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Zoe Stainton Marvelously Mad March Hares

March 16, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to a rather special and rather beautiful return to the Mad March Hare. I spotted these guys recently doing their crazy boxing and looking rather splendid in the early morning /evening glows.

They reminded me of the work I’d seen a while ago at one of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fairs, by Embroiderer and Needle Felting Artist, Zoe Stainton.

I tracked down Zoe’s site (www.zoestaintonsculpture.com) and asked her a few quick questions.

Hi Zoe, where did your knowledge and love of embroidery originate from ?

HI Craig, I am self taught in Felting and embroidery. I was actually originally trained in Ceramics B.A & M.A at U.W.I.C, Cardiff.

How did you first get inspired to create the animals you do ?

I suppose it was the natural thing to do , living in Holmfirth and surrounded by beautiful landscape and wildlife I was simply inspired by what’s around me.

Your pieces are wonderfully realistic, do you ever surprise yourself by thinking there is a Fox or Badger when you enter your studio room ?

I think the very nature and qualities of needle felting means you can create life-like animals. Although my latest ideas are leading me down the path of more experimental use of textiles and using printing within the piece.

What is the most common reaction when people see your work ? Any unusual responses ?

People love the fact they are realistic and very tactile. They are sometimes surprised by the fact the eyes are all felted and not glass and that they are so light in weight.

When you see the animals up close you can appreciate the intricate work that helps make them so realistic. Such lovely details.

How long would it take you to create a large Hare and is each one different in it’s own way from previous Hares ?

It can take me around two weeks to create a larger piece. Yes they are all unique which I love. The layering of colour and stitching is difficult to replicate and that is not my intention. Each piece has its own unique presence and character.

Are there more animals that you are thinking of introducing into your range and if so what are they ? I personally would love to see some red squirrels and hedgehogs : )

I’m currently working on some new ideas through drawing, something I need to do more of. I’m firstly looking at making an urban and rural fox incorporating textile elements. I also want to explore the idea of mother & daughter bonds , experiment with textiles and printing onto textiles which can be used in my pieces.

Any plans for other gift products, greeting cards or gift wrap featuring your animals would be lovely too ?

A lot to do but I’m very enthused and excited about pushing my work forward.

Thanks Zoe for the insight into your beautiful work. We will certainly be watching this space for more animals coming along in the year ahead. In the meantime you can also catch Zoe on Instagram (@zoestaintonsculpture).

If you liked this post check out the work of Mister Finch too.

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