When most people think about the uses of wool, they picture knitted socks and sweaters or chunky blankets, but Moscow fiber artist Leona Marx sees so much more when she looks at wool. Instead of spinning wool into yarn, Leona uses a special needle to piece the wool together in various forms and shapes. Her felted wool sculptures are truly one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted works of art.
Leona Marx became interested in working with wool fiber just over two years ago and has kept challenging herself ever since. Her pieces range from small holiday ornaments to large animals and all her creations feature exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. Most pieces begin with a fluffy wool core. Leona then uses a specialized barbed needle to poke the wool and add more wool fibers, starting to sculpt it into a specific shape using a technique she’s perfected. “It’s the opposite of combing your hair,” Leona says. “You actually want to create tangles in the wool fibers.” Her pieces are colorful and life-like, yet whimsical and fun. She’s created everything from animals like gorillas, pigs, swans, and baby sloths to armor-clad knights and dragons. Some pieces feature three-dimensional figures and others are framed works, suitable for hanging on a wall.
Leona Marx has always been creative. Before learning wool felting, she took on many artistic endeavors including mural painting and costume design. “I’ve always done art,” Leona says. While working with wool is a relatively new challenge, Leona has eagerly embraced it. “It’s rewarding to be able to create anything I want to, whether it’s realistic or whimsical.” She has taken no formal classes in wool felting, instead teaching herself using a variety of books and internet videos.
Leona Marx sells her work through her business, Leona’s Needle Felted Wool Sculptures. She loves the energy and community of the Moscow Farmers Market and has a table during the May-October market season. She’s also a featured artist at the Moscow Winter Market and does other local arts and crafts shows. Her work is also available through her Facebook page where she’s also happy to connect with those interested in custom orders. “People really enjoy seeing the variety I create,” says Leona. “They’re really intrigued by how it’s made with no glue, just all wool poked together.”♦