Wool like you’ve never seen it before, in Andrea Love’s charming stop motion animations
Working out of her basement studio in the most northwestern tip of America, Andrea Love demonstrates the versatility of wool through these wonderful animated shorts.
- 13 February 2020
- Jyni Ong
Andrea Love is self-taught in animation, which is crazily impressive considering the amount of technique and attention to detail which goes into stop motion animation. Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, in a very creative household, Andrea was more interested in movies than animation as a youngster. Now, based in Port Townsend, Washington, a small seaport town on the country’s northwestern tip, the freelance animator has crafted a practice from a self-initiated to fibre arts. From a home studio in her basement, she makes short films and animated documentaries for a range of clients, as well as few bits and bobs purely for herself too.
She started experimenting with stop motion from the age of 18. One day, several years ago now, she was perusing a farmer’s market when the animator came across a little felted animal in one of the stores. “I had no idea how it was made,” Andrea tells us of the memory, “but it seemed like it would be the perfect material to incorporate into my stop motion puppets which I had learnt to make.” Just like that, fibre became an integral part of her aesthetic style, gradually developing her technique with the medium which she has now mastered with a range of all kinds of textures, weights and atmospheres to boot.
In a word, Andrea’s work can be described as charming. She draws on the softness of her chosen materials, felt and wool, and creates a depth of feeling with the lightweight, malleable material. Her chosen textiles have an ability to hold its shape well on one hand, and on the other, can be spread thin for an accurate depiction of wind, smoke or water. “And it’s perfect for puppet making,” Andrea adds on its versatility.
Experimenting with little video snippets over Instagram, she is “always searching for ways to use wool that people have never seen before.” I for one, have never seen it been used to interpret a frog jumping off a rock and plunging into a clear pond, then swimming away. She often plays on something familiar, something we all feel like we have a thousand times before, but given a new lease of life through this form of fuzzy stop motion. Recently, she even experimented with a series she called “painting with wool.” Influenced by the iconic “Bob Ross technique of landscape painting,” she made a felted palette and brushes and painted with the wool as if it were liquid-like paint.
All in all, Andrea aims to create animations that immediately feel relatable, but also perplexing when it comes down to the essential question often asked regarding stop motion: “How does she make these?” With a dose of nostalgia along the way, Andrea has grappled with how to control all those nitty gritty fibres that make up a composition. “I hope that people get lost in the worlds and find them beautiful, even though they might not know exactly what they are looking at. Needle felting is such an under-appreciated craft with so much potential. I hope I can expand the pool of people who are familiar with, and interested in the form, and maybe inspire people to give it a try and discover its therapeutic joys.”
Currently working on an eight-minute short Tulip, an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved Thumbelina, Andrea is collaborating with children’s book author Phoebe Wahl to create this self-initiated work. It marks an important chapter in her career, embarking on her largest personal project to date where she can call all the creative shots necessary. You can support the project here.