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Featured Artist

Scottsdale gallery features needle felting artist

How Tracy Laasch turned a hobby into a business

Posted 12/31/69

When sculptural mixed media artist Tracy Laasch began creating her needle-felt designs nearly four years ago, her husband Brian enjoyed them so much that he began bringing them to work with him to …

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Featured Artist

Scottsdale gallery features needle felting artist

How Tracy Laasch turned a hobby into a business

Posted

When sculptural mixed media artist Tracy Laasch began creating her needle-felt designs nearly four years ago, her husband Brian enjoyed them so much that he began bringing them to work with him to look at.

When Brian kept coming back for more because his coworkers were buying the sculptures from off of his desk, Laasch knew she had found something special.

Creating handmade needle-felt art pieces that bring to life storybook-style animal sculptures, Laasch has turned her hobby into a business, incorporating needle-felt classes, workshops and a fine wool and art supplies store.

Needle felt nostalgia

Featured at On The Edge Gallery in Scottsdale, Tracy Laasch’s needle-felt artwork brings smiles to passersby who might recall a few characters from their youth.

“Some of my sculptures resonate with people in a book they remember as a child,” Laasch said, who was inspired by the storybooks of her childhood to create her one-of-a-kind art pieces.

Using wire, wool, barbed needles and sculpting clay, Laasch’s needle-felt sculptures depict animals enjoying life.

Laasch incorporates vintage objects into many of her creations like a felt octopus sitting on a snare drum, a pair of polar bears sailing on a wooden hand planer and a turtle driving a mailbox-turned-racecar.

“Sometimes I’ll find an object and that’ll kind of spark the idea, and sometimes I have an idea and I have to go find the object to make it work,” Laasch said. She also uses canvas shadow boxes that add depth to her creations.

Out of her home studio, Laasch and her husband Brian run The Felted Desert, an art supply shop that carries quality wool, fibers, tools, supplies, kits and needle-felt tutorials.

At The Felted Desert, Laasch also hosts in-person classes for those interested in trying their hand at needle felt or wet felt work. The shop also features felting pads from Austin-based artist Toni Kehoe and woodworking designs from Scottsdale artist Cal Vander Cooi.

What is needle felting?

Laasch’s needle-felt process begins with a wire armature which is covered with core wool. The wool is then stabbed repeatedly with a barbed needle to create shape and to help bind the fibers together to build a thicker layer of wool.

On the final layer, Laasch uses dyed wool to add color, clothes, facial features and accessories to bring the sculptures to life.

Each needle-felt sculpture takes upwards of 80 hours to create and each one features a hidden butterfly.

“It’s just something I do for fun,” Laasch said. The kids like looking for them, too.”

No two pieces are alike, Laasch adds, who enjoys adding meticulous detail, each one having its own personality.

“I think people need laughter and a smile,” Laasch said. “They need fun and humor and whimsy and I think these sculptures take them back to a good place in their life.”

Laasch’s work can be found at On the Edge Gallery at 7045 E. Main St., in Scottsdale. Her work is also featured at The Finer Arts Gallery in Cave Creek. Laasch will participate at the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in November in studio #10.

For more information about Laasch and The Felted Desert, visit thefelteddesert.com or follow her online at Facebook.com/TracyLaaschDesigns.

 

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