Museum Gallery, August 3-September 3, 2023
When asked to describe his work, Centerville Tennessee artist, Chris Armstrong says, “I make needle felted sculptures out of wool. I like anthropomorphic animals in unlikely situations and old storybook characters in tableau. I try to make pieces that are humorous and fun to look at.”
Chris Armstrong is from Centerville, Tennessee and has been creating wonderfully whimsical fiber sculpture since 2003. While he was on sabbatical from his job as an investigator working on Death Row cases for the Federal Public Defender, his child’s school hosted a fundraising event called Elves Faire, and it was in preparation for that event where he learned the basics of needle felting. His first creations were a wizard with a long beard, a quail, and an owl.
"Whippoorwool" was born, and those who attended his shows soon began to see a world of animals wearing clothes and interacting in human poses: badgers, frogs, caterpillars, foxes, walruses, carpenters, and mice.
“With wool there are no hard edges or truly parallel lines, just like in nature, which is what relaxes people when they go to the forest or the beach. I love that needle felting is meditative and calming for me. I also love what I call the moment of animation, when I add something or make a small change that makes the character come alive in my hand. Almost always when I do the eyes. It always surprises me and is a very cool thing.”
Chris Armstrong is a longtime exhibitor and Artist in the Schools at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, where he has won several awards, including Best in Show in 2019.