Sometimes the best canvas is one that can be molded and shaped. And in turn, it ends up not really looking like a canvas at all.
Savannah artist Laurie Lovell creates pieces using a paper-like material from linen flax. She's joined with her friend Cindy Male to open the Lovell/Male Studio at ARTworks in Beaufort. Lovell will be teaching the class "Felted to Canvas" June 29 using a technique of felting wool fleece and incorporating images.
Lovell, an Ohio native who relocated to attend Savannah College of Art and Design, explains her art.
Question. Do you have a particular focus in your art or do you experiment a lot?
Answer. My master's was in woven design at SCAD. I did some experimental things, as well. I started experimenting with a paper-making technique. I made up my own materials, which is what some of my art in my studio is of still. It's a material from linen flax that I can use two- or three-dimensionally. I've experimented with that for 10 years or more. Currently, I'm using that as something I can paint on or draw on or sew something into. I've started to incorporate feathers, shells or other elements from nature.
Q. How did you come into this type of art?
A. Two things happened. I was an undergrad in graphic design, and I learned to weave. I had always been fascinated with it when I saw one of those re-enactment natural history places when I was in fourth grade or something. A couple years later I bought my own loom and practiced it at my house. Later I decided to combine my interests in graphic design and weaving and go to SCAD for graduate school.
Q. What's the idea behind the class?
A. I've been playing a bit with needle sculpting. The idea is to get people excited about different surfaces and using them. For example, we can make ornaments for Christmas using felt balls and put an image on it.
Q. Do you find that people are more intimidated in doing something like this rather than just picking up a paint brush?
A. Honestly, I'm a bit more intimidated by picking up a paintbrush. What I hope is what people see is that it's fun and different. You don't need a whole lot of materials. People can pick up some fuzzy stuff and some needles and apply it to a surface and go from there. It doesn't have to be difficult.