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