Part granny crafter, part Teddy Roosevelt, UK artist Shauna Richardson loops yarn into uncanny taxidermy sculptures that are as haunting as they are endearing. The sweetness of the crafting combined with the creepiness of the form make Richardson's menagerie a far-superior alternative to actual taxidermy. We assume the creatures of the woodlands agree.
With a background in conceptual art, Richardson devised the body of work – which she calls ‘Crochetdermy’ – from an exploration of the idea that ‘anything can be art.’Says the artist of her craft:
In an attempt to remove the pieces from the realms of soft and cuddly, I use coarse wool such as mohair mixes, reproduction claws, jaws and glass eyes. My crochet technique is freestyle, one colour, one stitch – the direction of the stitches highlighting anatomical features. All of the animals I make are life-size. The size of hook I use is 3mm and it can take months to create a piece. One of the bigger animals made is a brown bear, which took around seven months to complete.
In 2009 Richardson began a large-scale Crochetdermy project that she worked on for two years -- the ‘Lionheart Project’ is the largest single-handed crochet sculpture in the world. The finished piece has been housed in a mobile glass taxidermy style case and will tour throughout 2012 as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
For more on crocheting the natural world, see: