ODLCO is now carrying animal sculptures by Kiyoshi Mino, a farmer and felt craftsman based in Forrest, IL. The sculptures are the culmination of hours of hard work, made from nothing more than a clump of wool and a needle. Kiyoshi likens the process to painting in three dimensions. We are offering both large sculptures (which take over 20 hours each) and more affordable small ones.
Last week we visited Kiyoshi and his wife Emma at Lucky Duck Farm, just a couple hours away from Chicago, where they raise sheep, cows, chicken, ducks, pigs, and grow fields of Asian vegetables. They founded the farm in 2011, and are about to start their second growing season. In the summer, they sell meat, eggs and veggies in farmers markets in Chicago. We've included some photos of their animals and fields above.
Kiyoshi and Emma weren't always farmers; once working in international development and library preservation. Pursuing their individual careers took them to separate places, so they turned to farming as a way to be together and work with their hands. Before founding Lucky Duck Farm, they attended a one year training program where Kiyopshi was exposed to needle felting for the first time. Kiyoshi's words on the craft:
In January 2011 I learned about needle felting at a farmer training program my wife and I attended in Massachusetts. I had never heard of needle felting prior to the class but I immediately fell in love with it. I loved to draw as a kid but had never tried any form of sculpture before. It was very exciting to me to be able to draw in three dimensions with nothing but a needle and a clump of wool. I have always loved animals of all kinds and wool is a perfect medium for sculpting them. Using fine wools such as merino, I can quite realistically depict three dimensional patterns of fur and feathers.
We love Kiyoshi and Emma's story, which, in many ways, is not so dissimilar from ours. We're both trying to engage production at a smaller scale, and share many of the same struggles and accomplishments.