Artist StatementMy intention is to make you squeal with joy. We're living in a time filled with sensationalized headlines on our screens and stomach-churning dread in our feeds. Instead of creating art to reflect or comment on the Big Bad, I choose to make beautiful things as an antidote to the ugliness. Soft sculpture engages more than the eye. It tempts one to touch. My intent is to slow you down, give pause for a breath and remind you that joy is possible.
Pushing the boundaries between fine art and high craft, Shana Kohnstamm creates soft sculptures that are both familiar and strange, whimsical and dangerous, utilitarian and decorative. Her fascination with wool as a medium drives her to push the boundaries of what we expect of textile and fiber art, and her joy of experimentation translates to the artwork she creates.
Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Shana is now living and working in Bethesda, MD. Departing from a formal arts education, she pursued a variety of creative careers, including stained glass design and fabrication, bead and jewelry making, theatrical painting and even briefly apprenticed as an ocularist before turning her attention once again to fine art making.
Her passion for felting and soft sculpture began in 2010. Since then, her work has been published in Fiber Arts Now magazine (USA), Textiel Plus magazine (Netherlands), Worldwide Colors of Felt (Germany), and has been featured at the Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, AL) and Creative Crafts Council Biennial Exhibition (Bethesda, MD). In addition, her pieces have garnered Merit awards at both the 2013 Nexus Sculpture Exhibit (Knoxville, TN) and the 2014 Fine Contemporary Craft of the Southeastern US (Raliegh, NC). Her love of the artform was actualized in October 2015 when, as curator, Shana hosted the critically acclaimed international soft sculpture exhibit "Touched" in Nashville, Tennessee. Since then, she has been regularly invited to teach Sculptural Felting at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts. In 2019, Shana was selected for the DC Arts Center's 2019-2020 Sparkplug program.