Elevate Difference

Mortal Plush: I Am Not Your Toy (08/2009)

National Harbor, Maryland

As soon as I walked into the gallery, I became a former version of myself: a little girl who was absolutely giddy upon seeing so many wonderful stuffed animals. Each lovely creature was mounted and labeled (it is an art gallery, after all), but I wanted to reach out and touch them all, as though they were living creatures, like I used to believe my stuffed animals were.

The pieces were exquisite. With masterful detail, each artist had projected precise human emotion onto their works of felted wool, cloth, or other fiber art medium. Ranging from haunting to delightful, these creatures beckoned gallery visitors to step into their whimsical worlds while simultaneously inspiring awe at the sheer artistic ability that went into many of the works.

Numerous pieces were sold, and prices ranged from $10 to $700. Artists were not only from Washington, D.C. and Maryland, but from a dozen states and another half-dozen countries. Some of my favorite artists were Kit Lane, Kerry Flaherty, Claire Streatfield of Fur Will Fly, Diane Koss of Cutesy but not Cutesy, Chelsea Bloxsom of Love and a Sandwich, and Sharon Baldwin of Pepper Stitches. Another of my favorite artists curated the exhibition: Tobiah P. Mundt of Licorice Tree. Sculpting creatures named “Octobunny,” “Madame Hoof-n-Foots,” and “Ulric: Sexy Beast” from felted wool, Mundt gives her creations a dissonant combination of innocence and eeriness that I loved. Mundt, an architect by profession, has been needle felting for two years, and her work can be seen in the upcoming Seattle show Plush You.

Written by: Meg Rayford, October 2nd 2009