I have only recently become interested in felting…and I don’t know why it has taken this long, because everyone I know seems to already know how to do it. I have seen some very cool results of this wool process…but none so cool as those created by University of Oregon grad, Stephanie Metz. Stephanie has chosen to sculpt in wool in order to explore and exploit its unique physical and conceptual possibilities and quite successfully, I might add. She creates some outstanding, albeit sometimes disturbing, soft sculptures.
About her process, Stephanie writes:
“To make wool into felt I begin with cleaned, brushed wool that has been prepared to be spun into yarn. I interlock the fibers densely together by stabbing the mass repeatedly with a felting needle (approximately four inches long, very sharp, and studded with barbs). “
In order to shape a piece I stab the wool all over or in particular directions, compressing the surface and making the felt increasingly dense. The process is extremely time- and labor-intensive, as every centimeter of the piece is stabbed to fasten down parts, add mass, and tighten the surface.
"I choose my subject matter in response to the wool itself, in a way. Working with wool has led me to explore concepts of hard and soft, starting within the confines of traditional sculpture subjects.”
“For me the appeal of wool lies both in pushing its physical possibilities as a sculpting medium and in its suitability for the subject matter that interests me.”
Cat Skull - left angle
“ Felted wool is organic, soft, and pliable, yet strong and hardy—perfect for realistic studies of humans and animals that exemplify those qualities. A firm grounding in realism and an understanding of the form and physiology of living things is the starting point in my sculpture.”
"In my recent work two branches of investigation have grown out of my thinking about how human beings affect and interpret the natural world. The first is a series of animals that display the results of selective breeding taken to a ridiculous extreme. The attributes that make them useful, marketable, and convenient for human use are blissfully short-sighted and human-centric."
"Part of my wicked delight in creating such creatures is the awareness that these are not pure science fiction—for example, the proliferation of dog breeds specifically bred for a variety of uses and aesthetics is testimony to the way people very pointedly direct the evolution of species by determining which individuals will pass on their genes."
Study in Black
"My other investigation is a pseudo-scientific study of the morphology of skulls: the form and structures that differentiate one breed from another and give a sense of the story of the individual. My approach is to research, document, present, and interpret evidence in a formal manner. My subject species is the teddy bear: a creature made by humans (and made ‘alive’ by imagination) whose morphological history is tied to social trends."
Teddy Bear Skull - front
"My idea of ‘logical’ evidence (a stuffed animal would have a skull made of felt) becomes an emotionally loaded image that brings up a wide range of responses and proves to be ripe for further exploration."
Teddy Bear Skull - side
"As I continue to experiment with wool I find that the material itself fuels my ideas and my approach to sculpting. Using an uncommon medium draws attention to the qualities of that medium, and feeds into the subjects I choose, the process for realizing the forms, and the messages embodied in the work."
Marble Portrait Bust
CLICK HERE to see Stephanie’s web site where you will find many other felt sculptures. Posters of her work is for sale on Etsy CLICK HERE
Stephanie is represented by Hosfelt Gallery
415-495-5454 for San Francisco or 212-563-5454 for New York.
For further inquiries, please email: email@example.com.
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