Dani Ives Brings Wool Painting to Little Rock

Dani Ives is a different type of painter in that she doesn’t use paint at all. Instead her unique “Wool Painting” style offers an unexpected twist on a well-known medium.

Ives is a native Arkansan who hails from Mountain Home before moving to Springfield, Missouri for college. She notes that growing up in such a naturally beautiful and quiet part of the state helped her hone her appreciation and love of Botany and Animals before transcending those passions into her artwork.

Ives’ self–instructed style of “painting with wool” is an interesting concept as she doesn’t use actual “paint” as a medium at all, but rather an array of carefully chosen spools of loose colored wool with an underlay of a Base Felt fabric over a foam pad that she then carefully manipulates with a barbed felting needle to push the colored wool through the base before pulling the wool back through, thus creating a little color burst at a time before the piece is completed. Her Instagram is filled with amazing examples of this technique.

Dani’s creations are an interesting conundrum of the old and the new. This isn’t the “wool sweater in a dryer” felting that many of us are accustomed to seeing, and her challenge of breaking her style from the craft world seems to be working. Her hope when her idea started to take off was that people would “See the felt as more of an artistic endeavor than something more than “crafty’.”

Ives hopes to introduce the medium to Little Rock through a workshop in collaboration with Bella Vita in downtown Little Rock. Ives will be at the Bella Vita Shop on October 14th for 2nd Friday Art Night and then again on October 15th for a Painting With Wool Workshop.

Bella Vita’s proprietor, Brandy McNair, dishes that they are “Really excited to host Dani, and are very much looking forward to everyone experiencing her work”.

The Art Night will feature complimentary Hors D’oeuvres by Southern Gourmasian and wine available inside the store. Loblolly Creamery will parked just outside to stave off any hunger pangs.  There will also be pieces by Ives available for sale on Friday’s Art Walk as well as on Saturday with prices ranging from $30 and up.

Saturday’s workshop is from 10-12:30 and will include learning the basic techniques of “Wool Painting”, such as using the barbed needle, how to lay and use the colors for the desired piece, creating dimension and the art of shading with the medium. Participants are encouraged to come with an idea of something that they would like to design, and then  take home their own masterpiece and continue utilizing the tools taught during the workshop to begin their own collection of creations. Cost for the workshop is $110 per person and includes supplies. Details and tickets are available here.

Ives says she is looking forward to visiting Little Rock and continues to immerse herself in the generous collection of artists and community that Arkansas is rich with. She appreciates the huge community here and likes that it surpasses the city borders.

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