From far away, a collection of Claire Moynihan’s sculptures may look less like art and more like something that belongs in an entomological museum, but that’s part of their appeal. Using a unique sculptural fiber technique that turns embroidery 3D, this UK-based artist creates jaw-dropping realistic insects out of simple materials like thread and felt. These charming miniature sculptures, which often represent the insects in close-to-life size, have been seen in venues such as the Courtauld and the Royal Academy. This sewing genius currently lives and works in Hertfordshire.
Moynihan presents her insect sculptures both as single ‘bug balls’, or in groups where she mounts them in glass boxes and even adds scientific labels for an extra realistic effect. In her artist statement, she says she finds humor in presenting her finely-worked realistic sculptures as scientific displays. She also hopes to raise the profile of insects often described and treated as ‘pests.’ By celebrating them in her artworks, she hopes to possibly change the general perception of these under-appreciated creatures.
The technique Moynihan uses is mainly unique to her own style of working, but it is loosely based on the 17th century technique of stumpwork, which was used to give textiles a puffed-up, sculptural effect. However, with Moynihan’s freestyle sensibility, she transforms stumpwork from an embellishing technique to a method for creating fully 3d sculptures in the round. Her working approach is truly unique, and she may even be among the craftiest of textile artists. You can find out more about her work, as well as see more close-ups of her incredibly life-like creations, at her website: http://www.clairemoynihan.co.uk/ . I highly recommend taking a peek, since it was truly difficult to pick just three images to feature!