Felting may not seem all that interesting, but when Dani Ives felts, the result is totally badass. I recently sat down with this local Instagram star to talk to her about her background, process, and upcoming events.
A Mountain Home native, Ives was always interested in art, and even attended Arkansas Governor’s School to study art while in high school. However, when she went off to university she pursued a BA in Biology and received a masters in Conservation Education. While working in the scientific field she mastered the fine art of systematic processes, a move that would later pay off in an unexpected way.
When a friend in the conservation world at the Springfield Zoo introduced her to felting, Ives discovered what would become a new path in life. She took her own knowledge of art and systematic processes and created a new way of painting using felt. This non-traditional execution uses material to mimic realistic painting techniques.
After a short time of creating her pieces as therapy after working long days at the zoo, it became clear Ives was onto something. She began posting videos of her work to Instagram which quickly led to a large following and thousands of Likes and views.
She eventually her job to work full-time on painting and sculpting with fiber. She and her husband initially relocated to a farm, but made the move to Fayetteville in 2016.
Ives now has upcoming art shows, classes and retreats all across the country, including a solo show at the Arkansas Historic Museum in Little Rock opening May 12.
If you live in Northwest Arkansas and you cannot make it to Ives’ show in Little Rock, you can sign up for her next class at the the Freckled Hen on June 25. The class is geared towards backyard chicken coopers. Each student will learn how to create their own felt chicken. Drinks and snacks will be provided, but contact the Freckled Hen for details.
If you are like me and can never get a sitter lined up for events or classes, you can sign up for e-courses through Ives’ website. She has created several online courses which take students through the step-by-step processes of creating fiber sculptures and paintings. I could see this being a really fun Mother’s Day gift. These classes range from $20-$55.
Ives said she has been surprised and excited to see the rapid growth of her brand. With a beautifully designed website, Etsy store, online courses, and mesmerizing Instagram videos she has gathered a wide enough audience to move into the world of print, and is currently working on her first DIY book.
Although the art world has been the first to get ahold of Dani, the commercial appeal of her aesthetic is undeniable. I don’t think it will be long before we start to see a full-blown global brand emerge.