Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 28, 2008
I’m the reason museums have security guards. I love looking at sculptures, but I often get in trouble for wanting to touch the exhibits. I know it’s wrong. But simply seeing the detail up close isn’t enough for my curious senses. I want to feel its surface, exploring the detailed ridges and contours.
Which makes Baltimore “fiber artist” Jennifer Strunge unique. Focusing on “soft sculpture”, Jennifer creates monsters and other larger than life (literally, in some cases) creatures out of fabric scraps and used clothes she finds in second hand stores. With an emphasis on vibrant eyes and large open mouths, her “cotton monsters” are both lovable and imposing.
A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Jennifer also spends her time drawing, printing, and working for the local Black Cherry Puppet Theater.
According to her website, “each Cotton Monster is a little (or big) work of art made… without a pattern, so no two will ever be exactly alike.” Striving for one-of-a-kinds, Jennifer carefully “pick[s] the materials that go into making each one and intuitively sew[s] all their parts.”
Her creations have been written up in magazines and displayed in galleries, but they’re also for sale. Evidently the demand is so great that Jennifer hasn’t yet been able to find time to make custom monsters, so if little Suzie has outgrown her favorite dress and wants to preserve it as a soft sculpture, she might have to wait a bit.
While Jennifer emphasizes that “each unique creature should be considered soft sculpture [and] not a toy”, people tend to believe what they want to believe. And I’m choosing to believe otherwise.
Sculpture you can play with. That’s my kind of art.