The artists putting wool on the map

Alpaca wool yarn

Wool as art is no new thing, but it is rising in popularity. Whilst we’d say that every instance of refashioning and crafty pastimes like wool felting are arts of their own, there are a growing number of professional artists that are using wool to their advantage to craft pieces that are out of this world.

Wool gives artists and amateur enthusiasts alike a joyful, eco-conscious material to work with. It can be used to blend colours, create texture, and shape special effects that are not only hugely tactile but truly beautiful.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at the hottest wool artists on the scene and the techniques they use to cement their signature styles.

Oksana Ball

Self-taught fibre artist Oksana Ball creates traditional paintings with a very non-traditional twist. Merino wool sits central to her technique, and amazingly there’s no paint or water in sight despite the vibrancy of her creations.

Merino wool actually replaces the traditional paint and brush to create wool watercolours. We’ll let the artist, Oksana, explain more about this surprising technique:

“’Wool painting’ or ‘wool watercolour’ is a technique used to create pictures, not by the method of dry or wet felting, but by placing multiple colours of dry wool in layers on a quilted fabric surface, then covering it with glass. When the fibres are compressed under the glass surface, works of art fashioned from wool appear as if they are watercolour or pastel paintings. It is only when you come closer that you realize they are not painted.”

Sheila Hicks

Sheila Hicks art

Proving that wool art is much older than people think, textile artist Sheila Hicks has been creating her contemporary masterpieces using experimental weaving and sculptural textile art since completing her undergraduate degree back in 1957.

Sheila spent years travelling the world in search of artistic traditions. She lived in Mexico for five years to hone her skills with traditional textile craftspeople, before settling and setting up her studio in Paris where she still operates from today.

Sheila’s creations are well-known for their progressive natures. She used 3D fibre work, saturated colour and raw materials to carve out a name for herself in a very male dominated industry during the 1970s. She is now one of the biggest names in textile art and an inspiration to many.

Magda Sayeg

The career of guerrilla knitter Magda Sayeg couldn’t be more different. She became widely recognised after covering an entire bus in her knit and crochet work in Mexico City and has since exhibited all over the world.

Her love for wool takes her works too often challenging, unconventional, and interesting places, with Magda’s vibrant and often imposing installations unforgettably effervescent.

Claudy Jongstra

A newbie on the wool art scene, Claudy Jongstra is an architect’s favourite thanks to her large-scale use of raw materials. She calls upon weaving and spinning to create her pieces, with her studio even home to a flock of sheep so she never runs out of her beloved material.

Last summer, Claudy did her very first solo exhibition, and we’re certain it won’t be her last!

Images: Andrea De la Parra, bepsy /