Mary McCauley makes the most wonderful wool felted sculpture. The thing about it is, these animal sculptures seem to have real life. I mean it's as though they have a spirit. I'll attribute that to Mary, who has been drawing, painting, sewing, whittling, beading and shaping materials for dozens of years. Now her felting needle leads her hands into creating specific dog breeds that look so real - they are real.
She first began to study art while in high school, enjoying pencil drawing and learning to hand build and throw pottery. I remember one of her pieces from that time. It was a wonderful African water vessel with a woman's head on the top. Seems she had the gift of creating spirit from the start.
While living in Alaska, Mary collected pieces of fur and leather and began to sew them into hats and gloves. Later she hand-made moccasins (called Mary's Mocs) and leather-bound journals of buffalo, elk, deer, and boar hides. This led into the Mare's Bears phase of designing and sewing stuffed bears of all sorts. She also worked with FIMO for a while, continuing her desire to shape and form.
About a year and a half ago she found a little book by Nobuko Nagakubo called Fleece Dog in a toy store right here in Bellingham. Mary told me, "I thought needle-felting looked really fun and the subjects that I could felt were endless. I bought wool and a needle and went to work. It is what I do in the evenings while I am resting, like some people do with knitting. I love felting all kinds of critters. Animals have always interested and inspired me."
When I asked Mary what she liked best about creating things, she replied, "It feels good to work at something and see immediately the product of your labor. I do it because I like the result, the little woolly creatures. It also feels good when others like them and appreciate them as gifts."
I'm really proud of my sister and her talent. She brought several of her animals with her to a family reunion this Fall. Each of us got to pick one or two of them to take home. Here's a photo of my pick: two curious Meerkats. They grace my piano and help me to practice!
If you'd like to get in touch with Mary about her sculptures (yes, they are for sale), here's her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's Mary (on the right) and Charlia happily driving our sister's Mini through the Black Hills of South Dakota.