April 19, 2014

Liza Hamilton: Exploring the Imagination with Wool

Liza Hamilton is a professional felting artist living in Manchester, New Hampshire, and she creates gorgeous 2D and 3D works of art that are as inspiring as they are varied. Liza was introduced to felt making in 2007, by Beth and Larry Beede, while she was a sophomore in the Illustration Department at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Beth had a show there, and Liza was amazed by her huge, seamless, colorful, and whimsical works.

The Beedes offered a two-day workshop on wet felting, so Liza attended and fell in love with wool. Beth’s message was, “anything you can imagine, you can create with wool.

Liza began to needle felt, and her teachers at NHIA allowed her to create “felted illustrations.” She created a felted mural in a mural class and a relief human sculpture for a figure drawing class. For her senior show, she created a number of large, interactive felted sculptures and murals that could be arranged, interacted with, or designed into a personal composition. Photos of the sculptures were on display, too, in order to fit with the Illustration Department.

Since graduation, Liza has turned felting into a full-time career. She participates in local craft fairs, and she teaches wet felting and needle felting workshops at the Currier Museum in Manchester. She also stays busy filling custom orders at her online Etsy store.

Liza says, “As wool is a natural animal fiber, it makes perfect sense to create naturally influenced, furry animals and scenes.

Her custom pet portraits, big cats, giraffes, and carousel animals have been the favorites. She’s currently working on a collection of large size dinosaurs.

Recently, Liza has been creating wet felted and needle felted murals, or “fiber paintings.” The felting needle allows her to “draw” with thin strips of wool, and then fill in color very similarly to how one would lay down paint on a canvas to fill broad areas.

Her next felting project is to create relief murals with sculpted plants and animals that come out of the 2D plane.She also hopes to create outdoor sculptures and illustrations. The idea is to encourage the natural decay of the piece, allow birds to take bits of fiber to line their nests, or to possibly encase the piece in clear resin to make it more weatherproof.

Liza concludes by saying, “From the beginning, Beth’s message has always rung true for me- anything you can imagine, you can create with wool. Combining wet & needle felting techniques has allowed me so much more room for exploration, and makes working with wool one of the most unique, exciting, and wonderful mediums for artistic creation. Limitless creative possibilities!

For more wooly creations, visit Liza in her Etsy Shop

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