Growing up spending time in the forests of northern Sweden I would take notice of everything happening in nature. I would watch the ants marching to and from their anthills to find water. I would come across empty anthills wondering what had prompted the evacuation. I would stare in wonderment at seed pods, leaf structures, lichen, and roots, always intrigued by the life cycle of natural things. I would relish the calm and focus that I received from these moments. To this day I still find solace and inspiration in nature. My work is a reflection of what we can get out of observing the natural world combined with the knowledge that we glean from this experience. Perhaps these are thoughts and metaphors that I project onto the natural world, but for me there is a very real connection between things that happen in our personal lives and what nature can teach us about them. When I see the melancholy beauty of an empty butterfly cocoon it brings up thoughts of my own loss along with the knowledge that life is always changing, transforming and all parts are equally beautiful. I try to take these moments and bring them into a different medium, magnifying them, giving them the attention I feel they deserve.
The felting process came to me at the beginning of graduate school and I instantly saw the potential of wool and decided to take a deep dive into this unusual technique. I was immediately enamored by the softness and strength of wool along with its ability to transform into any form while still retaining that inherent softness. It was a revelation to me that I could make three dimensional forms that were light weight, strong, and could be dyed in luscious colors. I had found my medium. It helps that the felting process is laborious as I thrive on toiling with my hands. The process itself is a form of meditation that allows my mind to wander and weave, giving me a similar mindset to walking through the woods. The felting process frees me from my own perfectionist tendencies as I can not have total control of this process. That is the excitement of felting and dyeing for me; Nothing can be perfectly replicated and often the outcome is different from the original idea. The changes that happen during the making of a piece is what keeps me felting.
I have spent the last fifteen years exploring the wonder that is felt making. There is still so much to be done, so much to try within felting that I find myself lacking only in time. I foresee myself working with wool for as long as my body can handle it. I am still as fascinated by the process and outcome as I was the very first evening I dipped my toes into this world of wool.
A Video by Andrew Hart about some of my work...