We’re thrilled to be expanding our line up of fiber art workshops into a new art form next year with Dani Ives teaching us how to paint with wool! In her workshop participants will explore the diversity of using wool fibers as a “painting” medium by diving into the world of two-dimensional needle felting.
Dani is a self-taught fiber artist and founder of Good Natured Art. Her enthusiasm for the natural world from an early age took her on a university and career path based in biology and conservation education, after which Dani worked as an educator at a zoo for ten years. Over the course of a few years, Dani developed her distinct style of needle felting that she calls “painting with wool.” With this style, instead of using paint and a brush, she uses wool fibers and a felting needle to create the effects of layering color, creating texture and depth.
Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?
DI: I hope my students come with a few ideas that they’d like to conquer. I find the best way to learn my style of needle felting is with a bit of guidance on technique and then some trial and error. There’s a bit of a learning curve for those that have never needle felted this way before, but I have all the tips and tricks ready to share. We will also have a few exercises to really practice a few techniques that will come in handy on most future projects.
Q: How do you work through or get over the occasional creative block?
DI: Luckily, I haven’t encountered a creative block, but I think there’s a few reasons for that. I keep a running list of commissions, but I’m also constantly working on other projects. I think jumping back and forth between the two types of work helps to keep my mind from going blank on what to do next. I also keep a sketchbook that I work in every day. Often, these sketches/paintings have nothing to do with my current fiber art, and they’re a way for me to explore new mediums and subjects. Often, some of those pages end up influencing a fiber art piece in the future. Lastly, I go outside. My best ideas have come to me while I’m on a trail in the middle of the woods. I spend as much time as I can hiking and exploring.
Q: What influences your work?
DI: My science background tends to have the most impact on the work that I do. I’ve only been comfortably calling myself an artist for the past three years. Before that, I worked as a conservation educator at a zoo, and studied biology, chemistry and conservation education. I spent so much time learning about and observing animals and the natural world, so tending to details in my art is second nature and enjoyable. With that said, lately I’ve been challenging myself to use color rather than detail to portray subjects. It’s been difficult to let go of intricacy, but I’m having a great time learning and developing new processes and skills.