The Felt DeCoded exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco represents a comprehensive collection of work by Janice Arnold. Her work is informed by wool as a raw fiber, intrinsic in the practice of making felt.
I produced a series of interviews with the artist to accompany her exhibit.
Cave of Memories
Janice Arnold's "Cave of Memories" is fragile and ethereal — webby and spider-like. As though it could tear in a strong breeze.
It's meant to be that way. It's memento mori — an ode to the three years she took away from art to care for her dying parents.
"Because there's this fragility to life. And there are times it feels like your life is falling apart. Just like when you lay these very wispy fibers together."
But the felt holds. As do our memories.
Slice of Life
The merging of wood and wool — two living fibers joined in what Janice calls a healing act.
"It's more art for art's sake. I've always worked on a much larger scale... I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm tall and I always want to feel small. So I'm looking at the world in another way. And that's — when I make things that are large, it makes me small."
Janice has been a vegetarian since she was 18 years old — and she always felt sad to see animal hides being used as decorative objects.
But then she learned she could make faux pelts from wool. "It felt like it was the skin of an animal — only the animal survived!"
Now she makes everything from giraffes to zebras to cows.