Apr 8, 2024 - Culture

Felt artist Mandisa Smith exhibits abstract, history-woven pieces

Mandisa Smith's works on display at Wayne County Community College District's Northwest campus.

Mandisa Smith's works on display at Wayne County Community College District's Northwest campus. Photos: Courtesy of Mandisa Smith

A nationally known Detroit textile artist has work on display at Wayne County Community College District that uses an ancient, laborious technique.

The big picture: Mandisa Smith's "The Art of Felting" is on display through April 26 at the college's Northwest campus.

  • Her work ranges from wearable items to abstract pieces using the in-depth, multistep process of wet felting, alongside found objects, bringing a "sense of history and emotion," per a news release.
Mandisa Smith portrait
Mandisa Smith. Photo: Jamie Feldman, courtesy of Wayne County Community College District

Flashback: Smith learned from expert felters from the Netherlands, Ireland, Japan and elsewhere, the release says. Before transitioning to full-time art, she spent time in the automotive industry, Metro Times wrote about Smith back in November. She also made her own jewelry.

  • Smith became interested in felting because of its fluidity — she didn't like rigidity or precise work, like weaving, per Metro Times.
  • "I don't have to count anything. I don't have to put anything in some particular place," she told the publication. "When I'm doing abstract work, that's not really what I'm focused on. I'm focused on the feeling, and the color, and the movement in the piece. It's usually just something that's in my head."

If you go: The free exhibition is open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday at 8200 W. Outer Drive, at the college's Brown and Juanita C. Ford Art Gallery.

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