Using a long needle, Chinese artist Yin Yue diligently pokes a piece of wool onto a pink-purple elephant made out of wool felt in her studio in Beijing.
She stumbled onto wool felt art about a decade ago, and has turned it into a career. Her current exhibition at an art centre in Beijing features mushroom-headed figures sitting on chairs, as if posing for a family portrait.
Yin Yue’s works of mushrooms Photo: Courtesy of Yin Yue
“I came across pictures about wool felt art online by chance. I was very interested in this kind of material so I did some research and started to try to make something,” said the 31-year-old Yin.
“At first it was just a little hobby. I wouldn’t have thought that I would do it as a profession.”
The elephant, which is the size of a small child and depicted in a fetal position, has a special meaning for her. She began working on it while pregnant with her son, who is now five months old.
“When I was making this piece, every time I held it, I would imagine what my baby in my belly would look like,” she said. “It felt like the piece was growing together with the baby. In my imagination, they have some connections.”
Yin Yue’s works of a deer Photo: Courtesy of Yin Yue
That sense of family came through her artwork at the Beijing exhibition, visitors said. One featured a small mushroom-headed family and another a life-sized mushroom-headed adult and child. The exhibition opened in April and runs until September.
“When (I saw them), a sense of warmth came over me. This set of figures looks like a mother and her daughter,” said college student Shi Wenjie, as she visited the exhibition.
“They are all in comfortable clothing with gentle gestures, giving people a feeling of being at home.”
Yin first gained recognition by posting her works online and has been part of nine exhibitions in China and Japan since 2012, including three solo shows.
Some of her works are sold in galleries and others to individual buyers, she said.