Love & Hate, triptych, 2011
As with all of my work, my triptych sculpture “Love & Hate” is made entirely out of merino wool. These are not felt-covered objects nor is there a foam base nor a wire frame beneath the surface. It is 100% tightly packed, hot-pink merino wool which was sculpted by poking it thousands of times using barbed felting needles.
I choose to work entirely in merino wool for all of my sculptures, because it makes for a soft, supple, and extremely excellent felting wool due to it’s small fiber diameter. With diligent work, the surface of a needle-felted item has the potential to be extremely smooth, with little indication of the needle holes.
Sculpting in wool is very different than sculpting in clay or stone. Sculpting with wool is essentially an additive process with little ability to undo. The applying the wool is a very organic process and it is constantly changing as you work with it. Whether it be wet felting or needle-felting, it is very difficult to control the very specific direction of the wool. All the fibers are being matted together in a variety of directions, so the end result, no matter how much the artist tries to control it, tend to mush and curve inward.
For these reasons, it is extremely challenging to create geometric shapes, like flat surfaces, perfect circles, squares, edges, etc. Even more challenging, creating a geometric recess in an object, is the hardest of all. (Like seen in the barrel of the Glock, below.)
I really enjoy the challenge of creating something geometric through needle-felting. For all the reasons why it **isn't** the ideal medium for sculpting these shapes, is precisely the reason why I seek to do it. I love figuring how to make it work, how to make the medium do my bidding. And so, like one’s journey through life, no matter how much work I put into these objects, they will never be perfect—they can never be perfect.
I spent hours upon hours stabbing the wool, watching as it compacted and distorted. Then I added more wool, continuing to stab and watch it form in unpredictable ways, and continued again… With such an intense focus with the intention of recreating these weapons realistically, I became intimately familiar with the objects. I was fully present in the experience of observing the subject of my gaze. Thus, these sculptures become only the documentation of my mindful meditation on them.
Love & Hate, triptych, 2011 — $1,200
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