Wendy Ellertson Studio

Wendy Ellertson Studio

About The Artist

Wendy Ellertson • Roxbury, MA

I am a visual storyteller who works in the interstices between media. My art urges patrons to listen to each other, to the world, to their own creative spirit, and to regard life as an adventure to be savored. My visual language is largely expressed through mixed media sculpture with various leathers as a mainstay. I wet-form, dye, and hand stitch over wire armatures, bringing the forms to life with intricate beading, patina, and additional materials chosen for the stories they hold.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Starting with a general concept of a creature or figure, I make a three dimensional wire armature, often placing stones inside or incorporating as a snout...thinking of the stories those stones hold. The armature is then covered with polyester stuffing held in place with thread, then covered with hand stitched muslin. Then comes the sculpted leather covering, wings, claws and occasionally old textiles or other items are incorporated. Finally colorful patina can be added as well as extensive hand beading. ... Their personalities emerge, and a name and legend is given.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Demonstrating respect and care for the materials I use is important. Leather is a by-product of the meat industry, not to be wasted, but utilized and given new life. My work nudges folks to take the time to "see" each other and offers stories of reassurance, inspiration, and healing. In response to the multiple social crises we’ve been facing, my current focus is a collaborative piece entitled “Tribute Dwelling” which symbolically holds and keeps alive the stories of all those we have lost

What is something unique about you or your practice?

Often when I begin a piece, I am not sure exactly where it will lead... I enjoy letting characters emerge as if on their own and playing with materials at hand. I am often surprised by the results. My initial art training was in ceramics. My first shows with ACC were as a potter, then some soft sculpture including clay and textiles. In the 70's when I was taking a workshop with Lenore Davis, she asked if I had considered leather. I began investigating... and realized the affinity between clay and leather and fell in love with the range of possibilities using leather. For 10 years I designed and made pierced leather clothing, but always with figures on the side. Now my aim is make items which stir creativity and story and help others understand the important of storytelling in all its forms.