Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Metz.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve identified as an artist ever since I was a child, but I hadn’t planned on being a studio or gallery artist when I graduated from college with a BFA in sculpture. I had so little life experience that I didn’t know what I would make art ABOUT; instead I wanted to work in production art, making sculptural effects or animatronics for movies. After a year working in a shop creating commercial and architectural sculptural themed environments in a team setting I realized I DID NOT, in fact, want to work in production art. I worked at a frame shop while I tried to figure out what I wanted to make, and why. My training and interest was in classical sculptural techniques based on life studies, but I didn’t find my artistic voice until I stumbled across needle felting.
Needle felting is a technique by which loose, fluffy wool fibers are compressed and tangled into nonwoven textiles through repeated poking with specialized sharp, notched felting needles. In factories hundreds of felting needles work together to move up and down, stabbing wool into even flat sheets. Working with a felting needle by hand allows for the creation of three-dimensional freestanding sculptural objects. Felt sculpture is both firm and soft, squishy and nearly solid-- and its organic, fibrous appearance combined with its physical qualities steered me towards the subject matter and perspective that fit me. Exploring a totally new medium helped me see that the interests (and obsessions) I had always taken for granted were worthy of exploring.
Tell us about your art and the inspiration behind it.
I have always loved natural history for its tantalizing physical evidence and the stories suggested by specimens themselves as well as those who choose to collect, study, and display them. I found that creating sculpture using wool was the perfect way to express my curiosity, interest, humor, and awe at the world and the humans who help shape it. In the twenty years I’ve been working with felted wool I’ve created specimens of fake science (teddy bear skulls, ridiculously overbred farm animals); abstracted fleshy, bony mashups of biology; touchable human-sized interactive sculptures; delicate combinations of wool with porcupine quills or eggshells; ‘drawings’ made by poking colored wool through paper; and clean-lined, minimalist constructions of smoothly undulating felt sheets, to name a few. The commonality between them is my experimental use of fiber combined with an attention to details in the natural world around me. My unique material and technique provide a good entry point for viewers by sparking their curiosity. I want to communicate and share my sense of wonder and encouragement to be fully present, even for a brief moment.
Any news you want us to know about?
I’ll be involved with Second Saturdays along The Alameda, with demonstrations and a few hands-on activities from 2-6pm. I can be found in the Green Door Annex, across the parking lot from the Main Hall.
- Website: www.stephaniemetz.com
- Instagram : @stephanie_metz_sculpture
- Tiktok : @stephanie_metz_sculpture