The Gnomes

The Gnomes
the gnomes

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vermont Bird Museum Special Exhibit

So a few days ago I opened an email from The Birds of Vermont Museum and read
"Dear Susi,
We had so many wonderful submissions to our call to artists! We’re delighted to invite you to show your piece, “Red-bellied Woodpecker”, with us for our Breeding Bird Atlas exhibit. If the Titmouse is available, we'd exhibit it also...

This exhibit celebrates the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ updated Breeding Birds of Vermont atlas and its release as a printed book (see more at ). This atlas is a gigantic citizen-science project and the result of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours of birding observations and data analysis. The art will show how we see and treasure birds through many perspectives, complementing science and conservation.
Our exhibit runs from May 1 through October 31.

The Birds of Vermont Museum is in Huntington Vermont and collaborates with the Vermont Audubon and other organizations to preserve and record the amazing birds in Vermont. I feel very honored to be one of the artists invited to participate in this fantastic exhibit.
If you are interested in purchasing a bird or want a custom bird please contact me. I have made several (examples below) and am willing to work to your specifications.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

How Long Did It Take You to Make That?

I get asked the how long questions a lot. I am not sure why it is so important to people to know...are they trying to figure out if it is worth the money I am asking? Or for them time equals artistry?
Or they are wondering can I make that? There are times folks who are dabbling in needle felting and wet felting come by my tent with a friend and loudly exclaim, oh I can do that, I have seen better or I can do better as they pick up my work and set it back down again. There are the knitters who assume that my wet felted work is also knit and thrown in the washing machine and they tell their companions how I make that hat or scarf or slipper. When I try to politely interrupt and tell them how something is actually made by wet felting wool roving they look at me with disbelief.
Needle felting generates the same question too. I had an art opening on Friday.
The number one question was how did you make that and the second was how long did it take for you to make that...
I fortunately had brought my needle sculpting foam, wool and needles to show and let people try it. Ohhhhhh... was the response I got and "Wow I had no idea that wool could be sculpted".

Yes all those sculptures, fairy houses, terrariums and masks start out with a fluff of wool and a needle. So if you can imagine stabbing and rolling and manipulating wool until it becomes solid with a couple of needles you can surmise how long it may take. When I am working on a piece I  end up in a zone where I lose track of time. I don't time myself though maybe I should. I tried a couple of times and found that even my simplest small items can take me up to an hour to make.
A statue can be 15 to 16 hours, a mask about the same depending on its complexity. Fairy houses and slippers will take several days to make. Most hats will take 8 to 10 hours to make depending on the design and then you add the drying and shaping time it can add another day.
After all needle sculpting and wet felting is Art. When you look at a painting or a sculpture out of stone or clay do you ask the artist " how long did it take you to make that?" I am pretty sure most people don't. I think that because fiber art is an unknownthe question arises to justify it artistically. Hopefully in this post I have explained it so that question has now been resolved. If not let me know and I will be happy to try to expand upon it in my next blog post.