Vegan and taxidermy are two words that aren’t often heard together, but the next show at the Arts Council will likely change that. On Aug. 27, they will debut Vegan Taxidermy, a collection of work by local artist Rebecca Vaughan.
The collection will feature 13 pieces all handcrafted out of felt. But the real draw of the work is just how large it is, as Vaughan created a full sized musk ox that stands at one and a half meters, and that’s just one of the pieces.
Vaughan, who moved to Fernie in 2010, started felting seven years ago, and was drawn to make large pieces. “I started making small things – scarves, mitts, hats – as you do in the felting world. And then, it just didn’t really work for me. The bigger and bigger I got, the more comfortable I was with the material,” she said.
Her first piece was a full rabbit face with a headdress on it, and grew from there. Since then she has created a lion, a large moth, the musk ox and is finishing up a mountain goat in time for the show. All of these pieces will be featured alongside smaller landscape works at her show.
“It’s really fun and it’s big and colourful and that’s just how I like to do my felts,” Vaughan said.
The larger pieces, like the musk ox, take about 80 hours to make, and all pieces are one of a kind. “I’ve never made anything twice. My mind is just kind of all over the place, so half that time is just figuring out how do I make something that size,” she said, “And everything is completely wool. I use goat wool, yak wool, sheep and llama. It’s all felt.”
Prices will start around $150 for smaller pieces and max out at $2500 for the larger works, and Vaughan is hoping that her work will be well received. “I did show them a bit with the Spinners and Weavers guild in Fernie, but all of them were not for sale and there was such interest in them,” she said. “It’s taken me a long time, but now that my whole house is covered in felt, I’m like maybe we should sell some.”
Vegan Taxidermy opens on Aug. 27, with a reception at 7 p.m. The exhibition will be featured at the Arts Council until Sept. 27.