Meet the artist: 5 questions for local fiber sculptor Amara Vercnocke
Amara earned a degree in studio art from Winona State University in 2003. She is a lifelong learner of the the arts and is involved with multiple local art groups, including C4 and the artist cooperative Gallery 24. Amara uses a number of different art mediums, though she now focuses her time on fiber art, using original self-taught felting methods involving needle felting wool. Amara produces custom artwork through her business, AmaramA ART.
1. How long have you been working with felting wool?
I have been working with wool soft sculptures with self taught hand needle felting techniques for about 10 years now.
2. What inspires you?
Nature, mythological archetypes and studying anatomy of humans and various species of animals inspire me.
3. Do you work in other media?
I do work with hand-cut glass mosaics, work with clay, meditatively spin wool yarn on my spinning wheel, paint with acrylics and drawing now and then.
4. What is your favorite part about working with wool?
The reason why I enjoy working with wool the most is because of how tactile it is. I also enjoy how I can work with it in a 3D or 2D aspect.
I am able to incorporate shading and color techniques that I learned from my formal art education in college by working with blending and hand dyeing the wool in addition to shaping the form as though it were clay only less mess.
From this viewpoint, I am proud to say I can make anything with wool via needle felting soft sculptures.
5. Why do you think it is important to share your work with others?
I think it is important to share my works with others because wool soft sculptures are fairly new as an art form outside of the niche of textiles. Another importance is that the handling of the wool is part of the experience. The sensory seeking needs of a person is a missed component among contemporary art pieces these days and I want to create art that anyone can interact with visually and touch in order to "see" it with their fingers.
So whether it is an art memorial piece of a persons pet that has passed away and is held lovingly for the fond memories or an interactive 3D relief, I want the viewer to interact in a way that is most comforting and enjoyable for them. Wool art does just that.
C4 is seeking subscribers to launch its second season of Community Supported ART (CSA) program. A one-year subscription or "share" for $325 will include 4 crates. The crates, which will be distributed at quarterly events, are centered around local artists' work, with additional creative/local items to enhance the experience. Interested subscribers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Cassandra Buck: Cassandra is a middle school art teacher, as well as a full-time artist. She is involved with the local art community and is an advocate for women in the arts. She is also the creator of the city's first contemporary artist collective, Gallery 24. Cassandra lives in Rochester with her husband and daughter.
(Cover photo courtesy AmaramA Art)