Felting process is metaphor for Trumansburg artist’s life


Artist Denise Kooperman began quilting about 15 years ago after taking a workshop. However, she found her real love five years later when she took a felting workshop. “I was attracted to the ability to make fibers hold together without using a sewing machine,” she said.

She likes felting because the process is free and organic. “It can be a physically demanding activity, rolling, squishing, and vigorously manipulating the fibers until they combine into a stronger, unified whole,” she said. “The end result is often never quite certain, adding an element of surprise.”

Kooperman, of Trumansburg, NY, will be displaying her surprising artworks during a trunk show at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn. Trunk shows are lectures by artists who bring examples of their work to display and explain. She also has a piece in “Quilts=Art=Quilts,” the art center’s annual juried exhibition.

Her talk is one of four planned during the run of “Quilts=Art=Quilts.” The other lecturers are Joyce Martelli of Rochester on Nov. 3, Thomas Knauer of Clinton, NY, on Nov. 10, and Melissa Matson of Honeoye Falls on Nov. 24. All trunk shows start at 2 p.m. Martelli and Matson also have pieces in QAQ.

More recently, Kooperman has been experimenting with combining Joomchi, the Korean art of wet-felting with paper, with other fibers, including hand-dyed silk, wool roving, yarns, threads, and other specialty papers. “I hand dye many of the fabrics and usually embellish the completed felts with stitching, found objects, beads, and rusted metal,” she said.

“My felted pieces are mainly abstract or loosely representational of landscapes,” she said. Her QAQ piece, “Looking for Tranquility,” uses the process of felting as a metaphor for life.

“Created during an especially emotionally challenging year, this piece and the process of making it express the resiliency of the human spirit,” Kooperman said in her artist’s statement. “We get beaten down and our feelings hurt at times, but we can come out of it toughened up and stronger.”

The trunk show is free with admission, which is $10 per person. Members, exhibiting artists, and children 12 and under are free.