In 2019 I entered my knitted mouse project into the Institute for Anatomical Sciences open competition. It won a merit award. nestled within the inside of the mouse were some small organs which had been made by needle felting – a new craft for me.
It has since become a bit of a passion and although I have produced the standard landscapes and animals (pictured at the bottom of the page) the real passion lies in anatomical art.
I started with some pictures – the villi of the gut, the circle of willis, a cross section of the cerebellum.
I had made some anatomical art before –
the brachial plexus in fused glass, a cross section of the heart but I hadn’t tried sculpture until I went along to a sculpture course.
We were exploring the possibility of running an anatomical course with a local foundry. A few days in the lab looking at hearts and then a few days at the foundry sculpting them. The course never came off but I produced a model which was turned into a resin cast.
A few months later and the foundry got in touch to say they had my mould for me to pick up. This left me with a mould and no idea what to do with it. After a few conversations with some friends at the art college
I produced a plaster cast from the mould and painted my dermatome lady. This was shortly followed by my ecorche in wax.
I was learning anatomy whilst I made these and it is such a powerful way to understand the structures. Both of these pieces were displayed at the art exhibition in the Anatomical Museum at Edinburgh University.
Then I made a vertebrae.
Producing this led to such a deeper understanding of the joints around the back. But one vertebrae was not enough. It grew into a spine..and I currently have a skull under construction.
The heart model needled a stand and so a hand seemed the obvious choice. The possibilities as to what could be produced were being explored.
Although needle felting, sculpting in wool, is the main passion I fill up the time between projects with other crafts. I have the brain beanie which you may find on the head of your favourite anatomists – even the other side of the world, the DNA scarf and the ‘Lost Souls’ shawl. (The pattern for the DNA scarf is in the articles part of this web site.)
During lockdown I have even been commissioned to produce some piece as presents for anatomists!