Sculptor Stephanie Metz’s innovative work in felted wool has garnered international attention. Her sculpture, focused on the relationship between humans and the natural world, fuses sharp wit, thoughtful observation and careful craftsmanship in an unusual material to blur the line between art and science, natural and unnatural, organic and man-made. Her sculpting material of choice is wool, which she compacts into nearly solid freestanding forms through a precise and laborious process known as needle felting.
Taken from industrial origins and a subsequent craft tradition, needle felting refers to using specialized sharp, barbed needles to mat individual fibers into a united solid mass, held together by the microscopically scaly surfaces of the wool. In a process vaguely similar to hand building in clay,she repeatedly plunges hand-held felting needles into a mass of loose, fluffy wool to create detailed, complex, and mysterious forms that defy their humble origins. Her presentation will consist of slides and a demonstration of her approach to form-building, armature use, and surface finishes in felted wool.
Stephanie Metz is an artist who explores the idea of seemingly opposing qualities coexisting within one object. The medium is crucial to the content: felted wool can appear both hard and soft, fragile and robust, natural and manmade. Felted wool is often viewed through the lens of its traditional and historical uses in the realms of domesticity, craft, and industry; in Stephanie’s hands it is loaded with potential for physical manipulation and conceptual redefinition.
Stephanie Metz received her BFA from the University of Oregon and now lives and works in San Jose, California. She was a 2009 featured artist in “Bay Area Currents” at ProArts Gallery, Oakland, and has exhibited at Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Her numerous group exhibitions include Creatures: From Bigfoot to the Yeti Crab at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho, Formex Stockholm 2008, in Stockholm, Sweden, and Transmission:Experience at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore. Metz was honored with two Center for Cultural Innovation Grants in 2011 and 2009. She has taught at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee.