About Lleona Chew
All of my sculptures are made completely by hand without the use of patterns or molds, and I use local resources whenever possible. I create in both polymer clay and wool, and most often explore my love of the natural world and its wondrous inhabitants as my subject matter. My wool sculptures are formed using a process called needle felting, where a single barbed needle is used to compress and shape the wool; often there is a wire skeleton inside to allow for playful positioning. Each sculpture is one of a kind and the result of many patient hours of hand felting or sculpting.
After spending so much time patiently laboring to get the facial expressions and overall personality just right, I feel a deep and emotional connection to each of my pieces and to the animals that have inspired them. It is my hope to encourage an abiding respect and appreciation for the creatures we share our world with through my art, and to help further conservation causes as well.
I am a self taught sculptor and folk artist living in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. I first discovered an affinity for sculpture with polymer clay in late 2014, and took advantage of the readily available tutorials online to learn basic skills and techniques. I was most drawn to making anthropomorphic clay sculptures of engaging animals and started a small business called Aniclay Art to showcase my animated and playful sculptures. I gradually grew frustrated with the inflexible, frozen nature of clay and began to search for a new medium that would allow for greater interaction with a finished piece. I found the emerging field of needle felting in early 2015 and was instantly captivated by the process of taking wool and other fibers, and entangling them with a single barbed needle into a seemingly endless variety of shapes and textures. I once again found a wealth of resources online and have since been refining and enhancing my technique in the pursuit of ever more realistic and engaging sculptures.