Stacy Polson lives in Oregon. As a fiber artist she is self-taught but that hasn’t stopped her from developing excellent technical skills, quite the opposite. Her felting universe is overflowing with colors and joy. Her recurring themes are connected to Japan, especially to geishas and the undersea. What struck me the most about Stacy Polson’s works is the lifelike quality of the faces she portrays: the expressiveness is exceptional, especially when you think that the material she uses is felt. Enjoy the interview!
Why did you choose needle felting as a medium to express your creativity?
I’ve always been attracted to working with fiber. Felting, knitting , weaving, or sewing. As a teenager in the 1960’s, just learning how to sew. I would applique intricate murals out of felt and turn them into crazy psychedelic coats that I would wear. But what’s even more special about needle-felting with these materials is the ability to experiment and expand on your ideas without the threat of ruining your project. If you make a mistake you can simply remove that section and felt over it.
Your favorite subjects seem to be Japanese people. What draws you to them?
I’m attracted to all styles of art but at the time I started felting I thought it might be challenging to do my own version of old Japanese woodcuts. The Japanese geishas are especially fun. Their hairstyles and ornaments are so ornate. They’ve got those gorgeous kimonos with the wild mix of patterns and colors – not to mention the fabulous fans and umbrellas!
In this ever-increasingly frenetic and technological world, how does it feel to be working with a medium as calming and natural as needle felting?
I agree, it is calming. There’s the crunch of the needle as it goes into the wool and the shape that begins to form as it starts to adhere to itself. But I also work on the computer. I’ll design some of my pieces there. Then, after I begin felting, if I have an idea about a change I want to make. So I’ll take a picture, send it back to the computer, and play around with it there to see if it will work.
What is one trait that is absolutely necessary to have to become interested in needle felting?
I think the trait you need is really the same trait you need to be successful at any thing: patience and persistence. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing , everything gets better with practice.
Aside from the tools of the trade, what do you have to have in your studio while you are working?
I usually have music going. Sometimes I’ll have a movie I’ve seen many times playing in the background, like an old friend keeping me company.
Is there a time of year, time of day, or state of mind in which you feel more creative?
I definitely feel more lively and creative when the sun is shining. I live in Portland. Oregon where the winters can be long and there are days when I’m craving to see a blue sky. But I have to say that felting gets me through the worst of the season because I love what I’m doing. And there are few things better than working on a project that’s going well and that you are passionate about.
I would like to end this interview with a picture of a felt teapot by Stacy Polson. The teapot is rigorously in Japanese style, and it pays homage to the ancient art of cha no yu, the Japanese tea ceremony. And honestly, partly because of the rain that is falling incessantly here today, and partly because of the pictures of Stacy Polson’s amazing works, now I am craving some nice hot tea. I am going to make myself a cup. What about you? Until next time!
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