Birgitte Krag Hansen began felting in 1978. It was a time when felting was not well known in her home country of Denmark. She found an interest in felting after reading Swedish author Katarina Aagren’s book called TOVNING. Hansen was inspired by Aagren’s revival of the felting arts and began her artistic journey into sculptural felting.
Hansen Created Her Own Felting Tradition
Since she wasn’t bound by any tradition, Birgitte was able to create her own techniques, using needle felting, to give her human, animal and landscape sculptures a lifelike quality. This aliveness made her a desirable artist in three Denmark theater companies. They wanted to use her dolls on their sets. Along with her theater career, she currently teaches other artists that are interested in the many possibilities that felting has to offer.
Hansen says that the life that wool-fibers give to things is what inspires her. Her favorite pieces to create are human beings, animals and landscapes.
“With both the human being and the animal it is exiting during the work to see how the thing comes alive and how every new figure gets its own life. Working with the animals is special because every time it is exciting to catch the special character that this special animal…” She often uses raw fleece in her animal sculptures to get the true expression she wants. Birgitte shares that felting landscapes with the techniques she has developed “is like telling a fairytale and build the story up during the process.” Birgittte also draws and makes aquarelles.
Birgitte names Jytte Abildstroem as an inspiration because she showed Hansen how to use her felted figures for the theater. Abildstroem is the leader of the Danish Theater called “Riddersalen.” However, it can be said that Birgitte Krag Hansen’s long and successful career in felting is an inspiration to artists all over the world. She loves to teach all of her techniques for creating human figures, animals and reliefs. She’ll change the topic from course to course so that she is always presenting new challenges.
Teaching Students About the Possibilities in Felting
When asked what three things she constantly reminds her students to do, she recommends that they work slowly, trust themselves, and be aware that all the way through the work, they will find new possibilities in the little details. It’s the details that make Hansen’s work so special. She invented the soft sculptural technique she uses for her sculptures. She began with welt felting, but moved to needle felting to create her lifelike pieces. One of her accomplishments, as a teacher, is teaching women in South Greenland how to use their wool to create souvenirs. She has also created felt in nature projects in Norway and Denmark.
Felt artists that want to learn more about Birgitte Krag Hansen and her beautiful and inspiring felting techniques can visit her website at http://www.feltmaking.dk.
She is also the author of several books that include: FILT I FORM (Felt in Form) – 1992, SKULPTUREL FILTNING (Sculptural Felting) – 1999, NY FILT MED FILTENALEN (New Felt Using the Felt Needle) – 2003, NISSEFILT (Pixie Felt) – 2004. Her website offers her latest recommendations, techniques, and loving encouragement to all who visit. It features photographs of her stunning, lifelike figures, as well as online courses for interested students. Although Hansen is considered a top artist in felting, she generously shares the latest news and techniques of her colleagues so that the felting community remains as inspired by art as she does.
English Translation: Filt I Form (Dimensional Felt)