Needle felt creatures host Christmas as Hinkly House
Luverne's Hinkly House Victorian period home is decorated for this weekend's Winterfest Celebration with an eye toward childish imagination.
Luverne artist Carol Ceynowa has taken up needle felt art, and the Hinkly House rooms are filled with her whimsical miniature creations.
From fuzzy cats and dogs to mice and pigs — and myriad of others in between, Ceynowa's fingertips and needle points have been busy cranking out 3-inch-tall characters, each with its own story and circumstance.
For example, her favorite display in the Hinkly library is "Christmas in the Forest," which features a wise old owl (which bears a striking resemblance to the one pictured in a frame on the library wall) surrounded by bunnies and other forest animals.
With a gleam in her eye, Ceynowa says, "Is the owl sharing gifts with the others, or is he planning to eat them?"
Similarly, a shoebox-size candy store in the dining room, "Piggies Pastries," features a wolf approaching the store with pigs inside.
"Is the wolf there for the pigs or for the pastries?" Ceynowa says, one eyebrow raised.
From room to room, similar tales play out with the endearingly awkward needle felt characters.
Needle felting is the art of sculpting wool with special barbed needles. Stabbing the wool over and over again meshes the wool fibers together.
Many archaeologists believe that felt, made from animal hair, was the first textile made by human beings.
Needle felting became a popular art in the 1980s, but Ceynowa said she took it on this year as a personal challenge after her mother passed away.
"I knew it would distract me," said the artist who is known for her talent in pottery, ceramics, painting, drama and many other fine arts mediums.
She said all art is a "journey" that presents continual challenges, but she said she needed something that would create a new challenge, and she found that in needle felting.
If it's true that art is therapy, Ceynowa should be in good shape after a whole year of needle felting. Each piece takes two to three hours to complete, and she has more than 70 displayed at the Hinkly House.
They won't have price tags on them, but many will eventually be for sale — either at next year's Holiday Studio Art Tour in Luverne or on Etsy, where Ceynowa has an online account.
Or, she said, talk to her at Saturday's Winterfest open house at the Hinkly House.
A few special collections have been specially created as Christmas presents for her grandchildren, but she said she will sell some pieces following Winterfest.
Winterfest hours at the Hinkly House are from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, with tours of the Hinkly House and refreshments served.
Donations will be accepted for the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Hinkly House.