Thursday, April 7, 2022

News from Perry NY:

Needle felting: Artist captures feeling, textures and colors in ACWC exhibition



See the world through the eyes of felt.

The Arts Council for Wyoming County, 31 South Main St., will highlight the work of fiber artist Nancy Kraus in her solo exhibition, “Travels in Fiber,” on view until April 30 at the ACWC Gallery. The exhibition of abstract and realistic images created using a needle felting technique opens Friday in conjunction with painter Phil Hewitt’s exhibit, “Farms and Fields.”

Kraus had been a silk painter for more than 25 years when she found herself trying to paint some textural photographs following a trip with her husband to southern France several years ago.

“I was wowed by the many colors and textures of hundreds of years-old buildings,” she said.

But she found her attempts to turn the photographs into silk paintings wasn’t working as she had hoped. She needed something more dimensional “to capture the feeling of the nubbiness of ancient woods and stones.”

“I decided it I couldn’t do it with dyes. I was just learning a little bit about felting at that time,” she said. “I saw some pictures of needle felt landscapes and thought, ‘Oh this would be so much fun to try.’ ”

Going away for a weekend, Kraus took a class and hasn’t stopped needle felt.

“I design my pieces to recapture the feeling of the textures and colors that moved me to take a photo,” she said.

She said to her it has been a wonderful, meditative process that she describes as if she is drawing with wool. Getting the texture in the artwork, Kraus said, gives it a wonderful effect.

“I don’t try to render something exactly, but really the feel of it,” Kraus said. “When I go someplace, I take photographs. If something inspires me, I might turn it into a landscape.”

Sometimes her artwork can be close-ups of an area such as a roof and can appear abstract.

Kraus has been doing art her entire life, first taking lessons at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery when she was 6 years old. Kraus has continued that throughout her adult life. Although she became an elementary teacher and children’s librarian, Kraus maintained her artistic interest by taking classes, creating children’s book illustrations on top of silk painting and felting.

“I think the range of colors and picking colors,” she said when asked what she enjoys most about art and felting. “I go crazy in art supply shops. I always have.”

Making felted artwork is a long process; Kraus said it takes a couple of hours to do the background. From there it depends on how complex the piece is and can require anywhere from weeks to months to complete.

“Travels in Fiber” features 26 pieces that Kraus has created during the past few years.

A Quick Look

WHAT: “Travels in Fiber,” an exhibition of fiber art by Nancy Krause.

WHERE: Arts Council for Wyoming County, 31 South Main St., Perry.

WHEN: Through April 30. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The gallery is closed to the public Sundays through Tuesdays.

OPENING RECEPTION: 6:30 p.m. April 8. Kraus is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. The opening reception is concurrent with the opening of “Farms & Fields,” an exhibit of paintings by Phil Hewitt.

INFORMATION: Call (585) 237-3517 or go to www.artswyco.org.

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IF YOU GO: Due to COVID -19, receptions have been shortened to one hour, with minimal individually wrapped refreshments.

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