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Featured Artist - Sarah Vaci

Our featured artist for this month is Sarah Vaci who originally trained as a filmmaker and animator at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and at Goldsmiths College in London.

This led to her first career teaching film and stop-frame animation in the South East and across the USA, as well as at The British Museum. Alongside teaching, Sarah produced her own independent short films, often incorporating unusual materials and themes such as body and head hair so perhaps she was always destined to be working with wool and fur!

After the birth of my children I went through a creative metamorphosis and decided to focus more on my own artistic practice and this led to me trying out wet felting, followed by needle-felting which I quickly fell in love with. I used to live near The Fluffatorium in Dorking which is wool heaven, so had the opportunity to explore (indulge) my new obsession. Although I initially started with more traditional 3D needle-felted models I soon realised, after creating a few 2D landscapes that I prefer to use wool as a painterly medium on a flat surface and began producing pet portraits.

Sarah has been successfully working as a professional wool pet portrait artist since then, often sending pieces to the USA and streams live videos on Facebook which are even watched in New Zealand and Australia! Sarah includes pet fur in her portraits whenever possible, which certainly makes her daily post arrivals interesting as well as providing a truly personal touch to her art and she usually combines the fur with merino from World of Wool.

Earlier this year I initiated a huge international art challenge, to paint/felt/draw 100 eyes in 100 days. This resulted in my most ambitious piece to date and filming and sharing the creation of each eye has been a wonderful learning experience both for me and those who follow my work.

Sarah has prints of her eye piece available at www.sarahvaci.com Alongside her commissioned work, she has a passion for more unusual and sometimes controversial topics such as her contemporary political portraits and body artworks which she creates in her studio in Totnes, Devon. Sarah has also recently begun to run workshops locally and will be showing her original art in Devon and London over the coming months.

Q&A

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I am constantly amazed at how incredible and versatile wool is as it can be used simply as a textural ‘paint’ but also in a 3 dimensional sculptural way. I also adore the range of textures that exist, I certainly have a newfound respect and love for sheep!

What is your favourite fibre?

Dehaired baby camel is my absolute favourite for both colour and feltability. It is an expensive luxurious fibre however the colour appears in nearly every portrait I create, whether a person or pet, so I use it frequently.

What is your favourite breed of sheep?

Possibly Wensleydale Longwool because their curly locks and so beautiful and captivating. I recently used their locks for Darwin’s beard in a recent portrait.

What do you like most about the company?

Most of my portraits include a large range of dyed merino and the range from World of Wool is just perfect for my work.

Do you have a top tip for your fellow crafters?

When creating 2D work treat the wool delicately and you will be able to create a more delicate, intricate artwork! Don’t lay wool down too thickly and felt too hard/firmly because this leads to needle-marks and it will be harder to create change your piece later. Felt using wool roving in the direction of the fur to create a more 3D effect but using carded wool can help with blending.

If you would like to view Sarah’s work, you can do so in our gallery below, which details names of her characters and the materials used from World of Wool or you can visit Sarah’s website here.

If you would like to see all of our previous featured artists click here.

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