complete
front view of nearly completed light sculpture

Any ideas for a name? Feel free to share in comments. If I don’t use it this time, I’ll keep it in mind for the future.

I’m getting ready for a couple of shows within the next couple of weeks, and hope to have all these finished and ready to fly to new homes. I should have sculptures and felt paintings available soon! You can look for me in Beulah, Colorado, first weekend in August, 2019. I’ll post any that don’t sell on the SHOP page here on the website.

Copyright ©  2019-2024 Kelley Adams.  All rights reserved.

All text, photos, and graphics are the property of Kelley Adams.


peter · May 23, 2021 at 12:01 am


I like your light work. I would like to get a hanging light. Please send me your email so I can send you the look and feel of the light along with the dimensions.

Thank You….peter

    Kelley · May 25, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Thank you, Peter! I’ll be happy to discuss a custom sculpture for you. My email is

    I did also receive your phone call, and will call you back in the morning.

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