Little Houses

detail and installation view of 50 houses, hand-made felt and thread, approx. 10 x 4 feet, 2008

My work is grounded in an exploration of material, its origin, its cultural connotations, and its inherent ability to be understood through the senses. For example, there is often an immediacy of understanding that happens when we can touch something. For this piece, I considered how ‘home’ might be conveyed through gesture and material.

Felt making is an intense physical process; it relies on gestures of teasing out rovings, laying them in perpendicular arrangements, rubbing with soapy water, rinsing, and throwing. The process is a careful, loving, yet at times aggressive one that results in a sturdy fabric of intertwined fibre. I was attracted to felt not only for its gestural process of making but also the coziness that it conveys. The structures are at once secure and fragile.

This piece is also connected to my heritage, not only for the prominence of felt in Scandinavian tradition, but also because navigating my way around the houses reminds me of being a child and flying over snow covered houses to visit family.