Bob Nichols~ a man with a Needle

To steal a paragraph from an artist’s profile page:

“Nichols found his artform following an introductory workshop in Bangor in 2001 and a wool painting workshop the same year. The pleasure of creating art that is both fun for him and enjoyable for viewers undoubtedly contributed to his success earning a Best of Show win at the Maine Fiber Frolic a year later. Nichols works in fibers like wool and mohair among others to create scenic “paintings” for framing and also three dimensional sculptures. His creations include posed whimsical characters and landscape fiber paintings, including at least one near-self-portrait in a three-foot sculpture. The ability to use the same medium to create both types of art is a factor that inspires his creativity. The warm, tactile quality and rich colors of the fiber contribute to his enjoyment the chosen artform.”

If this sounds rather intimidating, don’t be…Bob has a wonderful laugh, an easy going personality and  a welcoming demeanor…so join him on Sunday for an Exploration of Two and Three Dimensional Felting…this is a great class to take with a friend of any age!

Recently he responded to our interview questions:

1. The unauthorized biography of my felting life is entitled Wool-Gathering, and since I’m the only male I know doing this, the authorized version is called Woolly Bully.

3. I certainly do live with animals. We had to get a bigger bed because we share it with our two small black dogs, a male toy poodle and a female poodle-Yorkie, and occasionally with our neurotic calico cat. The big Percheron-Morgan horse stays outside.

4. I’m currently reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, a funny and touching novel about a dog who explores his purpose in life through several reincarnated lifetimes.

5. The most surprising reaction to my art happened just last week. A man called out of the blue, saying that he had seen my sculptures at the Center for Maine Craft and was “blown away” by their uniqueness. It turns out that he is a longtime writer-photographer-producer who lives in Camden and has intensively documented the folk art of India, including a spectacular current multimedia exhibition in San Diego of one Indian woman’s life and art.

6. My work is never completely done, because I often go back and tweak small changes, but my human and animal figures tell me when they’re alive and ready for the public.

7. This year, I have gotten hooked on listening to jazz-swing-big band music from the 20s through the 40s, for its energizing, upbeat bounce and clever songwriting.

8. I needle felt because it’s magic. I take a needle (or needles) in my hand and poke at clumps of fiber until they turn into a new figure or painting. It’s basically a simple process, but for me it’s definitely magical.

9. I know that I never know exactly how my work will turn out because it guides me as I go along, and I could never make two pieces exactly the same no matter how hard I tried.

11. I would have liked to start needle felting much earlier in my life, closer to when it was invented as a hand-made medium around 1986, but I know that my life experiences since then have strongly guided the way I do and feel about it now.

15. Depending on your point of view, I have either one or countless projects going at one time. I am not a happy multi-tasker, so I work seriously on only one at a given time, but I have hundreds of unfinished parts or projects which come from the experimental process, but which I very rarely throw out.

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