Amazing and Awe-Inspiring Works by Richard Hanna
These are the fantastic and imaginative creations of Richard Hanna of Ontario, Canada! This picture is of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia. Amazing!
“Being relatively new to the medium I am still in the experimental stage. Aslan is a particularly ambitious piece that has taken many weeks of work I have learned an enormous amount about combining various techniques into the one whole.”
Richard first encountered needle felting at an Onatrian art show called Regional Contact. “There was a local Ontarian Artist working with what she was calling “Hungarian Needle felting” I could not believe what I was seeing, with just two ingredients; wool and needles , no glue. no nails no messy paint or noxious chemicals she was able to put these creatures together. Even two years later I have the same sense of wonder of the magical simplicity of the process.”
He says he learned to needle felt by watching YouTube videos by Marie Spaulding of Living Felt and Kay Petal.
Richard says he is inspired by iconic figures such as Lincoln and Einstein, “I love Mythology, Iconography, Popular culture, Inspirational figures such as Lincoln and Einstein. I started out using Corriedale tops but changed to [Cross] batting which works much better for sculpting because of the shorter fibers and the feeling of bounce.”
Richard tells us that using a natural, living material is important to him, “I love Color and form [so] wool is perfect because that’s exactly what it represents to me as a medium; being a living natural material is a big part wool for me. [It] has a beautiful comforting and cozy effect on my nervous system, although the occasional jab from a super sharp needle has a waking up effect. Wool is so forgiving that I can find myself tweaking right up to the completion of a piece.”
Richard shares with us that his pieces are made only with wool. “I am a purist when it comes to using the medium, I think glass eyes and other materials tend to look incongruous… Because wool is so versatile there is nothing that you can’t render with it whether it be hair, clothing or even eyes. There is nothing more beautiful than a 100% wool piece.”
Richard studied painting and drawing before taking up felting. “I studied drawing and painting at the Ecole De Beaux Arts in Paris and later spent two years in the south of France at the Marchutz school of painting. Painting in the Provençal landscape was wonderful [and] fun. I still paint but only to do a preparatory sketch for a Fiber piece. I have to say I am completely in love with needle felting I feel I have finally found my Métier as an artist.”
He shares his inspiration with us. “I am inspired by Moy Mackay for her sense of color and expression, Kay Petal and Terry Sei for their mastery over the medium and their beautiful eye for detail. Everyday I discover an amazing new fiber artist either doing sculptures or paintings or fashion. My ultimate goal as a fiber artist is to first of all master the medium and secondly create Beautiful art that inspires beauty and wonder.”
Richard says that it takes around 200 hours to complete his wall hangings. “Although I see myself as a needle felter, I do employ water felting techniques to often finish my pieces, especially when finishing off skin, also I use a fabric stiffener to finish ends or create more rigidity, but I use it judiciously. I recently finished my first needle felted commission a Medusa which took me about 200 hours. Most of my wall hangings take me this long.”
In closing, Richard give us some advice. “I would urge anyone new to needle felting to order some wool and some needles and just start jabbing, join one of the many forums on the web and get advice from needle felters- they are an incredibly supportive. I want to put a book together showing some of more advanced techniques that I have picked up. I get a lot of people asking me about how I render eyes some folk think they are glass… no 100% wool it’s all in the shading, so I am keen to pass on my techniques; its exciting to see where others will take them.”
Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations and inspiring story with us, Richard!
Be sure to check out his etsy store here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RichardHannaFelt